October Carnival of Aces: Asexual Community

This post is for the October Carnival of Aces: “Joining the Asexual Community”.

I live in a town that has no real LGBTQ or asexual community. There are LGBTQ events in a regional town where I live, but I’ve never been a part of them. To be honest, I’m not sure whether they are actually asexual inclusive. When I was studying Community Services Work about three years ago, I found out about a group called Hume Phoenix. Again, I’m not sure whether they are ace inclusive or not. Anyway, I didn’t end up completing the course and I’ve never had anything to do with the organisation. I’ve read about different meetups/ events advertised in their local paper, but have never been involved. My connection with the asexual community has been solely online. I’m signed up to Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), but haven’t been able to keep track of my passwords. I haven’t tried getting into it for probably a couple of years now. My main connection with members of the asexual community has mainly been on Facebook.

On Facebook, there are many groups for Asexual people; some general, there’s one that’s meant for asexual people who hold certain beliefs (i.e. a “Conservative Asexual”, ‘Asexual Christians’, etc), some with age restrictions, (18+ asexuals), and ones aimed at certain romantic orientations; homoromantic asexuals, aromantic asexuals, etc. I’m in a few, but the one I’m most active in is a closed group for asexuals of all romantic orientations, nationalities, beliefs, etc. Partners and spouses of asexual people have also joined the group to gain a better understanding of their partner/ spouse. I think that’s commendable. From what I’ve seen, these people are treated quite well.

The group is meant to be inclusive. Discrimination against anyone – including cissexism, trans-phobia, anti – allosexual attitudes in general, racism, ableism, etc is condemned. Any group member who breaches these (and other) rules risk being banned from the group. Sensitivity to others experiences and using appropriate warnings (e.g. trigger warnings, content warnings, graphic), are usually expected. This rule has caused a bit of heated debate over the years as some people don’t see the point in such warnings, or think that they are used too frequently, but generally, people use them without too much drama.

 

What I like about the group is how broad it is. It makes it easier for new members to express their doubts.  More often than not, other members will express similar experiences. Confused about your romantic orientation? You’re not alone. Christian? You’re not alone. Think your romantic orientation is fluid? You’re not alone. Question your sexuality because you have a sex drive? You’re not alone. Yout get it. It’s a broad circle. That’s what I like about it.

 

I’d really recommend people who have questions about asexuality either for personal or educational reasons to send a request to the group admins to ask to join (it’s a closed group. Prospective members have to be let in to look at content and participate). Don’t be shy! We don’t bite. If you abide by the rules pinned at the top of the group wall, you should be fine. Have fun and be informed while you’re there. Even if you are asexual and have identified that way for years, there’s still things we can all learn.

 

What asexual groups are you involved in on – line? Feel free to drop a comment. Please remain respectful to me and other users as always. 

Asexuality and Culture

I’m working on a Cultural Competence module at the moment, and all of a sudden, I thought about culture and asexuality.

It’s no surprise, that before someone realises they’re asexual, or come out to themselves, the world can be quite a lonely place for people who don’t experience much, if any sexual attraction. I’m guessing the majority of modern pop culture (music, etc), just seems weird, many (not all), don’t like or get sex scenes in movies. In high school/ early adulthood, asexuals can feel bit isolated from friends when they start talking about sex, relationships, etc (I get that). Sex ed can just feel alienating. Counselling can be a negative experience (although I am noticing that some major LGBTQ+ friendly advocacy groups like “Wipeout Homophobia” know we exist. Yay! Also, Twitter group Bi and Existing acknowledged Asexuality Awareness Week, which I think is great.

The Internet has been a blessing to many asexual people. People have been able to find the label for starters and things start falling into place. Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (asexuality.org) has become a great source of information and connection since it’s launch in 2001 (not for me, I can never remember my passwords! lol). TV shows still have a bit to answer for. American drama, House was was fiercely criticised in 2012 over it’s portrayal of asexuality as a medical condition that could be fixed. To my knowledge, not much else in pop culture has dealt with asexuality (not that’s been aired in Australia, anyway). I’ve written quite a bit about media coverage, so I won’t rehash all that again, just to say some has been quite good, others, not so much.

Internet groups/ forums dedicated to asexuality gives asexual people, those with questions, or even people with asexual partners, the possibility to gain knowledge in order to better understand asexuality. A fact that i think people realise quite quickly is that, like everyone else, asexuals are a diverse bunch. One “Carnival of Aces” participant last month said that he identified more with the gay culture than what he calls “heteronormative”, despite his lack of sexual attraction. Other asexuals, especially those who are homoromantic get frustrated by the often sexualised nature of gay culture.

I’ve written before that I really don’t really get into all the symbols often tied with asexuality, probably except the flags; both the general asexuality one (white, purple and black), and the flags that represent all the romantic orientations. When I first came to identify as asexual, I was also fascinated by the black ring symbol, but not so much any more (heck, I just thought of it just then.).

Like I said before, asexuals are diverse. The world can be a lonely place, but I’m quietly confident it’ll get better. All any of us can do, is just be ourselves, stand up and speak out when we need to and hope the world will come around (which I’m quietly confident we willl… more on that at a later date).

The most important is that we first anx foremost accept ourselves. I’m very strong about that. Continual denial and self – loathing doesn’t do anyone any good, especially your piece of mind. It’s a journey that I hope we’re all on.