awareness

Wandering in London

While things have been very much in the air regarding my employment, my career, my home, my thesis, my health and my country, things have been going somewhat better in terms of asexuality awareness and my work with maaple.

I delivered a talk about the monitoring of sexual orientations in higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK. In it, I make the point that the data collected is inconsistent and this makes it sometimes difficult to establish how inclusive our universities are effectively. For many individuals, there is no appropriate option that represents them, leading them to be forced to give a false response. For asexual spectrum people, being able to inform their institutions that they exist using equal opportunity monitoring forms is only possible at five HEIs in the UK.

Following from this talk, I had a brief chat with a journalist from the Independent about asexuality. It appeared on the indy100 website.

As a result of this, I was invited to appear on FUBAR Radio and took part in an interview with the artist formerly known as Ray Peacock (he has since reverted to his birth name of Ian Boldsworth). The interview covered some of my experiences with asexuality.

A week or two later, I visited Regent’s University, London, to take part in someone’s research about intimacy for asexual people. It was an interesting experience for me, as someone that hasn’t been in a relationship, as such. I found that my thoughts on the subject weren’t too different from the other attendees. And despite the differences in our collective experiences, we all have shared concerns about how we’re perceived by other people through our actions and non-verbal communication. More will be revealed as the research is published!

And yesterday I went to Pride in London. I met up with the Pieces of Ace crew for the first time in person, and met up with some people that I met last year, and it was good to catch up. The weather was largely very good and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Despite the concerns that the recent shooting in Orlando brought, I felt safe and happy there. And that’s the point of Pride; and that’s why I do this asexuality awareness. The whole world should be able to embrace and enjoy Pride: to feel safe, to feel happy, to feel accepted.

The referendum was a big step backwards.

Asexuality should be recognised, not ignored

It was hard finding a place to feel safe and accepted when society said I didn’t fit what was considered normal and the queer community said I wasn’t queer enough. Then I discovered Asexuality Awareness Week.

From Julie Nguyen at the Daily Cougar.

The article was published in the week following Asexual Awareness Week (AAW), and there’s an interesting argument that AAW is self-serving and doesn’t do much to promote awareness of asexuality.

The quote above gives some idea as to why that is. I know many asexual people that aren’t “out”. There are more still that have been selective in who they are open to about their sexuality. The reality is that asexuality remains taboo: both among the “normal” community (if that isn’t too unkind or dismissive a term) and among the “queer” community. Many asexuals feel marginalised and achieve solace only with like-minded people.

So it’s a Catch-22 situation. The only way we know to achieve greater understanding is to reach out to the wider world and convince them that asexuality is just fine. However, society can be unkind and the climate can be quite toxic for people that do want to speak out. The leading political parties ignored my communications, which suggests that even those that seek to represent us have no desire to acknowledge or support us.

I’m asking myself: “where do we go next?” And the answers don’t come easily.