Asexual Awareness Week | I’ve made a new friend. She likes cake.
*Names have been changed at subjects’ request*


It’s no secret that people in the queer community face discrimination.

This doesn’t always take the form of an angry mob and posters with hate speech. Often, it’s just the little things that leave their mark. Misunderstandings so trivial that they’re almost not worth bringing up. But that’s where the trouble starts and how it builds.

That’s why it’s important to draw attention to these little things. Because their subtle danger makes them not so little and just as painful as anything big. They are only that much harder to overcome because of it.


Just because somethings different, doesn’t mean something is wrong.


Discovering you are on the asexual spectrum is rarely a straightforward process. There is a wealth of second guessing. Not just from those close to you, but from yourself.

Sabrina learned she was on the spectrum when she was 24 after a lengthy internal reflection. It was, and still is, an ongoing process for her.

When going out clubbing with her friends, she would often turn down the advancements of men who were clearly interested in her. Sabrina’s friends would joke that she must have been asexual. She thought it was funny too. But when she finally took it upon herself to do some research, certain things started to make sense for her.

Rainbow Roo is just one of many organisations that advocates and informs about all things LGBTIQA+. Sabrina gained essential insight from another such organisation, The Asexual Visibility and Education Network which has been a primary resource on asexuality for over 20 years. This sounds like a relatively narrow timeframe in the larger context of queer discourse and its lengthy history. But it really wasn’t until the digital age of the 1990s onwards that attitudes towards asexuality began to evolve for the general public. This late introduction to the world is a prime example of just how little space ace people are afforded, even in inclusive spaces.


“My friends always used to joke that I was ace because I'd always turn guys down at clubs. It was funny for a while but then I actually started looking into it and it all made sense”


In the search for a label that suited her, Sabrina considered that she might be bisexual. This is a stage that some asexual people go through and an identity that many still retain even into their asexuality. For Sabrina, however, it didn’t stick. Increasingly, she thought something was wrong with her. That a piece was missing.

When thinking back on it, Sabrina recalls early signs. She never had any childhood crushes or celebrity crushes when growing up. The concept of “sex sells” seemed completely alien and didn’t make sense to her in the slightest.

Something particularly felt by asexual people is a sense of illegitimacy. Just as many people of other orientations are told that they are just “confused” or “going through a phase”, the very concept of being ace is often dismissed right out of hand. Sometimes this illegitimacy is also projected from other (certainly not all) members of the queer community. The frequent oversexualization of queerness is sometimes seen as a reason why people on the asexual spectrum as well as non-binary, aro etc. are often seen as not queer enough to belong. And so, the experience of dismissal continues.


“…before that I thought there was something wrong with me because I just never liked anyone, I thought maybe I liked girls but that turned out to be a flop too”


As a hetero male, part of me felt deeply unqualified to be writing on this topic. My voice isn’t really one that needs to be projected in this space. But that’s precisely what made me consider that there must be many like me who may want to be informed and simply don’t know what the right resources are. Frankly reading the Wikipedia page for asexuality doesn’t offer a lot of insight.

Although it can be awkward and feel invasive, it never hurts to ask questions. What does hurt is when you are not informed and sometimes, we don’t know what the appropriate questions to ask are.

From this, I have learned that a shared identity does not mean the same life has been lived by two different people. One person’s asexuality is not the same as another. It is very much a spectrum and should be understood as such.

For those still curious, let’s break down some common misconceptions and stereotypes.

Being ace is not a result of trauma or a hormone disorder. Sabrina has been very thorough with her self-discovery and has arrived at a conclusion: She is ace because that is who she is.

Being ace does not mean you are an unfeeling robot or are a virgin or are celibate. Sexual desire is not the same as romantic attraction. For most people, these two things are close to inseparable and that’s ok. What’s not ok is thinking this is universal and automatic. Being ace means you are still entirely capable of forming meaningful relationships and experiencing intimacy, physically or otherwise.

One way we can help to break down the stigma around asexuality is the simple act of understanding and acceptance. Learning what asexuality is will always be an important part of this. The desire for community and through that the ability to share with likeminded people is an essential tool for anyone with questions, whether it’s yourself, your partner or just someone you know and would like to know a little better.

As it turns out, the best thing we can do for people is to simply treat them like their human, which means treating them well.

Happy ace week everyone!



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