Last week, asexuality took spotlight it deserves

Last week, asexuality took the spotlight it deserves (credit: Eunice Oh/) Last week, asexuality took the spotlight it deserves (credit: Eunice Oh/)

Last week was Asexuality Awareness Week, which highlighted the importance of recognizing people’s unique sexual identities, even when those sexual identities do not conform to preconceived social notions of attraction. ALLIES painted the Fence with the purple, gray, and white of the asexual pride flag and chalked sidewalks all over campus to promote awareness.

Like all sexual and gender identities, asexuality exists on a spectrum. It is important to remember that sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and sex drive are distinct from one another in the asexuality (or “ace”) spectrum.

For example, a person who is asexual may be attracted to someone romantically, but not sexually. Aromantic people may lack romantic attraction, and demisexual individuals may not experience sexual attraction to a person until a deeper emotional connection is formed. Across the ace spectrum, being asexual doesn’t mean that a person doesn’t want to experience affection or close relationships; they just may not be driven to express these feelings in a sexual or romantic way.

Unfortunately, asexual people face prejudice like everyone in the LGBTQA initialism, especially since we are so culturally committed to the flawed idea that sex is essential to human expression. Asexuality is often misunderstood, ignored, and delegitimized by both the public and the LGBTQA community at large; violent crimes such as “corrective” rape continue to be a serious problem.

As such, Asexuality Awareness Week and similar movements deservedly shine the spotlight on a marginalized minority that needs to be more widely understood and acknowledged. LGBTQA people have been gaining legal and cultural acceptance all across the nation, and that’s undoubtably a good thing.

It’s also important to remember that sexuality is something that people have the right to define for themselves. If a person does not feel sexual or romantic attraction, to whatever degree, others should recognize and respect that experience. The Tartan is thrilled to have been able to do so during Asexuality Awareness Week on campus.