Asexuality: The fourth sexuality we need to start talking about

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Thursday 19 May 2016 01:00
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Pride London 2016 will take place on 10-26 June, and this year asexuals will be playing a bigger role in the celebrations as awareness about the fourth sexual orientation grows.

Someone who identifies as asexual is defined by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network "Aven" as:

Someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or any better, we just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people.

Asexuals ("Aces" for short) are a group which have generally struggled to achieve recognition, even in recent years, as discussions about gender and identity politics have become more prevalent.

In January BBC Raw produced this video of interviews with people who identify as Aces.

Many Aces discuss the difficulty of coming out as asexual. In part this is due to the nature of asexuality in that it denotes not experiencing attraction as opposed to "coming out" as a different orientation and intending to act upon your attraction.

Stephen Broughton, the founder of Maaple- the Movement for Asexuality, Awareness, Protection, Learning and Equality, told indy100 about the lack of legal protection for asexuals.

In the UK, the legislation that is designed to protect people from discrimination — the Equality Act 2010 — excludes asexual-spectrum people (among others) from its definition of sexual orientation and, therefore, fails to protects them.

He also told us why he set up his awareness group.

We set up Maaple primarily because we’re dissatisfied with the status quo. As it stands, asexuality is not well-known or understood in many societies around the world. This gives rise to prejudice and oppression: from corrective rape... to indirect discrimination.

Broughton is a PhD student in Mathematics Education at Loughborough, and explained why he started campaigning for Aces alongside his education work.

We are also conscious that this omission continues in school education: children are not made aware of asexuality and other sexual orientations. As a consequence, children grow up with confusion and misinformation. Through Maaple, we aim to achieve better understanding, equality and greater awareness for, we believe, the good of everyone.

You can follow Maaple here @maapleuk and sign up to join Aven at Pride London 2016 here!

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