International Asexuality Day

April 6, 2022

International Asexuality Day (IAD) is celebrated annually on April 6. It was first established in 2021 as a worldwide awareness campaign focused on recognizing the full asexual spectrum. This includes asexual, greysexual, demisexual and all other ace identities. The campaign is also geared towards promoting ace visibility and giving a voice to a group of people who often get overlooked or misunderstood.

What is Asexuality?

Asexual, or Ace, is a term used to describe someone who does not experience sexual attraction toward individuals of any gender. Asexuality is a sexual orientation, and is different from celibacy, in that celibacy is the choice to refrain from engaging in sexual behaviors and does not comment on one’s sexual attractions. An asexual individual may choose to engage in sexual behaviors for various reasons even while not experiencing sexual attraction. Asexuality is an identity and sexual orientation; it is not a medical condition. Sexual attraction is not necessary for a person to be healthy.

Many people in the LGBTQIA+ community think of sexuality as a spectrum. Asexuality is just one end of spectrum with identities (gray areas) in between.

  • Gray-A, gray-asexual, gray-sexual are terms used to describe individuals who feel as though their sexuality falls somewhere on the spectrum of sexuality between asexuality and sexuality.
  • Demisexual individuals are those who do not experience primary sexual attraction but may experience secondary sexual attraction after a close emotional connection has already formed.

Aces commonly use hetero-, homo-, bi-, and pan- in front of the word romantic to describe who they experience romantic attraction to. For example, a person who is hetero-romantic might be attracted to people of a different sex or gender, but not in a sexual way.

Common Myths About Asexuality

  • Ace people do not have relationships: people on the asexual spectrum may have relationships for a number of reasons, including romantic attraction. Grey-A and demisexual people may experience sexual attraction at times, while some ace people choose to have a close emotional intimacy with someone, beyond that of a friendship.
  • Ace people have intimacy issues: ace people are often told they’re defective because they don’t experience attraction in the way others do. Some ace-identified people might choose to have close emotional or romantic bonds and others won’t – in either case, this is not evidence of them being broken or having a disorder.
  • People ‘grow out’ of being ace: like being a lesbian, gay, or bi, being ace is about orientation, not about behavior. While people might change how they identify over the course of their lives, being ace isn’t a ‘phase’ and there are plenty of older ace people. One of the biggest myths about ace people is that they ‘just haven’t met the right person yet’, which can be particularly damaging to hear.

Be an Ace Ally

Victra Pride Alliance [VPA] is proud to celebrate and bring visibility and understanding to the Asexual community. Surveys conducted by the International Ace Community show that a lack of acceptance and society’s misunderstanding of what asexuality is have a huge impact. High rates of suicidal ideation and attempts, familial rejection, and attempts at conversion by friends and family are reported by ace people. By being an ally, you can help make things a little easier.

Here’s how to support the ace community:

  • If someone comes out to you as ace, believe them.
  • Read up on ace identities.
  • Don’t assume everyone needs sex or romance to be happy – let them choose their own path. Accept their relationship choices and support them as you would anyone else.
  • Remember that ace people may have an additional identity. An asexual person who is romantically attracted to people of the same gender may refer to themselves as gay. An aromantic person who is sexually attracted to all genders may identify as pan.
  • Don’t ask intrusive questions about someone’s sex life. It’s not OK to do this to anyone, ace people included.
  • Call out ace-erasure and acephobia where you see it and educate others along the way.