Ace Week, previously known as Asexual Awareness Week when it was founded in 2010, is an annual event which is observed in the last full week of October, this year being Sunday 23rd October through till Saturday 29th October!
Ace week is a time to put asexuality in the spotlight by celebrating the progress the community has made, whilst creating greater understanding and acceptance of asexual-spectrum identities.
The ace community has made outstanding progress over the years, with asexual representation in mainstream media improving alongside major LGBTQ+ organizations acknowledging the ace community, ace week is an amazing time to reflect on these achievements and the efforts carried out by the community to make them possible!
Asexual Issues & Progress
Although the ace community have much to celebrate, the fight for acceptance and visibility is still ongoing. Asexual identities can often be misunderstood or completely overlooked. In addition, many asexual people still grow up not knowing that asexuality is an identity that fits them.
Due to the issues faced by aces being directly influenced by their other ma marginalized identities, there are so many people within the asexual community, especially those of colour or with disabilities and those who identify with other LGBTQ+ identities who face significant barriers to equality and acceptance.
Although there are still evident issues, ace people around the world come together and participate in Ace Week to not only organise community events, but to create and share educational resources through social media and other viral platforms to spread information and spark discussion about asexual identities.
Through key events such as ace week, it is hoped that greater awareness and understanding of the Asexual community will help break barriers and stigma connected with being ace. The more people that discover the ace community, the more acceptance, comfort and joy can be created.
What is Asexual
Sexual attraction is a type of attraction to another person that involves a sexual interest towards them. Although attraction is known as a normal part of life for many, asexual people do not feel any sexual attraction or interest to others. Asexuality is a sexual orientation where a person experiences little to no sexual attraction to anyone and/or does not experience desire for sexual contact.
The Asexual Umbrella
There are many who may not feel they fit within the strictest definition of the word asexual, however they may still feel their experiences align with asexuality in some way, this is known as graysexual. Below we highlight some of the ways people may identify within the asexual umbrella as graysexual:
- experiencing sexual attraction rarely,
- only experiencing sexual attraction under specific circumstances, or
- fluctuating between periods of experiencing sexual attraction and periods of not experiencing sexual attraction.
Although this described graysexual, there are also numerous other terms that people may use to describe more specific asexual experiences. One example of this can be found within demisexual which describes an orientation where a person can only experience sexual attraction if a strong emotional bond is present; although this bond is required for attraction, it is not a guarantee that attraction will occur.
The asexual umbrella, also known as the asexual spectrum) encompasses all of the identities related to asexuality, including asexual, gray-asexual, and demisexual.
The word ace is a shorthand for the identities that fit within the asexual umbrella, and it can also be used to refer to a person who identifies with the asexual umbrella. For example, an ace person might identify as asexual, gray-asexual, or demisexual.
Ace Flag Origins
In 2009, AVEN members participated in the first asexual entry into an American pride parade when they walked in the San Francisco Pride Parade. In August 2010, after a period of debate over having an asexual flag and how to set up a system to create one, and contacting as many asexual communities as possible, a flag was announced as the asexual pride flag by one of the teams involved.
The final flag had been a popular candidate and had previously seen use in online forums outside of AVEN. The final vote was held on a survey system outside of AVEN where the main flag creation efforts were organized. The flag colors have been used in artwork and referenced in articles about asexuality.
Ace Flag Colours & Meaning
The Asexual pride flag consists of fur equally spaced and sized stripes, from the top: black, grey, white and purple.
Black - Representing asexuality
Grey - Represents the grey-area between sexual and asexual
White - Represents sexuality
Purple - Represents community.
How To Support Ace People
You don’t have to understand asexuality - It's not a requirement to understand what it means for somebody to be ace in order to respect them. Some people may have never heard anything about asexual identities or may struggle to understand them in general, this is okay but it's vital that you show respect regardless of someone's identity, we're all human!
Listen and try to understand - The more you listen to asexual people, the more you will understand their feelings and what makes them ace. It doesn’t all have to make sense right away, but what’s important is that you make an effort to understand.
Research asexuality - If you don’t understand something, or have questions you don’t feel comfortable asking, or if you simply want to know more, then spend some time and look up what you want to know.
Treat ace people with respect - Asexuality is not imaginary, it’s not a phase. It’s an integral part of somebody's identity. If you disrespect asexuality, you’re disrespecting the person who identifies as ace.
Asexual Ace Clothing & Accessories
Here at Joshua Lloyd we constantly strive to be as inclusive as possible throughout our product collections, support and services. We stock a wide range of ace clothing and accessories, including pride flags, lanyards, shoelaces and more!