There are many gender identities and sexual orientations that anyone can feel connected to or identify with.
More and more terms have been popularized over the years to represents the emotions and experiences of queer individuals and if you aren’t immersed in the LGBTQ+ culture or the queer community, you might not recognize a few sexual orientations and gender identities due to a lack of representation in mainstream media.
And even as people are gaining an increasing awareness of LGBTQ identities, some are still widely misunderstood.
One of the most frequently misunderstood is asexuality, so we are going to talk about what does it mean to be asexual, talk about the meaning of the iconic asexual pride flag, and help you with some information to become a better ally to ‘aces’.
In this article we will cover...
- What Does Asexual Mean?
- The Asexuality Flag Meaning
- When Is Asexuality Pride Day?
- Other Asexuality Information to Help You Be A Better Ally
What Does Asexual Mean?
Asexuality is a sexual orientation where an individual experiences little or no sexual attraction. Asexual people do not experience any desire or need for sexual contact. Asexuality may mean different things for different people, and some may have different definitions of it.
For some asexual people, asexuality is a lack of desire for anyone. While the idea of any sexual activity puts some off, others are neutral about it.
While this is a general definition, if you are wanting to know what does asexual mean to a specific individual, it is often best to ask them to define it in their own words for you. Be mindful that while some identities may have only slight differences from others, they may still mean a lot to someone.
All you need to remember is that everyone’s experience of gender and attraction is different – and that it is for them alone to define.
The Asexuality Flag Meaning
Most queer identities have their own LGBTQ flag. The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) user standup designed the asexuality flag in the summer of 2010. It was chosen as the result of a month-long competition at this time on the AVEN message boards to find an ace flag. The movement to create a flag traversed multiple threads and had three distinct polling stages. In an endeavor to incorporate aces outside the forum, polling in the final vote was expanded to other ace communities, including non-English forums. This was clearly a successful move as it is now widely used around the world.
The asexual pride flag is a simple four-bar design that cleverly avoids any references to special symbols like hearts or triangles. The asexuality flag also doesn’t reference any nation and fits with the designs of other Gender and Sexual Minority (G.S.M.) community pride flags.
The asexuality flag has four colors. Here’s what they all mean:
- Purple: community
- White: non- asexual allies and partners
- Grey: demisexuality and grey-asexuality
- Black: asexuality
When Is Asexuality Pride Day?
Awareness, visibility, remembrance, and celebration are all important in increasing the acceptance and recognition of queer identities and queer folx around the world. By observing an international day for asexuality, it is easier to for asexuals to talk to friends and loved ones – and to feel the love. It also helps foster awareness and increased sensitives from society at large.
So, mark your calendar and plan something special (even if it is just a social media post!) for April 6th, which is International Asexuality Day.
And if that isn’t enough… there is an Asexual Awareness Week in the last week of October. Too fabulous!
Other Asexuality Information to Help You Be A Better Ally
Understand that asexuality is not just a phase, but a legitimate sexual orientation. It isn’t a medical condition, a call for attention, or the result of past abuse. Get as much information as you can and understand asexuality.
Understand that asexuality is an orientation and not a behavior
Behavior doesn’t necessarily equate to orientation. Asexuality has nothing to do with choice. It is the lack of sexual desire or attraction to other people. Being asexual can manifest as not having any sexual feelings for other people even if you have a sex drive.
Some asexual people may have sex for different reasons, like pleasing a partner or feeling good physically. Keep in mind that asexual people can have sex, albeit for different reasons than people who are sexually attracted to other people.
If you’re confused about asexuality, there are plenty of resources about asexual people online that will help you understand better. We also have a guide that might help avoid conflict when dating an asexual person!
Listen and Validate
Accept people’s experiences, as they are when they choose to share with you. If you know that someone is asexual, talk to them about their experience. It’s not fair to gossip about someone else’s experience. Understand what you’re talking about if you choose to highlight asexual people in any way.
Even if you’re curious, refrain from asking direct questions unless the person you’re speaking to is comfortable and if you’re honestly interested in getting a response. Don’t assume you know everything there is to know about asexuality and don’t ask questions that you wouldn’t ask hetero or gay people.
Keep in mind that sex doesn’t make anyone human
The human experience doesn’t have to involve sexual attraction or sexuality. This idea is damaging to asexual people. Assuming someone is less human because they don’t experience sexual attraction is not ok.
Unfortunately, we see society advocate for sex as an essential part of life. As an straight ally, the best thing you can do for your asexual loved ones is to deconstruct how we talk about relationships, love, intimacy, and the role of sex in such concepts.
You don’t have to be threatened by asexuality
Whether an asexual person is repulsed by sex or is neutral about it doesn’t mean that they object to you having it or your desire for sexual activity. Asexual people aren’t against feminism or women’s liberation to have sex whenever they want to.
If everyone has the right to enjoy as much sex as they want without being made to feel about it, then surely asexual people have the right to have as little or no sex as they want.
Recognize our diversity
Being a good ally means you understand that asexual people are as different, diverse, and unique as other LGBTQ or heterosexual people. No one’s experience is exactly like another ones and none of us can speak for the other. It’s important to not limit yourself to one story but instead, listen to all of them.
Even if we’re asexual, some of us may identify as straight; others as queer. Other people may be introverts and others may be extroverts. However, none of this invalidates our asexuality.
Clear your head
Even if you don’t acknowledge it, you most likely have biases and prejudices that you should confront. It might be uncomfortable for you to realize it at first, but once you realize what they are, you will be able to defy them.
Confronting your biases includes educating yourself about what being asexuality is. Remember that the LGBTQ community no longer uses derogatory terms such as ‘homo’ or ‘homosexual’. Instead many prefer to use the term ‘gay’, ‘queer’, or ‘lesbian’ to describe themselves, and remember that the most commonly used pronouns for genderqueer folx are ‘they/them/theirs.
Never, ever, ever say “it” – because only a bad human would want to refer to another human in this way – regardless of gender.
Some people like to make crude comments or derogatory remarks and jokes towards queer and nonconforming folx. If you hear such remarks against your friend or other people in the queer community, speak up against such prejudices and let them know it isn’t right to encourage or take part in it.
The same goes for any jokes that are at others’ expense, especially queer marginalized communities and misunderstood identities such as intersex, non-binary, transgender, agender, genderqueer, and genderfluid. We are not here to be the butt of any jokes – and quite frankly, are sick of it. It is not – and never was – OK.
Most times, offensive material is circulated on social media or WhatsApp. Remember to tell people that are making such comments why it’s wrong to do that.
Please don’t treat us as a novelty
We’re real people with real feelings and real issues like everyone else. We’re not some curiosity for you to try and psychoanalyze. We are not something quaint and cute that you can squee over.
Asexual people are not superhumans or highly evolved humans. We definitely are not innocents and don’t think our lives are purer than other people’s. So please don’t use our asexual identity to moralize on the state of society today.
Many of us have complex and significant relationships that may not be sexual but still require a lot of communication, time, and energy. We have problems and conflicts and are just as messed up as the next person!
Accept that we are marginalized too
Lastly, being an excellent ally to the asexual people in your life means acknowledging that they may suffer from intolerance or invisibility most days. Society has made us give so much attention to sexual desire that we assume our sexual behavior has to be the foundation of our identity.
Most of the time, asexual people cannot come out to someone and feel what being understood means. Not many people know what ‘asexual’ means. Most of the time, asexual people are invisible, and even when they aren’t they’re often marginalized by people who assume their identity does not exist.
Even those who presumably mean well are hurtful when they say ‘you just need some time to find the right one’, or ‘ you’ll grow out of it’. It isn’t easy being asexual in a world that gives preference to anything that’s of a sexual nature. Keep in mind that we get assaulted too as a form of ‘corrective behavior’.
We’re discriminated against, but we’re human too.