In June 2013, I started my blogging journey with Asexuality In A Sexual World. In it, I explored what it meant to be asexual and attitudes towards asexuality, particularly in the media.
While it’s not the first time asexuality was talked or written about (the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network started up in 2001), it was still a fairly new in the mainstream. The media just started to talk about and interview people who were asexual, like Jo Qualmann. Some attitudes towards were just plain wrong, presumptuous and, frankly, quite narky. (I remember exploding on my blog after the segment on The Project).
Five years later, I feel asexuality has become more visible in the mainstream. More media outlets are doing interviews and publishing articles on asexuality and how it affects individuals. Just recently, women’s site, SheSaid published an article about a woman who identified as asexual and how it affected her religious upbringing and her marriage.
I think that’s something that has changed over the last five years; more media outlets are hearing from non – aromantic asexual people and the complexities that often arises. In the beginning, very few media outlets explored how asexuality affected romantic relationships.
I’ve also noticed that there are many LGBTQ+ spaces, at least online, are becoming more inclusive and welcoming to asexual/ ace – spec people. When I first started learning and writing about asexuality, I realised that there was a disconnect, even a bit of hostility between LGBTQ+ groups and asexual people. I remember doing a post in my first blog asking people’s opinion about asexual people being apart of the LGBTQ+ community, and I got somw comments from people not feeling like a part of the LGBTQ community (unless they were allies). Now, the acronym itself has often being extended to include asexual people; (LGBTQIA+).
Where to from here?
I’m amazed and pleased at how asexuality visibility has come since 2013. However, there are two areas where I think there can be improvement: entertainment and education.
Needless to say, there is a lack of mainstream shows and movies that have asexual characters or where sexual/ romantic relationships aren’t at the forefront. Last year, Netflix’s Riverdale, let asexual fans down when Jughead came out as asexual, only to enter a straight relationship. A similar thing happened on Neighbours earlier this year, when Mark Brennan (Scott McGregor) suggested that Jack (Andrew Morley) was asexual when he was resisting Paige Smith (Olympia Valance). Paige an$ Jack were mutually attracted to each other. Asexuality hasn’t been mentioned, let alone explored, since.
A more important area where I think asexuality has been absent is education, especially in Personal Development Health and Physical Education (PDHPE). Asexuality, or romantic orientation or relationships without sex was never spoken about when I was at school. The program, Safe Schools did have resources that mentioned asexuality and did distinguish romantic and sexual orientation, but, due to political controversies, the program has been scrapped by most of the States and Territories and the Federal Government has ended its fundin* of the program. I doubt whether the Coalition or Labor will replace it with another LGBTQ+ support program or curriculum anytime soon.
I think asexual awareness has come a long way and there are many individuals; ace and non – ace that should be commended.
Question to asexual/ ace – spec readers: where do ypu think improvements can be made? Let me know in the comments below.