Edha Shirodkar (she/her)
Even in the LGBTQ+ community, asexuality is an invisible identity, one that doesn’t get a lot of recognition and is often misunderstood, stemming mainly from its medicalization. Creating more awareness about asexuality and the authentic experiences of asexual people is important, especially when there are so many misconceptions. So when April 6, 2021 became the inaugural International Asexuality Day, it marked a significant moment for the asexual community.
International Asexuality Day (IAD) is worldwide campaign to promote identities under the asexual umbrella, such as demisexuality, grey-asexuality, and more. The campaign aims specifically to bring recognition to the asexual community and asexual advocacy organizations in non-Western countries. In order to achieve this goal, IAD operates under four themes: advocacy, celebration, education, and solidarity. Advocacy for creating greater understanding and support, celebration for finding community with others and finding joy in being yourself, education for increasing awareness of all the identities under the ace umbrella, and solidarity for building unity through shared experiences.
Local organizations in so many countries and regions around the world are involved in IAD, and they hold events to celebrate the day and share more about asexuality. These efforts can be found here, but it’s also easy to get involved and support the campaign simply by sharing more information about it on social media. IAD even has a YouTube channel where stories of the asexual community across the world are shared.
Even though Asexuality Awareness Week in October is another time of celebration for the asexual community, IAD is also important because of its emphasis in building the global community. In particular, by choosing a date in April, the campaign is able to give countries who can’t celebrate in October the opportunity to do so, while also providing a space for asexuality awareness in the beginning half of the year. Additionally, by connecting the international asexual community, it provides a space for discussing the intersectionality of asexuality with other identities, such as race and ethnicity, and to discuss and highlight the specific issues and struggles which exist within these intersections.
Yasmin Benoit, a prominent aromantic and asexual activist and model, is one of the founders of IAD. In an interview with Noctis, an online magazine which amplifies marginalized youth voices in fashion, art, and music, Yasmin talked about how intersectionality is important in her own activism because the diversity of the community influences the asexual experience, too. IAD creates unity with the global asexual community.
IAD is important to me because it’s important to have that visibility and opportunity to spread information about asexuality. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with the asexual community online. While plenty of asexual groups celebrate and hold events, it would be nice to see the wider LGBTQ+ community and organizations actively show support for this day as well. With the second International Asexuality Day approaching on April 6, 2022, there are many ways people can get involved with advocacy and learn more about asexuality. To learn more about International Asexuality Day, go their website here. For some resources on asexuality, take a look at the list from Ace Week, and learn more about the asexual spectrum from the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). Happy International Asexuality Day!