Discrimination against asexual people

Discrimination against asexual people (also known as acephobia)[1][2][3] or aphobia[4][5][6] encompasses a range of negative attitudes, behaviours, and feelings toward asexuality or people who identify as part of the asexual spectrum. Negative feelings or characterisations toward asexuality include dehumanisation, the belief that asexuality is a mental illness, that asexual people cannot feel love, and refusal to accept asexuality as a genuine sexual orientation. Asexuality is sometimes confused with celibacy. Anti-asexual hate crimes also exist, and asexual people may face greater amounts of prejudice and discrimination than those of other sexual minorities.

There have been efforts to combat anti-asexual discrimination through legislation or education (such as asexual workshops).[7][8]

Classification

General

Behaviours and attitudes that are considered discriminatory include the idea that asexuality is a mental illness, that asexuality is a phase or a choice, the idea that asexual people cannot feel love, and those that make asexual people feel dehumanised.[2][9][10][11] Aspects of discrimination experienced can depend on other parts of one's identity.[12] As of February 2019, asexuality is a poorly-understood; in a Sky News survey, 53 per cent of the 1,119 people questioned felt confident in defining asexuality, but 75 per cent incorrectly did so or thought asexual people simply lacked libido.[13] In 2011, LGBT activist Dan Savage stated that asexuality is a choice, described it as "choosing not to have sex", and deemed it unworthy of attention.[14][15] Asexual people whose asexuality has been accepted only because there is no other explanation for their lack of interest in sex has been come to be known as an "unassailable asexual".[16] Disbelieving attitudes towards asexuality can leave asexual people afraid to come out.[16]

Asexuality has been seen as a joke.[17] One study found that asexual people are more dehumanised than heterosexuals, homosexuals, and bisexuals, often being compared to animals or robots due to their sexuality.[18][19][20] A different study, however, found little evidence of serious discrimination against asexuals because of their asexuality.[21] Having emerged more recently as an identity, asexual people often have less legal protection than gay, lesbian, and bisexual people,[22] although in New York, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act categorises asexuals as a protected class.[23] Asexuals have also been known to have been subjected to corrective rape.[24][14][16] A 2015 survey found that 43.5 per cent of the almost 8000 asexual people polled had encountered sexual violence.[16] There is a misconception that asexual people are never in sexual situations and therefore cannot be sexually assaulted.[16]

Some, such as sociologist Mark Carrigan believe that asexual discrimination is more to do with marginalisation, and that a lot of it is a result of a lack of understanding and awareness of asexuality.[25][26] There is also controversy over the inclusion of asexuality in the LGBT and queer umbrellas for a variety of reasons, including the belief that asexuals do not experience oppression akin to homophobia and transphobia[15][14] and the belief that queer as a slur can only be reclaimed by those it has historically been used to oppress.[27]

Asexuals are less-well represented by mainstream media and services, facilitating hostility and prejudice towards asexuals, and can lead to their rejection from both the straight and LGBT communities. Some online dating services, including Tinder, Bumble, and Match.com, lack the option for users to identify as asexual, which obstructs their ability to find romantic partners.[28]

Asexual spaces have also been known to discriminate based on age.[16]

Institutionalised discrimination

In some jurisdictions, marriages can be voided if not legitimised by consummation.[29] This has been viewed as discriminatory to asexuals.[30] Sex education programmes in schools have also been known to discriminate against asexuals.[31][32]

Social discrimination

Asexuals may be socially discriminated against due to beliefs that that heterosexuality is the default sexuality or that asexuals are actually gay or lesbian people in denial.[10][33]

Anti-discrimination endeavours

In New York, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act categorises asexuals as a protected class.[34]

The Asexual Visibility and Education Network is an organisation founded in 2001 by David Jay, and aims to raise awareness of asexuality,[35] including by getting it discussed in schools to discourage discriminatory attitudes.[2] The Asexual Awareness Week is an organised event formed by Sarah Beth Brooks in 2010, also with the aim of raising asexual awareness and dispelling misconceptions about it.[10] There have been attempts to increase awareness of asexuality in universities.[36] Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic is a meetup group for asexual people centred in Washington D.C.,[37][38] whose members founded The Asexual Awareness Project, an asexual advocacy organisation.[37]

In autumn (fall) 2014, the book The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality, written by Julie Sondra Decker, was published. Decker said that she would like to see the book used in sex education to increase common knowledge of sexuality.[39]

In 2015, United Kingdom Labour Party parliamentary candidate George Norman called for Parliament to add asexuality to equality legislation, and to recognise that one per cent of the UK's electorate are asexual.[22]

In 2016, the Asexual Aromantic Alliance was founded at Iowa State University to encourage co-operation between the asexual and aromantic communities and "help eliminate acephobia."[3][40]

There have been efforts to stop the exclusion of asexuals from LGBT pride events.[14]

References

  1. ^ Joshua Glenn Parmenter (August 2018). "The Culture of Sexuality: Identification, Conceptualization, and Acculturation Processes Within Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Cultures". Utah State University. p. 96. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Joe Morgan (30 March 2015). "Here are the 11 biggest asexual myths busted". Gay Star News. London. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b Logan Metzger (20 February 1029). "A look at the Asexual Aromantic Alliance and who they are". Iowa State Daily. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  4. ^ Bruce LaBruce (3 April 2012). "Asexuality Is All the Rage". Vice. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Anything but lacking". The McGill Daily. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  6. ^ Morgan Lev Edward Holleb (2019). The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. p. 31. ISBN 9781784506636.
  7. ^ "LGBTQrazy: A is for…". The Brunswickan (University of New Brunswick). Vol. 147 no. 7. 17 October 2013. p. 10. It’s important to talk about asexuality because it’s often an overlooked sexual identity, and acephobia – discrimination against asexual people – is experienced by many asexual people.
  8. ^ Joelle Ruby Ryan, "On Being Asexual and Transgender: Notes on Identity, Visibility, and Empowerment", in Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender (ed. Laura Erickson-Schroth), Oxford University Press (2014), ISBN 9780199325368, page 367 "I now give asexual workshops, screen the film (A)sexual with a postfilm discussion, and try to have conversations with my friends and colleagues about asexual identity and acephobia
  9. ^ "Let's Talk About Pride! How To Make Intersectional Spaces At Pride". ComicsVerse. 19 June 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Robyn Exton (14 November 2016). "Aces Show Their Hand - What Is Asexuality And Why You Should Know About It". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  11. ^ Elizabeth Hanna Hanson (2013). "Making Something Out of Nothing: Asexuality and Narrative". Loyola University Chicago. p. 83. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  12. ^ Harrad, Kate, ed. (2016). Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain. Thorntree Press LLC. ISBN 9780996460170.
  13. ^ Lydia Smith (4 February 2019). "Three-quarters of people can't define asexuality". PinkNews. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d Latonya Pennington (1 June 2018). "Asexuals Shouldn't Be Excluded From Queer Spaces, Especially Pride". Pride. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  15. ^ a b Dominique Mosbergen (21 June 2013). "LGBT, Asexual Communities Clash Over Ace Inclusion". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Julie Kliegman (26 July 2018). "When You're An Asexual Assault Survivor, It's Even Harder To Be Heard". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  17. ^ Tom Grennell (3 January 2017). "ACES An Asexual Interview". Huffington Post. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  18. ^ Gordon Hodson (1 September 2012). "Prejudice Against "Group X" (Asexuals)". Psychology Today. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  19. ^ Cara C. MacInnis; Gordon Hodson (24 April 2012). "Intergroup bias toward "Group X": Evidence of prejudice, dehumanization, avoidance, and discrimination against asexuals" (PDF). Sage Publications. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  20. ^ Julie Sondra Decker (2015). The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781510700642. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  21. ^ Gazzola, Stephanie B, and Melanie A. Morrison. "Asexuality: An emergent sexual orientation". Sexual Minority Research in the New Millennium.
  22. ^ a b Jack Gevertz (28 April 2015). ""Parliament doesn't recognise my sexuality": Britain's first openly asexual candidate, George Norman, speaks to Vision". York Vision. Archived from the original on 3 December 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  23. ^ "The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act ("SONDA")". Office of the Attorney General. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  24. ^ Dominique Mosbergen (20 June 2013). "Battling Asexual Discrimination, Sexual Violence And 'Corrective' Rape". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  25. ^ Lucy Wallis (17 January 2012). "What is it like to be asexual?". BBC News. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  26. ^ Maddie Wright (26 October 2017). "Asexual students on identity, experiences of intolerance". The Rocky Mountain Collegian. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  27. ^ Mortimer, Dora (9 February 2016). "Can Straight People Be Queer? - An increasing number of young celebrities are labeling themselves 'queer.' But what does this mean for the queer community?". Vice Media. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  28. ^ Julie Kliegman (14 February 2018). "Online dating isn't easy — especially when you're asexual". The Verge. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  29. ^ Elizabeth F. Emens (2014). "Compulsory Sexuality". Columbia University. p. 351. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  30. ^ Sally Goldfarb (2016). "Divorcing Marriage from Sex: Radically Rethinking the Role of Sex in Marriage Law in the United States". p. 20. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  31. ^ Miri Mogilevsky (21 January 2016). "5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Support the Asexual Youth in Your Life". Everyday Feminism. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  32. ^ Marie Claire (23 February 2015). "What It Feels Like To Be Asexual In A Sex-Obsessed World". Marie Claire. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  33. ^ Nicole Wiesenthal (Autumn 2014). "Glossary of Asexual Terms". The Mirror. Vol. 3 no. 3. p. 19. Closely linked to homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and acephobia"
  34. ^ "The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act ("SONDA")". Office of the Attorney General. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  35. ^ JohnThomas Didymus (27 April 2013). "Asexual Visibility and Education Network marks Asexuality Day". Digital Journal. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  36. ^ Erickson-Schroth, Laura, ed. (12 May 2014). Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community. Oxford University Press. p. 367. ISBN 9780199325368. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  37. ^ a b Isabel Nathan (19 October 2018). "Asexuals, you are not alone". Washington Blade. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  38. ^ "Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic". Meetup. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  39. ^ Ellen McCarthy (24 November 2014). "Asexuals seek to raise awareness of the 'invisible orientation'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  40. ^ "Asexual Aromantic Alliance". Iowa State University. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
Sexual orientation discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination (also often referred to as sexualism) is discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or sexual behaviour.

General forms
Social
Religious
Ethnic/National
Manifestations
Discriminatory
policies
Countermeasures
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