Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-10-22
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

ELECTIONS 2014 Printable Election Guide Charts ELECTIONS 2014 Printable Election Guide Charts
Early voting has begun in Illinois. Consult our 2014 General Election charts ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

Asexuals make presence known, seek LGBTQ allies
by Steven Chaitman
2013-01-02

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


"An asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction." That's the first thing you'll read on www.asexuality.org, the home of the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). For asexuals, that barely begins to describe their sexual or romantic orientations, but for society at large, it can be a big step forward.

Becky, 33, who requested Windy City Times not use her surname, lives in Lakeview and identifies as an a-romantic asexual. To her, that means she has no inclination to be sexually or romantically intimate with either men or women.

It sounds simple enough, but it took Becky the first 26 years of her life (when she discovered AVEN) before she had even considered it.

"I assumed that I was gay and I came out to myself and my family three different times, but I never really wanted to do anything about it and I never managed to meet any girl I was attracted to," she said.

She said there was a time that she thought she must be repressed, afraid of intimacy and of being vulnerable or dealing with some kind of psychological trauma. After exhaustively searching the Internet, she found AVEN and hundreds like her, and things began to click.

"That's the place where most asexual people start when they come to our community, is that there must be something wrong with them," said David Jay, who founded AVEN in 2001. "We live in a culture that assumes that if you're not sexual enough that you're broken."

Jay, who is also the subject of the 2011 documentary "(A)sexual," struggled with his own sexuality in high school, and after identifying and coming out as asexual, wanted to meet and talk with others like him.

"I knew that there were other people out there like me and I wanted to find them," he said, "both to tell them they were okay—because it had taken me a long time to realize I was okay—and just to have a conversation and connect to them."

Results of a 2004 probability study of 18,000 people in the United Kingdom suggest 1 percent of the population self-identifies as asexual.

Unlike celibacy, asexuality is not a choice, but an orientation; asexuals don't have an intrinsic desire to make sexuality a part of how they connect with others.

It can be a difficult concept to understand. Jay said the most common obstacle to making sense of asexuality, in his experience, is that people have see a lack of sexual attraction as a problem, not a sexual identity.

"People say, 'Oh that can't be a valid explanation of who you are; there must be something wrong with you,'" he said. "There must be some explanation for why you're not sexual, because [for them] the notion that there's a person who's not sexual who could be okay is impossible to fathom."

Consequently, Becky said she is careful about when and to whom she uses the word "asexual."

"The word 'asexual'—people don't know what it is and they have a lot of misconceptions about it," she said. "I've had enough negative times of having it come back to hurt me that it has put me in a very defensive stance."

Because Becky and other asexuals many times feel the need to conceal their identity, they feel a strong connection to the LGBTQ community. Becky said she finds that when she comes out to gays and lesbians, they tend to be more accepting.

"People who have gone through their coming out journey I think tend to recognize in other people the signs that they have also been through that period of reflection and they respect that and they tend to take what I say with more respect," she said.

As such, Jay and other leaders among the asexual community have been working hard at forging partnerships with LGBTQ organizations in order to help meet the immediate needs of visibility and better education on asexual issues.

"More than anything, we want to integrate what we know about the asexual experience into [the LGBTQ] mechanism of education and support," Jay said.

Jay said that plan involves reaching out to gay-straight alliances, mental health groups, and groups doing public education work so that youth and mental health professionals not only understand what asexuality is, but recognize why talking about asexuality can help raise public awareness about sexuality in general.

AVEN also became part of the annual Creating Change Conference last year and attendance was so great at their session that at next year's conference in January, it will host three workshops.

"There are LGBT organizations around the country that have asexual members, that have asexual members in their leadership, that have asexuals coming to them and asking for support all the time and those organizations are really looking for resources," Jay said.

According to Becky, there are currently no community resources in Chicago for asexual individuals. Having attended programs at places such as Center on Halsted, she said acceptance from the LGBT community would be a big step. The mention of asexuality in advertising for LGBTQ events, for example, would make a difference.

"I know people get tired of that because the [full LGBTQ] acronym is about 15 letters long, but by including asexuality in those spaces, I think it also helps get other non-asexual but not straight people to consider opening their hearts to asexual people too and understanding," she said.

Jay said that he recommends communities host screenings of "(A)sexual" to start a dialogue about asexuality if they are interested in a way to immediately help improve visibility.

"I think that as soon as you begin to seriously talk about asexual people and our experiences, then that assumption (that there's something wrong with asexual people) begins to erode and I think that's a valuable thing for everyone, not just asexual people," Jay said.

For more information and resources on asexuality, visit www.asexuality.org .


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

TPAN names first woman CEO 2014-10-23
ALMA announces scholarship at event 2014-10-22
OPALGA's 25th- anniv. gala Oct. 25 2014-10-22
Fashion fundraiser helps Indian nonprofit 2014-10-21
Point Foundation honors scholars at Chicago event 2014-10-21
'World of Chocolate' kicks off at Peninsula 2014-10-21
Legacy Project concludes dedication at Sidetrack 2014-10-20
Men's group alleges unfair removal from Center on Halsted 2014-10-20
Haunted site having LGBTQ night Oct. 19 2014-10-16
Chicago House luncheon puts spotlight on disparities 2014-10-15
October events: Point Foundation; YWCA to honor Morten; NCLR benefit 2014-10-15
Coming up: World of Chocolate, Drinks at Robie, Mapplethorpe 2014-10-15
Northalsted Business Alliance names new ED 2014-10-13
Turkey gets its first umbrella LGBTI organization 2014-10-13
Vives Q features Norma Seledon 2014-10-09
Chicago House Speaker Series to tackle LGBTQ poverty 2014-10-08
Upcoming: LGBT veteran event, NO H8 photo shoot, Safe School brunch 2014-10-02
Salvo Fireside Chat Oct. 1; Laverne Cox at MBLGTACC in 2015 2014-09-30
Precious Davis reflects on Center, excited for Columbia 2014-09-30
HRC Chicago gala marks achievements 2014-09-29
StoryCorps launches OutLoud initiative 2014-09-25
AIDS Foundation of Chicago names John Peller President/CEO 2014-09-25
Sophia Bush to speak at 2014 Chicago HRC Gala 2014-09-19
HBHC ready to dance at Garden of Eve Pride XL 2014-09-18
Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Assoc. 25th anniv. event 2014-09-16
Chuck Wolfe leaving Victory Fund 2014-09-11
Local news: Gay Indian prince, HBHC raises wages 2014-09-10
Laverne Cox, Dustin Lance Black and Jason Collins at Chicago House event 2014-09-10
Inspiration for 'Scandal' at Chicago women's confab 2014-09-09
Heartland President Mohn to step down in 2015 2014-09-08
HBHC raises minimum wage for Brown Elephant employees 2014-09-05
AFC policy show; W&CHF street; lesbian mayor; Transformative Law 2014-09-03
Judy Shepard speaks of new anti-hate initiatives at Center 2014-08-29
Attendees board 'Soul Train' at ALCC event 2014-08-27
NLJGA 2014: Diversity coverage hits and misses discussed 2014-08-24
Red Pump Project talks HIV/AIDS awareness 2014-08-20
ALMA hosts DACA renewal info session 2014-08-20
Montrose Rocks annual event faces uncertain future 2014-08-13
NOMAS members discuss men and feminist movement 2014-08-08
Bivins: State should "audit" Center on Halsted 2014-08-08





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Aon, KPMG hold pro-LGBT event
 
ELECTIONS 2014 Printable Election Guide Charts
 
Gay in the Life: Justin Romme
 
Sophia Bush on 'Chicago P.D.' and being an LGBT ally
 
BENT NIGHTS Xina Xurner;'Shame That Tune'; Asgeir
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.