The week of Oct. 20 through Oct. 26 is Asexual Awareness Week (also known as Ace Week), a time to acknowledge and celebrate identities on the asexual spectrum. Such identities include asexual, aromantic, demisexual and gray-asexual.
The awareness week was established in 2010 to recognize the progress made in the community as well as to advocate for acceptance of asexual identities, according to aceweek.org. It strives to bring visibility to the asexual community through educational resources, social media and community events. These mediums allow open discussion and a space for people to learn about asexuality and how to support the asexual community.
Rainbow Center Program Coordinator Julia Anderson spoke about how the Rainbow Center will honor the week and what it means for the asexual community.
“A lot of people don’t know about asexuality and the people who do at least understand the concept of what asexual means often have, like, a lot of misconceptions and biases and stereotypes associated with asexuality, and so in raising awareness, they’ll hopefully combat some of those misconceptions,” Anderson said.
In addition to dispelling stereotypes about the asexual community, the week acknowledges and affirms the asexual community, Anderson said. Additionally, she noted that part of the Rainbow Center’s celebration of this week is their affirmation that the asexual community is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community as the center recognizes it.
Anderson said that Asexual Awareness Week allows people to educate themselves about a community that is seldom talked about.
“I think that the asexual community is rarely talked about or included in discussions of sexuality in general,” Anderson said. “Asexuality awareness, to us, means a lot. It means doing outreach to students, yes, but also like with classes, having students know that maybe what they’re learning in classes isn’t the complete spectrum of human sexuality and that people can have like a wide range of variance of sexual experiences or lack thereof, and even romantic experiences and lack thereof.”
In honor of Asexual Awareness Week, the Rainbow Center will host Platonic Stargazing Tuesday evening. Interested students can meet at the Dairy Bar parking lot at 7 p.m., and the group will walk from there to Horsebarn Hill.
“Stargazing is something that’s very often associated with being romantic,” Anderson said. “And it doesn’t necessarily have to be for everyone; it doesn’t only have to be with romantic or sexual partners, so it’s platonic stargazing with friends and fellow members of the community.”
Anderson said that UConn students have been developing a handout on asexuality to hand out to students during this event.
Additionally, the UConn organization Queer Collective will host its weekly discussion group Aces and Aros, which provides a space for asexual and aromantic people to discuss.
“It’s really important to the Rainbow Center, it’s really important to UConn in general,” Anderson said. “And I hope that people can make it out to our events and ask their questions and feel seen by the programs that we do.”
Stephanie Santillo is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.