Wonky Wednesday: Asexuality

By Jack Harrison, Policy Institute Manager

As someone who has identified as an ally to the asexual community for a very long time, I was very excited when Sarah Beth volunteered to write an Ace 101 post for the Task Force blog. In addition to being a great crash course for many of us, it gives me a great chance to kick off a column we’ve been talking about a lot around here. It’s called Wonky Wednesdays, and the concept is that we take a moment once a week to go “in the weeds” and explore the nuances of a bit of research or a specific policy issue.

In this case, there’s relatively little research by asexuals on asexuals, and what has been done is largely based around asking others their opinions of asexuals to determine the possibility of bias or psychological research attempting to establish possible reasons why people experience themselves as asexual. That means there’s almost no data based on methodologies of asking aces to articulate their own experiences.

I’ve been involved recently in a coalition of activists and academics, primarily from ace communities, trying to remedy this. But there is one study out there that gives us a foundation to start from – The 2011 Asexual Awareness Week Community Census, analysis by Tristan Miller, aka Siggy. With 3,430 respondents, this survey provides the best information we have to date on the demographics of the community.

One finding from the survey that has stuck with me since I first looked over the report was the age of the respondents. These results show that the bulk of respondents (76%) were between the ages of 16 and 25 years old, the implications of which are very interesting to someone like me who is very concerned about employment discrimination. This means that most ace-identified folks may not have entered the work force and thus, as advocates who believe that everyone has the right to be judged on the quality of their work rather than on their sexual or non-sexual identities, we need to be preparing for a rise in instances of discrimination in the coming years.