Words: Alastair James; pictures: Apollo Flux
Asexual model and activist, Yasmin Benoit, is teaming up with Stonewall to launch a "groundbreaking" project.
The Stonewall x Yasmin Benoit Ace Project (supported in part by donations from the Attitude Magazine Foundation) is the first of its kind and aims to better understand the experiences and needs of Ace people in the UK.
The project has been launched today (Wednesday 6 April) to coincide with International Asexuality Day and will result in a report later this year.
"There’s still a worrying lack of understanding"
Yasmin tells Attitude she believes the project, which will focus on Ace (asexual) experiences in the workplace, education, and healthcare will offer a clear set of actions for policymakers, companies, and charities to better support Ace people.
"Not only will this help to raise awareness of an issue which isn't often spoken about, but it will also set the ball in motion for real change."
Explaining the project's importance Yasmin says, "Awareness of ace identities has increased over the last few years and more people are identifying as being on the ace spectrum than ever before.
"However, there’s still a worrying lack of understanding of the needs and experiences of ace people, who are often subject to dehumanising myths and misconceptions. Representation isn't just essential in the media, it's essential in research and data as well!
The Attitude Pride Award winner continues that this project will help to fill that void by providing something to reference and highlighting the issue of acephobia, which she says is rarely spoken about.
On the challenges faced by the Ace community Yasmin cites asexuality being listed as a hypoactive sexual desire disorder and not being recognised as a sexual orientation under UK law.
She points to the Government’s National LGBT Survey, where asexual people reported having one of the lowest life satisfaction scores (5.9 out of 10) and 89 percent had avoided being open about their sexual orientation.
It's also estimated that between 0.44-1 percent (295,768 to 672,200) of the UK population identifies as asexual.
"These statistics show that today in the UK, many ace people still experience significant barriers to living their lives freely," Yasmin adds. "Asexual people are 10 percent more likely to be offered or to undergo 'conversion' therapy.
Stonewall's CEO, Nancy Kelley, adds: "Ace communities have always played an integral role in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights but their needs and experiences have too often been ignored. We know that ace people face dehumanisation and prejudice from across society, including in our own community.
"This ground-breaking project will directly engage with the concerns and experiences of Ace people, and create a plan of action based on their needs. Our community has always been stronger when we fight for each other and today’s announcement is a step forwarding in helping more ace people feel safe and free."
If you’re interested in sharing your experience contact [email protected]
Attitude's new-look March/April issue is out now.