14 Days of Love Day 3: The Rise of Asexuality

Lissette Martinez, Feature Editor

The asexual community, composed of individuals who do not experience sexual attraction and do not have an interest in having sex, has recently grown in size, according to Lighthouse Care. An online network found in 2001 Asexuality Visibility Education Network, or AVEN, with a total of around 1,500 members who identified themselves as asexuals, claimed by ELLE . However, almost 20 years later, that number has increased by more than 8,000%, showcasing the immense growth this community underwent. 

“The rise sprouts from an increase in safe spaces online like AVEN and a greater education about the nuances and gray areas of sexuality,” Palmetto senior and  president of Alliance Club David Ferro said. The club celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and provides a place where every member feels welcome.

Although according to U.S. News asexuals make up only around 1% of the population, that number represents around 70 million people in the world who identify themselves by this sexual orientation. 

It’s more an increase of awareness. Asexual people have always been around, but not always seen,” Ferro said. “The rise in numbers in this community just sheds light on these individuals feeling more comfortable in their own skin and accepting truly themselves.”

Although a study found that those who identify as asexual may have higher rates of depression and anxiety, many believe the rise in numbers of the community will encourage others to come together and create places where people can find a sense of acceptance through spending quality time with others who can relate to their experiences. Therefore, improving overall mental health of asexuals.  

“It can only mean positive things for those coming out. Not being open about your sexuality can be a very rough experience,” said Ferro. “In reality, everyone has to find a place where they don’t have to apologize or hide their identity, not having to wear a mask for something completely unnecessary. Also, being unable to express one’s sexuality is directly linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression.”

Throughout the years, society constructed various misconceptions regarding this group pertaining to the LGBTQ+ community and its growth emphasizes the demand to truly understand its meaning. 

Founder of AVEN David Jay emphasized how people sometimes inaccurately criticize asexuals and label them as lacking the capacity to experience love, according to ELLE. He acknowledges that society does not have enough resources to truly comprehend the asexual community and strongly those who work towards expanding their perception. 

In order to educate and bring further awareness in regard to this and various other groups composing the LGBTQ+ community, Alliance Club has dedicated itself towards going the extra mile.

We’re working on a story with newspaper about the sexual, romantic, and gender spectrums so that students can have a greater understanding of the queer rainbow,” Ferro said.. 

The queer rainbow symbolizes the LGBTQ+ community since 1978, when Gilbert Baker, a gay rights activist and army veteran made the flag for the Gay Freedom Pride Parade that year in San Francisco. The club welcomes everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation and assures they feel at home. It also intends to inform Palmetto about this community and help the world comprehend the meanings of each different sexual orientation. They will hopefully clarify the readers who may feel confused regarding this topic, which, according to the statistics, deserves more attention.

“It will be scary telling people for the first time, and you will meet people who don’t accept or understand you, but you will also feel so much better that it’s worth the risk,” Ferro said to those who feel unsure about coming out. “You will eventually find a community that loves and accepts you, and everything will be okay.”