Today’s post is a guest blog by Hafsa Qureshi
In response to Joey’s LGBTQ History Month calendar, I wanted to challenge myself. I’ve been working to raise visibility for people of colour and faith within the LGBTQ community.
As a member of those communities, I feel I have some knowledge about our divergent experiences.
However, like many of us inside and outside the LGBTQ community, I am constantly learning. Popular society has begun to view gender and sexuality as more fluid than ever before.
In my aim to learn about less represented sectors of the LGBTQ community, I chose to look at and write about today, Day 19: find out when the asexuality flag was designed.
To learn about the history of the asexuality flag, I wanted to learn more about what asexuality is. The Asexual Visbility and Education Network (AVEN) describes an asexual person as ‘someone who does not experience sexual attraction’.
Asexuality is described as an umbrella or spectrum. This ranges from individuals who only experience a romantic or aesthetic attraction to others, to those that experience neither.
There are asexual individuals that lie between the two, known as ‘grey-ace’. A demisexual for example is someone who only experiences sexual attraction to someone once an emotional bond has been formed.
Due to this spectrum, how asexual or ‘ace’ people choose to identify can vary. As such, great thought went into designing a flag that would represent all these aspects and nuances.
Users from various asexuality forums voted that they wanted a flag to represent asexuality. Some felt that AVEN’s triangle symbol was representative of the organisation, and that a separate symbol for the wider asexuality community was needed.
The flag was designed by an AVEN forums user and was chosen by vote on August 2010. The flag consists of 4 stripes, black, grey, white and purple.
The black symbolises asexuals, grey for demisexuals and grey-aces, white for sexuals (those that experience sexual attraction, also known as ‘allosexuals’), and purple for the asexuality community and those that surround them.
As far back as 1948, sexologist Dr Alfred Kinsey added a grade in his sexuality scale for asexuality. Despite asexuality’s long history, the asexuality flag allows for greater visibility for asexuality across queer and non-queer spaces.
Since 2011, the asexuality flag has been used at LGBTQ pride events, in the news and across social media. Emi Salida, YouTuber and asexual activist says: ‘Sexuality and romantic identity are fluid and what I fundamentally know about myself now is that I’m asexual and proud.’
In researching the asexuality flag, I learned a lot about the history of asexuality itself, and how the asexual community worked together to create a symbol that represents who they are.
What will you challenge yourself to learn about for LGBT history month?