LGBT+ charity Stonewall and ace activist Yasmin Benoit are launching a groundbreaking project to improve the lives of the ace community.
Launching on International Asexuality Day (6 April), the project will undertake research to explore the experiences, needs and priorities of ace Brits with a focus on employment, healthcare and higher education.
The findings will be published in a report later this year, setting out actions that politicians, companies and charities can take to better support the ace community.
According to the UK government’s National LGBT Survey in 2018, at least two per cent of Brits identify as asexual(the survey did not report on the aromantic population, or on any other ace identities).
However, a majority of cisgender respondents who were asexual (89 per cent) said they avoided being open about their identity for fear of a negative reaction. Almost half of asexual Brits said they were uncomfortable being LGBT+ in the UK.
Sadly, asexual respondents were among those with the lowest life satisfaction scores – 5.9 out of 10, compared with 7.7 for the general UK population.
Awareness of ace identities has increased in recent years, Stonewall said, but there is “still a worrying lack of understanding of the needs and experiences of ace people”.
The charity said ace people are “often subject to dehumanising myths and misconceptions” in the UK.
Stonewall has partnered with Yasmin Benoit – an award-winning asexual and aromantic activist, writer, speaker and consultant – on the research project, with PinkNews serving as media partner.
Yasmin Benoit. (Supplied)
Benoit said she is “incredibly proud” to be working on “such a monumental project” and using her own “experience, platform and research background to drive ace rights forward”.
“Having worked as an asexual activist for the past four years, it has been continuously brought to my attention that there are ace people in the UK who don’t feel protected by the current Equality Act,” she added.
Benoit said there is currently a “void in the research” when it comes to asexuality and acephobia that the project will “help to fill”.
With the Tory government stumbling from one catastrophe to the next when it comes to LGBT+ rights, Benoit said understanding the needs of the ace community is more important than ever.
“We need to make sure that it is equal for every one that falls under the umbrella,” she said.
“Awareness is very much step one,” Benoit pointed out. Then, “representation needs to occur” within research and data so that “we have somewhere to reference” when discussing issues impacting the community.
“When it comes to data, research, reports, academia and all those things, that is where information about asexuality is really lacking,” Benoit added.
Stonewall CEO Nancy Kelley added that ace people have played an “integral role” in the wider fight for LGBT+ rights, but that the “needs and experiences” of this community have “too often been ignored”.
“We know that ace people face dehumanisation and prejudice from across society, including in our own community,” Kelley said.
“This groundbreaking project will directly engage with the concerns and experiences of ace people, and create a plan of action based on their needs.”
Stonewall and Yasmin Benoit are looking to speak to those on the ace spectrum in the UK who have experienced any degree of acephobia in education, healthcare, or the workplace.
If you are interested in sharing your experiences, contact email@example.com. Visit Stonewall for more.