This week many people will for the first time be celebrating ACE Week, since 2010 as Ace Week, a time where the asexual (ace) community comes together to celebrate their pride.
One participant is an aromantic, someone with little to no romantic attraction to others, who decided to bring together people, and host a seminar for their first year of celebration.
“I went through high school and university not realizing what I was,” said Sarah Schneckenburger, a 21-year-old Toronto student, who recently found out what asexuality was. “It’s mind blowing that it was right there all along, to some extent I felt a bit of rage because it was just under the rug.”
Since May, Schneckenburger has been running an Instagram page dedicated to educating and creating a safe space for people who identify within the ace spectrum to share their stories.
“Its important to have a designated week because our lives are crazy, everyones lives are insanely busy.” Schneckburger said. “Giving a week to it adds two sides of the coin. One, as ace people it gives us a space to say okay we’ll make this time to show our pride [and] connect with our fellow community members to do things. On the flip side of it, it also creates that space where it makes people feel more compelled and forced to listen if you’re not ace.”
The seminar, held on Oct. 26, was dedicated to depathologizing asexuality. Stella brought together four speakers, Destinie Vidrio, a trauma-focused therapist and faculty at Pepperdine University’s graduate psychology program; Yana Vikulova, a practising psychologist for eight years; sex educator Aubrey Lancaster; and CJ Chasin, an aromantic asexual queer organizer, educator and author of academic articles on asexuality.
“It really saddens me that from time to time it feels like ace events are run only for aces by aces, sort of like closed in the community,” Vikulova said.
The asexual community is spread across social media. To find professionals that deal with sexuality, and identify as asexual who are willing to be guest speakers on a seminar, is no easy task.
‘Take it slow, be accepting’
“I‘ve seen all three of their accounts, I made a group chat and invited all of them,” Schneckburger said. “As for CJ, I read their work and was interested in their work and reached out to them.”
The point of the seminar was to have an open space for those who identify as ace, feel they might be ace, and ace allies to come together and learn more about the community. People who are new to the group or those who are curious, shouldn’t try and follow a set guide on how to come to terms with their sexuality, the organizers say.
“There is no algorithm for doing it the best way,” Vikuolva said. “There are just these recommendations: take it slow, be accepting of your own different choices, don’t try to find the right one either right away or in general.”