On Being an Evangelist

This is my submission to the October Carnival of Aces. This month’s Carnival is being hosted by Ace Week, and the theme is “Reaching Out, Reaching In”.

Evangelism has not, historically, been my strong suit. When I was in undergrad, I belonged to one of my school’s Christian clubs, which really pushed evangelism among its members. As someone who believed in God, I was told I should be helping to spread His message, but the idea of actually initiating conversations about Him terrified me. You might think I simply lacked religious zeal, but the summer I volunteered for the Green Party I discovered that going from house to house and stuffing pamphlets under doors wasn’t really my thing, either.

So it’s a bit strange to find that I have, over the course of my adult life, grown into a devout evangelist for one unlikely cause: asexuality.

Of course, it may not be fair to compare my asexual evangelism to the other kinds. I’ve never gone up to a total stranger and said, “Excuse me, do you have a few minutes to talk about asexuality?” or greeted anyone at their door with, “Hi, I’m canvassing for the Asexual Party; can we count on your support?” For me, evangelism has taken a different form – or, rather, many.

After discovering asexuality, I spent the first couple of years learning as much about it as I could and getting to know the community. I didn’t talk about it much with people outside the community, but I did have one early success spreading awareness about it. In my Human Sexuality class, I approached my professor about whether asexuality would be discussed. He said that he planned to follow the textbook, which had asexuality grouped with the sexual dysfunctions. However, when he gave the lecture on sexual orientations, asexuality was right there with the rest of them! In fact, it got more than its fair share of attention! “I had to re-write my entire lecture because of you!” he told me afterwards. That was during the 2005-06 school year in a class of several hundred students. I’ve never felt so good about speaking up in my life!

After university, I began writing for AVENues. I attended meet-ups in various cities, and eventually started organising them. I still did not really consider myself an asexual person, but I wanted to support the community in any way I could. When I went back to school to do my M.A. in English, I ended up focusing a lot of my work on asexuality and its relationship to Romance. I’ve already written about that experience in “My Awesome Year of Grad School”, but one of the many things it gave me was a chance to discuss asexuality with people who might not otherwise have given it much thought. I brought asexuality into my classrooms, into my papers, and into conferences I attended.

Three years ago, I started this blog. My main purpose in doing so was to raise awareness of asexual issues by discussing them in relation to movies. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been at that, but the blog has also given me a chance to participate in and support the online asexual community. I no longer organise regular ace meet-ups, but I still attend them when they happen. Earlier this year, I spoke at a conference at my alma mater and introduced a whole new group of people to the word “queerplatonic”. And, with some significant exceptions, most of the people I’m close to are aware of my interest in asexuality.

So my asexual evangelism may not look like what you think of when you hear the word. But what does “evangelism” really mean? The word comes from the Greek, meaning “good news”, and that’s what asexuality has always been for me. If you’ve read “My Journey to Ace Identification”, you know it took me a long time to feel comfortable identifying as an ace-spectrum person. And yet, even when I didn’t, I was relieved and comforted to know that asexuality existed, that the image I’d grown up with of sex-obsessed adults devoting their lives to having as much sex as possible was not universal. And I wanted to share that knowledge. Not just with other aces, but with all the people who have been affected and hurt by erotonormativity.

So, to all the asexuals, all those who have never felt sexual attraction and have been made to feel broken because of it…

To all the demisexuals and grey-aexuals who haven’t experienced sexual attraction as much or in the ways that other people told them they should…

To all those who experience romantic or other attraction without a sexual component…

To all those who have tried to express platonic affection and were misunderstood because people assumed their feelings must be sexual…

To all those who have loved passionately, only to be told that their love wasn’t “real” because it wasn’t sexual…

To all those who have sexual urges they know they’ll never be able to act on…

To all the pretty girls who have been made to feel that their only value lay in their sexual desirability…

To all the ugly girls who have been made to feel undesirable and therefore worthless…

To all the boys who were told they needed to “get” a woman in order to be a “real” man…

To all those who are celibate by choice, and are derided for making that choice…

To all those who used to want sex and now find that they don’t…

To all those who have ever felt that society places way too much importance on sex and sexual relationships…

Good news!

Good news: It is possible to be happy and celibate!

Good news: It is possible to find fulfillment in non-sexual relationships!

Good news: Not experiencing sexual attraction does not make you broken!

Good news: Not being sexually desirable does not make you worthless!

Good news: Platonic love is just as real as any other kind!

Good news: You don’t have to have sex in order to be loved, respected, or valued!

Or, to borrow a phrasing from Mark Carrigan…

Good news! There’s more to life than sex!

5 thoughts on “On Being an Evangelist

    • Blue Ice-Tea says:

      Thanks! To be fair, this was in a university class devoted to human sexuality, i.e. a class for adults who were specifically interested in learning more about sexuality. There’s still a need for more education about asexuality at the public school level – something I know other ace activists are working on.


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