Introducing: The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project

We have changed our name to reflect our evolving mission, and we appreciate your patience as we make our transition.

The Asexual Awareness Project was founded a little over a year ago by a handful of members of the Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic. We wanted to do more to further ace advocacy goals by marching in Capital Pride and increasing the visibility of asexuality at Creating Change 2018. At the time, we weren’t quite able to predict how our mission would grow beyond those two goals.

Over the past year, our efforts have organically expanded to include aromanticism — and not just as a component of many aces’ identities. There are people who identify on the aromantic spectrum who are not also ace, as well as aces who find their aromanticism to be a more significant part of their identity than their asexuality. Ace-focused advocacy tends to leave these people behind. We want to explore aromanticism as the independent orientation it is, and eventually we realized that our old name was inadequate in representing this goal.

As we were contemplating changing our name to accommodate this shift in our advocacy efforts, we also realized that the word “awareness” is simply not broad enough to capture all that we do. While educating people on the basics of asexuality is still an important part of our goals, we also aim to ensure that asexuality and aromanticism are integrated into queer communities and that our experiences are not forgotten or ignored.

In order to reflect this evolution of our mission, we are happy to announce that we have decided to change our name to The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project, or TAAAP.

There are quite a few steps we need to take before this change is applied to every aspect of what we do. With that in mind, we appreciate your patience as we work towards modifying our online presence to accurately reflect our new name and mission.

Some changes that we are planning to make, but that might take some time to implement, include:

  • Updating our email address
  • Changing our logo and domain name
  • Creating new 101 materials that feature asexuality and aromanticism equally

If you have any suggestions for ways we can be more inclusive, please feel free to contact us.

2017-2018 Year in Review

This past Monday marked one year since The Asexual Awareness Project was founded. Here are some things that we have accomplished in the past year:

Creating Change 2018

Creating Change is a conference organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force that helps participants gain skills that will help them to further their work in the LGBTQ+ advocacy movement.

Three members of TAAP joined the Creating Change 2018 Host Committee as volunteers with the hopes of promoting asexuality’s visibility within the conference. With their help, as well as the help from other ace advocates who have attended the conference in the past, we were able to publish an etiquette guide on asexuality and aromanticism in the program, as well as present four sessions at the conference itself. Read more about our work relating to Creating Change 2018 here.

Capital Pride 2018

TAAP marched in the 2018 Capital Pride Parade, making this year the first year that an asexual contingent has marched in the parade. We hope that this will be the first of many. Read more about this journey here.

In addition to marching, several members of TAAP attended the Capital Pride Festival the next day in order to network with other local organizations. We hope to announce several new collaborations in the coming months.

Ace and Aro Hospitality Suite at Creating Change 2019

One of the goals we had for Creating Change 2018 was to assist the conference in starting an officially recognized hospitality suite for asexual-spectrum individuals. We were not able to accomplish that last year; however, we organized a bit sooner this year and an official Ace and Aro Hospitality Suite is confirmed for Creating Change 2019. Read more about this project here.

Collaboration with Women in their Twenties and Thirties (WiTT)

WiTT is a discussion group for queer women in their twenties and thirties that meets every other week at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. A week ago, four members of TAAP attended and led a presentation and discussion on asexuality and aromanticism at the regular discussion group. TAAP and WiTT hope to host more collaborative events in the future.

Looking Forward

Here are some projects we are currently working on:

Incorporation

We are starting to look into incorporating and becoming recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. It is our hope to accomplish this within the next year so that we will be better equipped to complete all the projects we have lined up.

Book on Asexuality and Aromanticism for Professionals

We are currently working on writing a book on asexuality and aromanticism that will be geared towards professionals such as doctors, therapists, counselors, educators, or LGBTQ+ center employees. It is our hope that this book could be used as a resource to help these professionals better help the aces and aros they come into contact with.

Creating Change 2019

Currently, 3-5 TAAP members are planning on attending Creating Change 2019 in Detroit, MI. We have submitted five session proposals, and hope that they all are accepted. We also are looking forward to seeing the Ace and Aro Hospitality Suite become a reality.

The Rainbow History Project

TAAP is currently working on a collaboration with the Rainbow History Project to create a documented history of the ace community in the DC area. Queer history (including ace history) is often not recorded and, as a result, forgotten. We hope that by participating in this project, we can help in building a history of the ace community that future generations will be able to look back on.

Pride Parades and Festivals

In addition to marching in the Capital Pride Parade in 2019 and in future years, we hope to expand to also marching in the Baltimore Pride Parade. In addition, we would like to set up booths at various pride festivals in the area, including Capital Pride, Baltimore Pride, and NOVA Pride. We also hope to participate in New York City’s WorldPride in 2019, which will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and will be the largest celebration of Pride in the world.

Aro Inclusion

We initially began as an organization started by and focused towards asexual people. In our actual work, however, we have begun drifting towards including aro folks much more than our name and branding currently suggest. In this next year and beyond, we aim to be much more intentional about our inclusion of aro people, including those who are not also ace.

Thank You

We are extremely grateful to those who donated so we could march in pride, to organizations who we have worked with, and to those who have volunteered their time to work directly on our projects. Thank you for all you have done to help us this past year!

If you would like to find out ways that you can help us with any of our upcoming projects, please contact us.

The Asexual Awareness Project is Founded on October 1st, 2017

By Laura G.

On the first of October, 2017, a small group of members of Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic sat down to discuss how they were going to begin approaching their goals of spreading awareness of the asexual identity and become a greater presence in the LGBTQ+ events that take place in Washington D.C.

Previously that year, Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic hosted two events to view the Capital Pride Parade and attend the Capital Pride Festival with other asexual people. Were it not for the presence of fellow Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic, it would have been a lonely experience. Nowhere in the parade was there any reference to asexuality, which was less representation than the 2016 parade, where there was one lone ace flag. While exploring the festival, there was only one table that had an ace flag, but we ran into quite a few asexual people who were happy to see a group of other asexuals walking around.

We realized that if we wanted to be represented in the parade, we would need to represent ourselves. The only problem: the parade would cost money. So we committed to finding a way to fundraise so Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic could march in the parade, but decided to wait until the fall to begin organizing.

With creating a greater asexual presence at LGBTQ+ events on the mind, Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic Event Organizer Emily K. recalled an earlier request from David Jay. Around the end of January 2017, Jay reached out to the organizers of Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic because local assistance was needed in order to push for official ace inclusion at the Creating Change Conference in DC. Here is what Creating Change is, according to their website‘s FAQ:

The National LGBTQ Task Force sponsors and organizes the Creating Change. Creating Change 2018 is the 30th anniversary of the conference. The Creating Change Conference is the foremost political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ social justice movement. Since 1988, Creating Change has created opportunities for many thousands of committed people to develop and hone their skills, celebrate victories, build community, and to be inspired by visionaries of our LGBTQ movement and allied movements for justice and equality.

Three event organizers of Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic were able to attend committee planning meetings, however, attempts at creating an official “Ace Suite” were unsuccessful. A Creating Change co-chair in charge of the Bi+ Suite at the conference did say they wanted to make aces in the bi+ community feel welcome in their suite. The organizers then reached out to Aces Wild, the organization that has been running an unofficial Ace Suite at Creating Change in order to assist them with that project. (Currently, TAAP is also waiting to hear whether or not several asexuality-related workshop proposals have been accepted.)

After many email chains, it became clear that we needed to organize formally in order to achieve our goals of marching in the parade and creating an asexual presence at the conference. We decided to form a separate group from Asexuals of the Mid-Atlantic that is entirely dedicated to asexual activism. Thus, The Asexual Awareness Project was born.