October is on its way and with that comes my favourite time of year. Its when the leaves all start turning orange brown and everything starts getting that golden sheen, pumpkins keep popping up everywhere and everyone is on the countdown to Halloween also known as Gay Christmas! There are many other things happening across October…
October is also Asexual Awareness Month. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity. It may be considered a sexual orientation or the lack thereof. It may also be categorized more widely, to include a broad spectrum of asexual sub-identities.
Asexuality is distinct from abstention from sexual activity and from celibacy, which are behavioural and generally motivated by factors such as an individual’s personal, social, or religious beliefs. Sexual orientation, unlike sexual behaviour, is believed to be “enduring”. Some asexual people engage in sexual activity despite lacking sexual attraction or a desire for sex, for a number of reasons, such as a desire to physically pleasure themselves or romantic partners, or a desire to have children.
Acceptance of asexuality as a sexual orientation and field of scientific research is still relatively new, as a growing body of research from both sociological and psychological perspectives has begun to develop. While some researchers assert that asexuality is a sexual orientation, other researchers disagree. Asexual individuals may represent about one percent of the population.
Various asexual communities have started to form since the impact of the Internet and social media in the mid-1990s. The most prolific and well-known of these communities is the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, which was founded in 2001 by David Jay.
Spirit Day is an annual observance held on the 3rd Thursday of the month to raise awareness around the bullying and harassment that many LGBTQ+ individuals face. The day encourages people to wear purple as symbol of support for LGBTQ+ and show solidarity against bullying. Spirit day was started by a teenager, Brittany McMillan in 2010 in response to a series of suicides by young LGBTQ+ and has since grown into an international event. Spirit Day aims to promote a message of acceptance, love, and support for LGBTQ+ youth and to raise awareness about the ongoing need to address bullying and discrimination in all its forms – so in the words of George Michael – Choose Life!
October is also when International Lesbian Day is celebrated (08th), it’s a time to both celebrate and bring further visibility to lesbians within the LGBTQ+ community. The day has been observed since the 1990’s and is similar to the Lesbian visibility held in April which is when our blog will have a lesbian theme; but in celebration of International Lesbian Day our meet the team feature will be one half of our very own lesbian couple, and one of the founders of Abergavenny Pride.
The 11th of October is when we celebrate National Coming Out Day. Everyone has a coming out story whether its good, bad or a mix of everything. This was first celebrated in 1988 in America and has continued to be observed and grown ever since. It was originally conceptualised to help support people to “Come Out of The Closet”. Its idea is that Homophobia thrives in atmosphere of silence and ignorance, and that once people know that they have loved ones that are LGBTQ+, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views. We don’t ever want to pressure anyone to come out before they are ready, and once you are out, it seems that you are continually having to come out every single day to new people – Click Here for some handy resources.
October is also Black History Month, and whilst its not particularly a queer topic, its an opportunity for us to highlight the contributions of Black LGBTQ+ people, which are more than often erased from history. Black people have always been at the centre of the LGBTQ+ liberation movement – think Marsha P. Johnson & Stoirme DeLarverie – to modern day activists like Monroe Bergdorf. Here is an impressive blog around “What does it mean to be black and queer?” with questions around being enough, the impacts of slavery and the lack of representation in the Black & Queer community.