Events raise awareness in asexual and intersex communities – Daily Sundial

The week of October 23 was dedicated to two periods of LGBTQ awareness: Asexual Awareness Week and Intersex Awareness Day. The former, also known as “Ace Week,” occurs every last full week of October, while the latter is observed every October 26.

“Experts estimate that up to 1.7 percent of the population is born with intersex traits,” according to The United Nations Website of the High Commissioner’s Office for Human Rights. A study by The Asexual Visibility & Education Network stated that 1% of the world population identifies as asexual.

Intersex is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of sexual and reproductive traits that do not fall into the medical binary. Asexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person feels little or no sexual attraction.

Intersex and asexual are usually the sixth and seventh letters of the “LGBTQIA” acronym. For reference, the first five letters stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning.

Advocacy group InterACT said intersex differs from the rest of the letters because it refers to sexual and reproductive anatomy rather than sexual orientation and gender identity.

Asexuality and intersex have their own sets of misconceptions. CSUN queer studies professor Robert Doyle said asexuality is not as well known or understood as other sexualities. In some cases, many people may confuse celibacy with asexuality; however, the first is an option and the other is not.

Doyle said that limited understanding of intersex and asexual people can lead to misconceptions and even cause harmful results for both groups. It could lead to medical or psychological misdiagnosis, further marginalization and stereotyping, and even physical and psychological abuse.

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“Misconceptions breed ignorance,” Doyle said. “This is dangerous on any level. It is particularly worrying for vulnerable and marginalized groups in the queer community.”

The queer studies professor explained that both groups of people face detrimental challenges.

Intersex is a natural occurrence, but some medical practices treat it as a condition, according to Doyle. He said it’s common for parents of intersex children to consent to genital surgery on their babies and give them hormones to pass them off as male or female. Asexual people, on the other hand, face social pressures to engage in sexual activity, which can lead to interpersonal conflict, according to Doyle.

Intersex and asexuality have a recorded literary history dating back more than a century. The sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld had the first published interpretations of asexuality in his 1896 book “Sappho und Sokrates”. He called people without any sexual desire “sexual anesthesia.”

the kinsey scale, a sexual orientation rating scale from the 1940s, developed the current understanding of asexuality. Ratings on the scale ranged from zero to six, ranging from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual. Asexuality was listed as an “X,” meaning “no sociosexual contacts or reactions.”

The Oxford English Dictionary noted that the word “intersex” has been around since the late 18th century. Geneticist Richard Goldschmidt is attributed to him for coining the terms “intersex” and “intersex” in the way we think of it today. Before that, it used to mean relationships “between the sexes.”

Doyle explained that the queer community encompasses all “those who do not conform to socially conditioned gender norms,” ​​including asexual and intersex people. He believed that awareness periods for both of you can help build support.

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“It’s important to raise awareness about asexuality and intersex so that we can change misconceptions and avoid harming people,” Doyle said. “And ultimately support these vital members of the LGBTQIA+ community.”