Ace/Aro Con NYC 2019: Session 6: Asexual Census

This session talked about some of the challenges and findings of the Asexual Census. It is an on-line survey of around a hundred questions, and it got about 10K responses last year. Because it is online and self-selecting, this can lead to some biases: People have to have Internet access, be involved in spaces where it’s publicized, be willing and interested in sharing information, etc.

  • Asking questions a different way can change the result. For example, a radio button forces a binary choice, where there may be overlap. Multiple choice can allow for contradictory responses. Freeform text can be overwhelming and confusing.
  • Skipping the question is not the same as deliberately leaving the question blank, but adding a “None of the above” response can change things.
  • The survey is for turning people into data. It’s nice to be heard and recognized and understood, but that’s not the point.
  • There is a high number of non-binary people in the ace community, so make sure your activism includes them.
  • What’s up with the “low” number of ace men in the survey? Is that a sign that ace men can’t discover asexuality? Don’t want to take the survey? Or are ace men actually more rare?
  • Repulsed people are 3x more prevalent than favorable people, so make sure your activism includes repulsed people.
  • There is a forthcoming paper on rates of depression amongst asexuals.
  • There should be an aro census, but reaching aro people is a challenge. If you target the aro community exclusively, you’ll miss many aro-ace people who aren’t in the aro circles. If you target ace communities, you’ll be overwhelmed by aro aces and it may not be truly representative.

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