Rainbow Reminder: An LGBTQIA+ Calendar

Last Update 1/1/2021

I’ve made an ICS file containing a number of notable LGBTQIA+ events.

ICS files are compatible with most major calendar applications, including Google Calendar, Outlook, and many calendar apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac, so you should be able to download this file and import it into whatever calendar you use.

Download Calendar File or use this URL to import: http://www.asexualityarchive.com/uploadedfiles/RainbowReminder.ics It’s also a public Google Calendar that you can subscribe to with this ID: 95usjqoat80j6ro5buqku2e0a850if7d@import.calendar.google.com

This calendar currently has these events, and I am always on the watch for more.

  • One, Inc. v. Olesen Decision (1958)
  • Born This Way Released (2011)
  • Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week
  • Monica Helms (1951)
  • Bayard Rustin (1912)
  • Trans Day of Visibility
  • Lesbian Visibility Day
  • Ellen’s Coming Out Episode (1997)
  • Magnus Hirschfeld (1868)
  • International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
  • Agender Pride Day
  • Frank Kameny (1925)
  • Harvey Milk (1930)
  • Pan Visibility Day
  • Elton John (1947)
  • Sally Ride (1951)
  • Pride Month
  • Gilbert Baker (1951)
  • Pulse Night Of Remembrance
  • Bostock v. Clayton County Decision (2020)
  • Alan Turing (1912)
  • Lawrence v. Texas Decision (2003)
  • United States v. Windsor Decision (2013)
  • Obergefell v. Hodges Decision (2015)
  • Stonewall Uprising Anniversary
  • Sylvia Rivera (1951)
  • Megan Rapinoe (1985)
  • International Non-Binary People’s Day
  • Non-Binary Awareness Week
  • Civil Marriage Act (Canada 2005)
  • Barbara Gittings (1932)
  • Compton’s Cafeteria Riot Anniversary (Estimated)
  • Marsha P. Johnson (1945)
  • Daughters of Bilitis Founded (1955)
  • Will & Grace Premiered (1998)
  • Celebrate Bisexuality Day
  • Bisexual Awareness Week
  • LGBTQIA+ History Month
  • National Coming Out Day
  • Oscar Wilde (1854)
  • Sue Bird (1980)
  • YMCA Released (1978)
  • International Pronouns Day
  • Asexual Awareness Week
  • Intersex Awareness Day
  • Intersex Day of Solidarity
  • Trans Parent Day
  • Transgender Awareness Week
  • Mattachine Society Founded (1950)
  • LGBT STEM Day
  • Trans Day of Remembrance
  • World AIDS Day
  • Pan Pride Day
  • Pan Week
  • Storme DeLarverie (1920)

I have made a best effort to provide accurate dates for these events, but sometimes the information is unclear or not well defined. Also, some events may move. If you notice any dates that are wrong, please let me know.

Also, if there are any dates that I’m missing, please send them my way!

Ace Activism Opportunities

For years, asexual activism has been primarily focused on visibility and awareness. These are certainly important goals to have. You can’t do much of anything if no one knows who you are. And thanks to these efforts over the past twenty or so years, people do know who we are now. Large corporations include the ace flag in their Pride Month programs, major queer organizations will talk about Ace Week, even a fifth-term US Senator is using the “LGBTQIA+” version of the acronym now.

We’re visible now.

So what are we going to do next?

I certainly don’t want to claim that visibility work is complete and there’s no point in doing any more. Visibility and awareness continue to be worthwhile goals, and that will be the case until asexuality is as well known as the other orientations. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that visibility is just the beginning of our journey.

I’ve seen people say that they’re reluctant to get more involved in ace activism, because they don’t have a popular blog or a high follower count. This is a side effect of the hyper focus on visibility as the primary purpose of ace activism. After all, if you’re not popular, you’ve failed the visibility test, and since that’s all that matters, you can’t be a successful activist.

That attitude is wrong. On so many levels. Cast it aside and don’t even bother thanking it for its service.

Even in the visibility arena, activism can be successful at a small scale. Maybe you share one post about Ace Week, and your neighbor or your aunt or someone reads it and discovers who they are. It doesn’t require an audience of millions to make a difference.

But beyond that, there’s a vast world of activism that’s not about visibility and doesn’t use likes and subscribes as a measure of success. There’s some form of activism out there for all levels of experience and all different skill sets. And now that we’re visible, these are the things we need to be working on next.

That’s the point of this series. I want to touch on a number of post-visibility opportunities for ace activism. Some of these areas are almost entirely untapped, while others already have a number of people working on them. But all of them could use more people, doing more things. (And if you’re already doing any of these things or know someone who is, let me know and I’ll update the post to guide people in that direction.)

Also, I want to point out that although I’m largely positioning these as topics for asexual activism, many of them live in the intersection space with other kinds of activism. Notably, a lot of these topics are also going to be areas of aromantic activism or Single activism, and any work in these areas should keep those intersections in mind and strive to be inclusive where possible. I’m only focusing on the asexual aspects of these subjects because this is a series of posts on an ace-focused blog, specifically written for Ace Week.

And most importantly, these are opportunities for you, if you’re interested. I’m probably not going to be working on these, so if you don’t, no one will. You don’t have to be Important™, you don’t have to be Established™, you just have to be interested enough and driven enough to make it happen.

Ace Activism Opportunities:

Ace Activism Opportunities: Life Advice

[This is part of a series on opportunities for ace activism. See the masterpost here.]

We’re largely stumbling through life without a script.  There aren’t role models to follow, coming of age movies with Important Lessons™ about us, there’s no body of precedent for how to life a successfully asexual life.  We’re all cast upon the seas to find our own way, without even a “Good Luck!” to start us off.

How can I date if sex is off the table?

Can my marriage be saved?

I want to try sex, but I’m not sure how?

How do I deal with my nagging relatives?

What are my options for having children?

And most importantly, how in the hell do you build Ikea furniture by yourself?

There are hundreds more questions like these that aces ask every day: about relationships, about sex, about life in general.

But here’s the thing.  There are enough of us who’ve been doing this for long enough, that there have to be some procedures and practices that work and some that don’t.

We should start collecting and collating and sharing that advice.

Now, I know there’ve been some bad asexual advice sources here and there, and it’s important to avoid the pitfalls and traps that they’ve run up against.  But I think it can be done.  I’m imagining something here that’s less “We’ll answer all your questions even if we don’t know the answers”, and more lifestyle magazine “Ten tips for shopping at Costco as a singleton” type articles.

Ace Activism Opportunities: Activist Support

[This is part of a series on opportunities for ace activism. See the masterpost here.]

I’m kinda burnt out and stressed about the election and everything else and don’t feel like writing this one.

There, that thought you just had.  That one about “Yeah, I hear you” or “That sucks” or “Here’s 11 Weird Steps To Reduce Stress (You won’t believe #4!)” or whatever.  That’s exactly what this needs.

Ace activists have a high churn rate.   There’s burnout, there’s a constant deluge of hate and nonsense, there’s a sense that no one cares, there’s random people on Twitter who attack you for things they’ve flat out made up, there’s the never ending uphill climb, there’s the weight of the entire world on your shoulders because you’re the only one doing it all, there’s that other activist who you’re afraid to speak up about but you need to speak up about, there’s the going in circles forever and never getting anywhere…  And on and on and on.

That needs to be fixed.

There needs to be some support network to break the cycle of burnout.

There needs to be someplace behind the scenes for activists to talk about what’s bothering them instead of it having to be aired publicly in a Twitter war.

There needs to be encouragement that what you’re doing matters.

There needs to be a shield from the hate.

It needs to be more than just affirmational little infographics and the other stuff that people call “support”.  It needs to be something real.

Ace Activism Opportunities: Consulting

[This is part of a series on opportunities for ace activism. See the masterpost here.]

As asexuality becomes more well known, groups of all sorts will want to make sure they are adequately meeting the needs of the ace community.  There will be health care workers who will want to know what issues asexuals face.  There will be educators who will want to know how to best cover asexuality in their lesson plan.  There will be people making cartoons about talking horses who want to make sure that a character’s discovery of asexuality rings true.  There will be lawmakers and lobbyists who want to make sure their new bills are inclusive.  There will be HR directors who’ll want to make sure their corporate policies are ace friendly.  There will be large queer organizations who want to ensure that asexuality is addressed in their programming from top to bottom.

Right now, these requests tend to go to whoever is the most visible.  And the most visible person isn’t necessarily the best person for the job.  Sometimes it’s not what they’re interested in doing at all.  Sometimes they’re woefully unprepared for some of the issues that become important as they move further away from their typical zone of influence.  And sometimes, they’re just way too busy.

I think there’s room for a group of consultants around asexual matters.  People who have a clear grasp about the issues and can help translate what’s relevant for an external audience to integrate in their work.  I think this sort of work could be an offshoot of a lot of the other opportunities I’ve already mentioned.  I also think that this has a possibility of being a paid gig.  People doing this would be providing a service and should be compensated.  Maybe this is an independent group, but I can also imagine this work being done within larger organizations, perhaps as some sort of “Director of Aromantic and Asexual Affairs” within some major queer advocacy org.

Ace Activism Opportunities: Offline Community Organizing

[This is part of a series on opportunities for ace activism. See the masterpost here.]

For most of the other topics, I’ve talked about things that aren’t really happening to a wide extent.  This is just the opposite.  There’s offline ace organizing happening all over the place.  Aces & Aros has a list of over a hundred groups doing this.

So why have I included it on this list?

Because there can always be more.

If you look at the map on Aces & Aros, there are huge areas that are vacant.  There are aces in those empty spots, but no active local community or local resources for them.  And even in areas with a strong local group, there is always room for more people.  In the Seattle area, for example, most of our meetups are in the city itself, which is inconvenient or even impossible for people further out in the suburbs and surrounding areas.  We’d benefit from hyper local organizers starting things in Everett or Bellevue or Bremerton or wherever.

Offline community organizing can take many forms.  Hosting meetups.  Being a mentor for a local school’s GSA.  Organizing a Pride Parade contingent.  Giving Asexuality 101 presentations at the library.  And so on.

The benefits are uncountable.  Basically every ace group I’ve ever been in has had people who’ve never met another asexual in person.  Every time there’s a Pride Parade, there will be people who’ll turn out later, saying that’s how they learned that asexuality exists.  And more than once, I’ve heard someone who’s moving wonder if there’s an ace group in the area they’re moving to, because they need the community support.

Having a strong offline presence can enable other forms of activism, too.  Local activists have reached out to state governments to get recognition of Ace Week.  Local activists have been contacted by television producers to help shape their portrayal of asexual characters.  Local activists have worked to get asexuality included in sex ed programs at schools.  And as we move forward, we’ll need local activists to push for things like legislative changes.

Existing Projects:

Ace Activism Opportunities: Access To Sexual Things

Content warning:  This one talks about sex & stuff.

[This is part of a series on opportunities for ace activism. See the masterpost here.]

So, this topic is admittedly a weird one, and it’s one of the more nebulous subjects I’m covering in these posts.  I don’t really know what the problem here looks like, exactly, but it’s something I’ve seen come up here and there. Or maybe it’s that the problem is clear, but I don’t have a sense of what solutions would look like?  I’m not even sure what I should call this topic…

So anyway, the general idea of this problem is that there are a number of aces who are interested in doing sexual things of some kind, but don’t really have a way to approach or navigate that world.  The standard ways and the common advice don’t always work here.

How do you safely find someone who will accept your level of interest or disinterest and respect your boundaries when you might not even know what those boundaries are yourself?  How can you find someone willing to take part in a “test drive” or be willing to follow a strictly scripted scenario?  Things like one night stands or hook-up apps are largely built around the premise that all parties involved have a generally equivalent desire to proceed with at least a common baseline of activities, and refusing to take part is sort of a breach of etiquette.

Or there are aces who really enjoy sex of all forms, but who don’t do the romantic relationship thing, but also don’t feel comfortable with the fling with a stranger thing, either.

I have seen many aces who are into nonsexual kink, but haven’t the faintest idea how to approach getting into in-person activities.  They’ll often get blindly directed towards websites that aren’t an exact fit, and left without support.

I’ve seen complaints from people who are super interested in buying sex toys or kink gear, but are super turned off by all the other stuff they have to wade past in stores that sell it, whether online or not.

So much of the language used when talking about sex can be completely alien to many aces.  That ranges from basic instructions to advanced tips, from toy reviews to relationship advice.  Even just talking about what something is like can be wrapped in words and phrases that have no meaning.

There are even asexual sex workers out there.

And on top of all of this, there’s a cascading crush of stigmas and misconceptions and expectations that all slam down on asexual people who might be interested in sexual things.  You’ve got the puritan side, which says that sex is bad, so you’re bad if you’re interested.  You’ve got the free love side that sex is good, so you’re bad if you’re not interested enough.  You’ve got the non-aces who think that an asexual person who has sex disproves the entire premise of asexuality, and you’ve got the ace people themselves who think that they’re making all asexuals look bad by having sex.  And so on and so on.

Anyway, all of this is to say that there a problem here.  Probably a number of problems here.  And I don’t have the foggiest idea how to tackle them.  (Ace meetup group field trip to a sex club?  Cherry 2000 style sex robots?    Legalized/decriminalized/destigmatized prostitution with an a la carte menu?  I don’t know.  All my ideas sound like plot starters for bad movies.)  But it’s clear to me that there is room here for some ace activists to start dismantling and reshaping this area, to build spaces or come up with best practices on how to approach it.

Existing Projects:

Ace Activism Opportunities: Targeted Outreach

[This is part of a series on opportunities for ace activism. See the masterpost here.]

For years, the focus of asexual activism has been around visibility and awareness.  There’s been a lot of progress on that front, but it also feels like it’s a lot of just talking to each other.  If you’re not in the right circles, it can still be difficult to discover asexuality.  People who don’t know asexuality is a thing typically aren’t following ace activist Twitter feeds.  And not everyone is surrounded by Zoomers who are In The Know about All Things Queer.  Asexuality is still an invisible orientation for so many people.

So perhaps it’s time to work on more specifically reaching out to underrepresented population segments in our community, to find those missing aces where they are, instead of waiting for them to find us.

Reach out to BIPOC communities.

Talk to 40-somethings or give a presentation for a senior center.

Embark on an epic quest to uncover the lost city of ace men.

Find all the people who are still lost and broken because society has never shown them an alternative and bring them to us.

Each group will need a different approach.  An Instagram infographic probably isn’t the best way to reach that 50 year old HR director, but an article in her celebrity gossip magazine might be.  Compared to what we’ve done before, this sort of work requires a shift in technique.  Someone needs to blaze that trail.

Ace Activism Opportunities: Legal Inclusion

[This is part of a series on opportunities for ace activism. See the masterpost here.]

Right now, asexuality is mostly unrecognized in the legal world.  In the US, only one state and only a handful of cities include explicit protection for ace people, and I’m not aware of the situation being any better elsewhere.  There are countless laws and practices which unfairly affect ace and aro people.

So far, there has been little activism devoted to the area of legislation.  In NYC, an ace lawyer helped author the explicitly ace-inclusive wording in that city’s Human Rights Law.  There have been a handful of states where there have been symbolically meaningful, but legally meaningless proclamations where state governors have recognized Ace Week.  And that’s about it.  This is a huge area, with lots of opportunities for activists to make a difference.

One area that leaps to mind is anti-discrimination law.  Federal Law does not explicitly cover sexual orientation at all.  In states where there are anti-discrimination laws that do cover sexual orientation, most of them explicitly define sexual orientation in a way that excludes asexuality.  (Only New York state explicitly includes it.)  Asexuality is included in only a couple of city ordinances.

There is currently an effort underway to change the definition of sexual orientation in a proposed bill that will several federal anti-discrimination laws in the US.  This is the first concerted effort of ace/aro political activism that I’m aware of.

But anti-discrimination law is just one piece of what needs to change.  There are consummation laws that may require having sex for a marriage to be considered valid.  Immigration interviews will ask extremely personal questions about bedroom arrangements. Asexual people are often targeted by conversion therapy.  Tax law gives a discount to married people. Hate crime laws may not cover crimes against us.  Inheritance law prefers spouses or blood relatives over “unofficial” life partners.  Single people may be treated differently in health care situations.  Many of these issues are not specifically “asexual” issues, but they will disproportionately impact asexual people.  And this is just a subset of what can be worked on.

And legislation is just one way to change things.  There are regulatory agencies or commissions who will set rules.  There are court cases which will interpret laws and set precedent.  Some of the most important civil rights victories have come through these avenues.  Working with regulatory agencies would be a similar process to lobbying a congressional representative about a bill, but court cases would require plaintiffs or defendants, lawyers willing to take on the case, and likely a lot of money and a lot of time.

This is also an area that needs raw numbers of activists working on things.  Changing a state law will require dedicated people working toward that goal in each state, so that’s at least 50 people if you want to make a difference everywhere.  Changing a municipal code would require someone local to attend city council meetings, so now you’re talking about hundreds and thousands of people putting in the work.

These efforts would benefit greatly from the networking mentioned in a different post.  If we coordinate our work with people who are already connected to the right people and who are already working on a similar area, then we have a greater chance of success.  We need a network of ace politicians, ace lobbyists, and ace lawyers.

Existing Projects:

Ace Activism Opportunities: Asexual History

[This is part of a series on opportunities for ace activism. See the masterpost here.]

Asexual history is always a popular topic.  People thrive on scraps of information that show that asexuality existed before 2001.  Someone tweets a picture from a feminist conference in the 70’s or talks about a Dear Abby column from the 90’s and everyone gets excited.

And then the tweet falls victim to the timeline and the blog post gets forgotten.

And six months later…

Have you seen this Dear Abby column from the 90’s?

There is a significant effort that goes into rediscovering things that have already been found, because there’s nothing that’s keeping track of what’s already been known.  Writing about ace history tends to be transient.  Every couple of months, someone starts a new Ace History blog to great fanfare, but like most blogs, they lose interest after a handful of posts and all their work disappears.  Once in a great while, someone makes a new important discovery, but if you’re not a follower of the right Twitter account or sitting in the right Unconference session, you may never hear about it.

We need something more permanent.  Something that will catalog and categorize and contextualize all these findings.  At a minimum, this is just a bibliography, but ideally it will be so much more.  I want to see commentary about how it connects threads to other pieces across time or about how it says “asexual”, but they didn’t mean the word like we do.  I want to see interviews with the people who were there.  I want to see profiles of potential and confirmed aces, whether real or fictional.  Maybe it’s a website.  Maybe it’s a book.  Maybe it’s a wiki.  Maybe it’s a physical storage unit full of records and ephemera that turns into a museum exhibit some day.

And there’s also a sense that asexual “history” means anything prior to the founding of AVEN.  That’s not where asexual history stops.  Asexual history flows through the meetup groups, the conferences, the parade contingents, the published papers and books and articles, the flags and symbols, the documentaries, the laws that have included protections for asexual people, the TV show characters, the ceremonial proclamations recognizing Ace Week… 

Ace history is happening now.

We owe it to the future to keep a record of what’s going on, what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it.  Even things that happened just a few years ago are being lost, as blogs get deleted and people hiding behind Internet pseudonyms vanish.

Existing Projects: