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: 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:

Ace Activism Opportunities: Networking Outside The Community

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

One of the other opportunities was largely about networking and communication and coordination inside the community, but we also need strong connections with organizations that aren’t strictly ace focused.  We can support their efforts, then be able to call on them to back us when we need it.  We can get a seat at the table and be a part of the conversation, instead of being an afterthought or a footnote.

We need to connect with other queer groups, from local community centers and pride festival organizers to national and international groups like GLAAD and the HRC.  

We need to connect with organizations like the AMA and APA and local doctors and therapists to transform health care.

We need to connect with lawyers and lobbyists and politicians to change laws.

We need to connect with publishers and producers to ensure accurate representation in media.

We need to connect with singles rights activists and childfree activists and poly activists and others who are working to redefine what “valid” lives and relationships are.

We need to connect with schools and teacher associations and groups creating sex ed curricula to ensure that asexuality is adequately and accurately covered and that everyone has what they need to support ace students.

We need to connect with journalists so they’ll have the right people to talk to the next time they need to write an article that touches on asexuality and so we’ll have people to feed press releases when we want to get the word out about something.

These are just some of the areas where we need to grow our connections.

Places With Ace-Inclusive Laws

This is a quick look at some US cities which have ordinances which include asexuality and a brief description of what they say and what they cover. This is not meant to be a comprehensive look at every city everywhere.

Previously, it was thought that only a handful of places (most notably NYC, San Antonio, and Albany) had ace-inclusive laws on the books. But apparently no one bothered taking a step back and looking wider to try to see just how many cities and counties had them. I just did that and whoa nelly holy crow, there’s a lot more than I imagined. Here are just a few of them

(I have tried to include a date for when asexuality was included, but it is not always apparent or confirmable. Uncertain dates have a question mark.)

Albany, NY

General anti-discrimination law.

The term “sexual orientation” includes actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, asexuality and bisexuality.

https://ecode360.com/7680357

Anchorage, AK

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2015.

Sexual orientation means actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality.

https://library.municode.com/ak/anchorage/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT5EQRI_CH5.20UNDIPR_5.20.010DE

Columbia, MO

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2018.

Conversion therapy ban. Added 2019.

Sexual orientation. The preference or practice of homosexuality, heterosexuality, asexuality, and bisexuality, or some combination thereof, by consenting adults, or as perceived by others, but not including sexual preference or practice between an adult and a minor.

Shared definition:

https://library.municode.com/mo/columbia/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH12HURE_ARTIIIDIPR_DIV1GE_S12-32DE

https://library.municode.com/mo/columbia/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH16OFMIPR_ARTIICOOF_DIV10OFAGPE_S16-146COTHMIPR

Decatur, GA

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2019?

Sexual orientation means an individual’s actual or perceived orientation as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual or asexual.

https://library.municode.com/ga/decatur/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIIICOOR_CH22BU_ARTIXUNDI_S22-240DE

Denver, CO

Conversion therapy ban. Added 2019?

Sexual orientation means a component of identity that includes a person’s sexual and emotional attraction to another person and the behavior and/or social affiliation that may result from this attraction. A person may be attracted to men, women, both, neither, or to people who are genderqueer, androgynous, or have other gender identities. Individuals may identify as lesbian, gay, heterosexual, bisexual, queer, pansexual, or asexual, among others.

https://library.municode.com/co/denver/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TITIIREMUCO_CH28HURI_ARTIXPRCOTH_S28-256DE

Galveston, TX

Fair housing law. Added 2016.

Sexual orientation means an individual’s real orientation or orientation perceived by another as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual.

https://library.municode.com/tx/galveston/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOCI_CH12.5FAHO_S12.5-2DETE

Idaho Falls, ID

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2020.

Sexual Orientation. Actual or perceived romantic, emotional, or sexual attraction or activity, including homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality.

https://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/DocumentCenter/View/169/Chapter-11—Non-discriminationPDF

Juneau, AK

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2016.

Sexual orientation means actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality.

https://library.municode.com/ak/juneau/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_TIT41EQRI_CH41.05EQRI_41.05.045DE

Kansas City, MO

Conversion therapy ban. Added 2019.

Sexual orientation means the preference or practice of homosexuality, heterosexuality, asexuality, and bisexuality, or some combination thereof, by consenting adults, or as perceived by others, but not including sexual preference or practice between an adult and a minor.

https://library.municode.com/mo/kansas_city/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COORKAMIVOII_CH50OFMIPR_ARTVIIMI_S50-234COTHMIPR

Lansing, MI

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2006 or 2016?

Sexual orientation: A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted; the state of being heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual.

https://library.municode.com/mi/lansing/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_PT2ADCO_TIT12CIRI_CH297HURI_297.02DE

Middletown Township (Bucks County), PA

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2020

Notable for explicit aromantic inclusion! The first instance of it I’ve found anywhere.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION – actual or perceived sexual and/or romantic attraction and/or feelings toward other individuals. The term includes, but is not limited to, individuals who are heterosexual, homosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, asexual, aromantic, and/or questioning.

https://ecode360.com/MI2390/laws/LF1214558.pdf

Minneapolis, MN

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2019

Sexual orientation: A component of identity that includes a person’s sexual and emotional attraction to another person and the behavior and/or social affiliation that may result from this attraction. A person may be attracted to men, women, both, neither, and/or to people who are genderqueer, androgynous, or have other gender identities. Individuals may identify as lesbian, gay, heterosexual, bisexual, queer, pansexual, or asexual, among others.

https://library.municode.com/mn/minneapolis/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_TIT7CIRI_CH139INGE_139.20DE

Newtown Township (Bucks County), PA

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2018

Notable for explicit aromantic inclusion! From 2018, this is the earliest instance of it I’ve found anywhere.

SEXUAL ORIENTATIONActual or perceived sexual and/or romantic attraction and/or feelings toward other individuals. The term includes, but is not limited to, individuals who are heterosexual, homosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, asexual, aromantic and/or questioning.

https://ecode360.com/33875506#33875502

New York, NY

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2018.

Sexual orientation. The term “sexual orientation” means an individual’s actual or perceived romantic, physical or sexual attraction to other persons, or lack thereof, on the basis of gender. A continuum of sexual orientation exists and includes, but is not limited to, heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality and pansexuality.

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/law/chapter-1.page#8-102

Palm Beach County, FL

Fair Housing & Public Accommodation Law Added 2019.

Equal Employment Law Added 2017?

Sexual orientation means heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived.

Common definition:

https://library.municode.com/fl/palm_beach_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PABECOCO_CH15HURI_ARTIIIHOPLPUAC_S15-37DE

https://library.municode.com/fl/palm_beach_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PABECOCO_CH2AD_ARTVIEQEM_DIV1GE_S2-263DE

Richmond, CA

Health equity law. Added 2015.

These communities include, but are not limited to women, people of color, low-income individuals and families, individuals who have been incarcerated, individuals with disabilities, individuals with mental health conditions, children, youth and young adults, seniors, immigrants and refugees, individuals who are limited-English proficient (LEP), and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) communities, or combinations of these populations.

https://library.municode.com/ca/richmond/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=ARTIXHE_CH9.15HEALPO_9.15.020DE

Rochester, NY

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2001?

SEXUAL ORIENTATION Homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived.

https://ecode360.com/8676662#8676662

San Antonio, TX

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2013

Sexual orientation means an individual’s real orientation or orientation perceived by another as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual.

https://library.municode.com/tx/san_antonio/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICO_CH2AD_ARTXNSCPO

Volusia County, FL

General anti-discrimination law. Added 2011?

Sexual orientation shall mean an individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality.

https://library.municode.com/fl/volusia_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH36CIRI_ARTIINGE_S36-2DE


(Sourcing note: You’ll notice that most of these are from a site called “municode”. That’s a service that allows municipalities to publish their laws and codes on the Internet. These were found by doing a general web search for “municode asexual” and digging through the results. It is likely that the Municode wide search product would turn up more results. It is also likely that the same approach could be taken with other municipal code repositories to find more. I have selected the locations I have heard of. There are many more which were not familiar to me which I did not include.)

(Correction: An earlier version incorrectly identified Middletown Township, Bucks County, PA, as just Middletown, PA, which is apparently a different place. Sorry about that. I bet you get that all the time.)

Let’s Fix The Equality Act

Last year, I wrote a couple of things about the law and how it relates to asexuality and aromanticism. Spoiler alert: Asexuality and aromanticism are left out of anti-discrimination laws pretty much everywhere.

One particularly notable example of this is the federal Equality Act, an update to the Civil Rights Act to make sexual orientation and gender identity explicitly covered by its protections. While the recent decision in the Bostock case sets a good precedent that can be applied in many other areas (including potentially the rest of the Civil Rights Act), there is still a need to codify it into law so there’s no wiggle room or space for interpretation or opportunity for a future court to simply change their minds.

The problem with the Equality Act is that it defines “sexual orientation” as specifically “homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.” This is an outdated and limited definition, which does not cover the full diversity of orientations that we recognize today. Aros and aces are left in the cold, along with pansexual people and others.

So let’s fix that.

We need to get ahead of the problem and update that language to close that loophole, before it can be exploited. I’m proposing language based on the New York City Human Rights Law (NYC Admin. Code, Title 8, Chapter 1, Section 102):

“The term ‘sexual orientation’ means an individual’s actual or perceived romantic, emotional, physical or sexual attraction to other persons, or lack thereof, on the basis of gender. A continuum of sexual orientation exists and includes, but is not limited to, heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, pansexuality, and aromanticism.”

This language recognizes attraction types beyond just sexual attraction. It also protects people who lack attraction of any particular type. And it explicitly includes asexual, pansexual, and aromantic people. The original NYC law did cover a lack of romantic attraction, but did not explicitly mention aromanticism at all.

However, I recognize that this is an imperfect definition, combining multiple types of attraction all under the umbrella of “sexual orientation”. I’m proposing this purely as a pragmatic measure:

  1. The existing language of the Equality Act is specifically mentioning “sexual orientation” in many places.  To change that language would involve a large scale rewrite of the bill, and it feels like that would be a harder effort to get passed, as well as just be harder to explain to people who aren’t versed in the nuance.
  2. This is essentially the language used in the existing NYC law, so it provides a precedent.  An imperfect precedent, but a precedent nonetheless.

What Can You Do?

On this page are some tools to help you write to Congress about it as well as reach out to large queer organizations to help get them on board. There are also some graphics you can share. But the most important thing you can do is spread the word. Make some noise. No one will do anything if they don’t know there’s something that needs to be done.

Letter to Congress

The following letter is a sample letter to your congressional representatives, if your representatives are supporters of the bill: House | Senate. (If they’re not a supporter, it’s probably not worth sending this letter, but it might be worth sending a different one urging them to support it.) You can fill in the blanks, and just send it off, but I urge you to personalize it in some way, especially if you live in their district.

Dear [Insert Congressional Name Here]:

I want to thank you for supporting the Equality Act. This is an important bill which will be a huge step along our path to justice for all in our country. Here’s hoping that we’ll be in a position to get it passed and signed next year!

Unfortunately, the act does not protect everyone it should. The definition of “sexual orientation” that it uses is outdated and limited, and excludes a large number of people are aromantic, pansexual, or asexual, among other orientations. I am one of the people this language leaves behind. I ask that you work to update this language to reflect the wide diversity of orientations that we recognize today and into the future.

To that end, I propose this more inclusive definition for “sexual orientation”, based on the language found in the New York City Administrative code (Title 8, Chapter 1, Section 102: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/law/chapter-1.page#8-102), with a few alterations:

“The term ‘sexual orientation’ means an individual’s actual or perceived romantic, emotional, physical or sexual attraction to other persons, or lack thereof, on the basis of gender. A continuum of sexual orientation exists and includes, but is not limited to, heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, pansexuality, and aromanticism.”

I hope that you are able to work with your colleagues to fix the Equality Act.

Thank you,
[Insert Constituent Name Here]

Letter to LGBTQIA+ Groups

This letter is for queer organizations who have the clout to help push Congress for a more inclusive Equality Act.

Dear [Group]:

I want to thank your organization for supporting the Equality Act. This is an important bill which will be a huge step along our path to justice for all in our country. Here’s hoping that we’ll be in a position to get it passed and signed next year!

Unfortunately, the act does not protect everyone it should. The definition of “sexual orientation” that it uses is outdated and limited, and excludes a large number of people are aromantic, pansexual, or asexual, among other orientations. I am one of the people this language leaves behind. I ask that your organization work with Congress to update this language to reflect the wide diversity of orientations that we recognize today and into the future.

To that end, I propose this more inclusive definition for “sexual orientation”, based on the language found in the New York City Administrative code (Title 8, Chapter 1, Section 102: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/law/chapter-1.page#8-102), with a few alterations:

“The term ‘sexual orientation’ means an individual’s actual or perceived romantic, emotional, physical or sexual attraction to other persons, or lack thereof, on the basis of gender. A continuum of sexual orientation exists and includes, but is not limited to, heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, pansexuality, and aromanticism.”

I hope that you are able to work with your Congress and your fellow LGBTQIA+ groups to fix the Equality Act.

Thank you,
[Insert Name Here]

Slogans and Hashtags

What kind of activism can be done without snappy slogans and hashtags? So here’s a few suggestions:

  • #FixTheEqualityAct
  • The Equality Act doesn’t include me.
  • I’m not equal under the Equality Act.
  • Fix the Equality Act. Include [Asexual People/Aromantic People/Pansexual People]
  • “Equality” means all of us. Fix the Equality Act so it covers [Aros/Pan People/Aces].

Images

Here are some images to share. They don’t have a lot of context, so you probably want to include information about what the Equality Act is and what needs to be fixed about it in the caption.

Closing Notes

I don’t have to be the only person pushing for this.  I don’t want to be the only person pushing for this.  I have no in, no clout, no magic secret to getting the law changed.  It’s not “What I say goes”, so please, if you have language that you prefer, please push for that!  It doesn’t really matter that we’re all going with exactly the same message, the point is that we’re all pulling in the same general direction.

My take is that the language I’m suggesting here is “close enough for government work” (literally…).  The goal here is to include the protection, rather than pass a Queer Theory exam.  I don’t want to make the perfect the enemy of the good.