UEA has embarked upon a campaign in support of asexuality and aromanticism for the second consecutive year.
Monday 17th October heralds a week of activities and events organised by UEA Pride in collaboration with the Union of UEA Students, in aid of raising “awareness and pride” for asexual and aromantic people alike (UEA Campaigns twitter).
Asexuality is defined as “someone who does not experience sexual attraction” (whatisasexuality.com), whereas aromantic refers to people who experience “little or no romantic attraction to others” (asexuality.org).
Whilst last year’s campaign focused solely on asexuality, this year it has grown to encompass aromanticism in a bid to be more applicable to all individuals on the asexuality spectrum. Eliott Simpson, one of the students in charge of organising the week, felt this inclusion was especially important for the campaign’s evolution, and the legitimacy of dedication to raising awareness.
““It’s expanded it, it’s created more room for understanding, learning, and just kind of brought in more and more different types of people, and just really extending the amount of knowledge to be learnt.”
“The aim is to have almost everyone on campus become aware of asexuality and aromanticism is. Not just to become aware of it, to actually want to understand it more, want to be interested and want to discuss it more, to expand discussion and understanding. We want people to be proud, as well, that they are Ace and Aro, want to celebrate it and make it known that it is a key part of pride.”
UEA are not alone in attempting to create a more accepting and educated university experience for all of its students and staff. According to Eliott, AceAro campaigns are gaining traction nationwide.
“Other universities are doing it. I believe the university of York has been doing it for four years, Leeds have been doing it for three years. We’ve only just started last year, but it slowly is growing and more and more universities across the country are doing it.”
The dedication to this growth can be seen in the sheer number of events the campaign has packed into the week: from bake sales to book sales, zine workshops to film screenings, even panels with guest speakers from around the country, all demonstrating a focus on showcasing the lives of asexual and aromantic people.
One speaker, George Newman, from the Movement for Asexuality Awareness, Protection, Learning and Equality, or Maaple, praised the efforts of campaigns like this one, whilst warning there is still more to be done.
“So a lot of asexual and aromantic campaigns are about awareness and all that and that’s all great, but it’s about taking it beyond that and talking about political stuff… the kind of causes that asexual people need. So things like comprehensive sex and relationship education…”
“I think [university campaigns] are slowly having an impact, and that awareness is doing great stuff. It’s about building that awareness into pressure, which I think is the next challenge.”
It is clear campaigns like these are just the beginning in the efforts to have asexuality and aromanticism recognised and respected nationwide. However, UEA AceAro shows all the signs that it is a movement dedicated to bringing about this change.
Tuesday 18th – 18:00-20:00 Film Screening “Taking the Cake”, “The 4th Sexuality”, “Rated X” and a preview of “Bows and Aros”
Wednesday 19th – 13:00-14:30 Zine Workshop hosted by Eggbox Publishing Society
Thursday 20th – 18:00-19:30 Ace/Aro Book Swap
Friday 21st – 17:00-18:00 Ace/Aro Discussion Panel, hosted by Eliott Simpson
Friday 21st – 18:30-19:30 Ace/Aro Safe Space
For more information visit:
or search UEA AceAro on Facebook