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Acephobia covers negative attitudes, behaviours, and feelings toward asexuality or people who are identify as part of the asexual spectrum.[1][2][3][4] Characterisations of acephobia include (but are not limited to) dehumanisation, the belief that asexuality is a mental illness or that asexuals cannot experience love and have relationships, refusal to accept asexuality as a genuine sexual orientation, and asexuality being considered a choice instead of a sexual orientation (asexuality is sometimes confused with celibacy). Although less widely recognised than other phobias based on sexual orientation, acephobia offences are considered anti-asexual hate crimes. Asexual people have also been known to face greater amounts of prejudice and discrimination that those of other sexual minorities.

There have been efforts to combat acephobia through legislation and awareness programmes.[5][6]


The LGBT+ anti-violence charity Galop classifies acephobia as an anti-asexual hate crime.[7] Behaviours and attitudes that are considered acephobic include the idea that asexuality is a mental illness, that asexuality is a phase or a choice, the idea that asexual people cannot feel love, and those that make asexual people feel dehumanised.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] Acephobia flavours experienced can depend on other parts of one's identity.[14]

One study found that asexual people are the most dehumanised of all sexual minorities,[7][15][16] and also that asexuals can face even more prejudice that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.[17] Asexuals have also been known to have been subjected to corrective rape.[7][18][19][20]

Some, such as sociologist Mark Carrigan believe that asexual discrimination is more to do with marginalisation rather than acephobia, and that a lot of it is a result of a lack of understanding and awareness of asexuality.[21][22] There is also controversy over the inclusion of asexuality in the LGBT and queer umbrellas, with some believing that asexuals do not experience oppression and are encroaching on the LGBT community.[7][23]

Institutionalised acephobia[edit]

In some jurisdictions, marriages can be voided if not legitimised by consummation.[24] This has been viewed as discriminatory to asexuals.[25] Sex education programmes in schools have also been known to discriminate against asexuals.[20]

Social acephobia[edit]

Acephobia is alleged to have been widespread on YouTube round 2010, with some claiming that heterosexuality is the default sexuality or that asexuals are in fact homosexuals in denial.[20][10][26]

Anti-acephobia endeavours[edit]

In New York, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act categorises asexuals as a protected class.[27]

The Asexual Visibility and Education Network is an organisation founded in 2001 by David Jay, and aims to raise awareness of asexuality,[28] including by getting it discussed in schools to discourage acephobic attitudes.[8] The Asexual Awareness Week is an organised event formed by Sarah Beth Brooks in 2010, also with the aim of raising asexual awareness and dispelling misconceptions about it.[10] There have been attempts to increase awareness of asexuality and acephobia in universities.[29]

In 2015, United Kingdom Labour Party parliamentary candidate George Norman called for Parliament to add asexuality to equality legislation, and to recognise that one per cent of the UK's electorate are asexual.[17]


  1. Nicole Wiesenthal (Autumn 2014). "Glossary of Asexual Terms". The Mirror. Vol. 3 no. 3. p. 19. Acephobia - prejudice or discrimination against asexual-spectrum people.
  2. Joshua Glenn Parmenter (August 2018). "The Culture of Sexuality: Identification, Conceptualization, and Acculturation Processes Within Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Cultures". Utah State University. p. 96. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  3. "ASEXUALITY+ and so much more!" (PDF). Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife. January 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  4. Amanda Boström. "The Rise Of Ace As A Descriptor" (PDF). Göteborgs Universitet. p. 2. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  5. "LGBTQrazy: A is for…". The Brunswickan (University of New Brunswick). Vol. 147 no. 7. 17 October 2013. p. 10. It’s important to talk about asexuality because it’s often an overlooked sexual identity, and acephobia – discrimination against asexual people – is experienced by many asexual people.
  6. Joelle Ruby Ryan, "On Being Asexual and Transgender: Notes on Identity, Visibility, and Empowerment", in Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender (ed. Laura Erickson-Schroth), Oxford University Press (2014), ISBN 9780199325368 Search this book on Logo.png., page 367 "I now give asexual workshops, screen the film (A)sexual with a postfilm discussion, and try to have conversations with my friends and colleagues about asexual identity and acephobia
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 "Acephobia & Anti-asexual hate crime". Galop. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Joe Morgan (30 March 2015). "Here are the 11 biggest asexual myths busted". Gay Star News. London. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  9. "Let's Talk About Pride! How To Make Intersectional Spaces At Pride". ComicsVerse. 19 June 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Robyn Exton (14 November 2016). "Aces Show Their Hand - What Is Asexuality And Why You Should Know About It". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  11. Giovanni Gottardo (11 September 2018). "Aphobia: Prejudices and Discrimination Against Asexuality". IL Grande Colibrì. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  12. Libby Baxter-Williams (28 October 2016). "A Day in the Life of a Bi Asexual". Biscuit. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  13. Elizabeth Hanna Hanson (2013). "Making Something Out of Nothing: Asexuality and Narrative". Loyola University Chicago. p. 83. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  14. Harrad, Kate, ed. (2016). Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain. Thorntree Press LLC. ISBN 9780996460170. Search this book on Logo.png
  15. Gordon Hodson (1 September 2012). "Prejudice Against "Group X" (Asexuals)". Psycology Today. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  16. Cara C. MacInnis; Gordon Hodson (24 April 2012). "Intergroup bias toward "Group X": Evidence of prejudice, dehumanization, avoidance, and discrimination against asexuals" (PDF). Sage Publications. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Jack Gevertz (28 April 2015). ""Parliament doesn't recognise my sexuality": Britain's first openly asexual candidate, George Norman, speaks to Vision". York Vision. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  18. Christopher Eskilson (26 October 2016). "Let Us Eat Cake: The Importance of Asexual Awareness Week". The Student Life. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  19. Dominique Mosbergen (20 June 2013). "Battling Asexual Discrimination, Sexual Violence And 'Corrective' Rape". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Ren Drincic (15 November 2017). "Acephobia, Allosexuality, and What it Means to be Queer". Medium. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  21. Lucy Wallis (17 January 2012). "What is it like to be asexual?". BBC News. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  22. Maddie Wright (26 October 2017). "Asexual students on identity, experiences of intolerance". The Rocky Mountain Collegian. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  23. Dominique Mosbergen (21 June 2013). "LGBT, Asexual Communities Clash Over Ace Inclusion". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  24. Elizabeth F. Emens (2014). "Compulsory Sexuality". Columbia University. p. 351. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  25. Sally Goldfarb (2016). "Divorcing Marriage from Sex: Radically Rethinking the Role of Sex in Marriage Law in the United States". p. 20. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  26. Nicole Wiesenthal (Autumn 2014). "Glossary of Asexual Terms". The Mirror. Vol. 3 no. 3. p. 19. Closely linked to homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and acephobia"
  27. "The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act ("SONDA")". Office of the Attorney General. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  28. JohnThomas Didymus (27 April 2013). "Asexual Visibility and Education Network marks Asexuality Day". Digital Journal. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  29. Erickson-Schroth, Laura, ed. (12 May 2014). Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community. Oxford University Press. p. 367. ISBN 9780199325368. Retrieved 30 November 2018. Search this book on Logo.png

External links[edit]

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