Before the parade yesterday, a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle spent quite a bit of time talking to members of our group. I wondered if we would appear in his article, and we did. You can read the whole thing here. These are the AVEN-related passages:
"I'm a guy at work, but 80 percent of my free time I'm female," Rose said. "Gays and lesbians are fighting for the same things, but they're a little bit ahead of us."
Perhaps even further behind in recognition were a nearby group of women from the San Francisco-based Asexual Visibility and Education Network, who were making their first appearance in a Gay Pride Parade in America.
Wearing T-shirts that said "asexuals party hardest," they said the Internet has brought together people who are not engaged in sexual activity - showing them that they can focus on what they want, not what other people tell them they should want.
"It's queerer than queer in some ways," said Karli June, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate student. "Asexuality gets pathologized, medicalized and infantilized."
My first thought upon reading this was "A GROUP OF WOMEN?" It's funny because at the BBQ on Saturday night, a group of people were talking about how it was good that AVEN's founder is a young man, because that breaks sterotypes about what kind of people want and don't want sex. The difficult thing about analyzing media portrayals of asexuality is that when people have never heard the term before (as if often the case), every word counts. For a different population, being called "a group of women" might have been a minor gaffe. And it probably still is, but it's very possible that someone could come away from that article thinking that asexuals are only women. Calling us a group of people who "don't engage in sexual activity" is also incorrect, although I guess it's more informative than "a group of people with a cake fetish".
At any rate, I'm glad that no value judgements were made-- "Asexuals in a pride parade, how UTTERLY BIZARRE!" Yes, I have very low expectations, guilty! It is indeed true that we're far behind other queer groups in terms of recognition, and I'm glad that we were included in a discussion of other people's struggle for validity.