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Long in the shadows, asexuality is finally becoming increasingly visible. It could help young people find themselves and their identities, and change the way we think about sexuality. In a live video stream on 6 April, UK-based model and asexual activist Yasmin Benoit moderated a panel featuring participants from Belgium, Brazil, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal and Nigeria. All of them identify as somewhere on the asexual (“ace”) and/or aromantic (“aro”) spectrum. The panellists discussed their involvement in their respective countries’ asexuality community, as part of an event honouring the first ever International Asexuality Day. Their experiences vary, from well supported to outright dangerous. In Belgium, Martine said she’s found support and inclusivity from her government and the country’s wider LGBTQ+ organisation; on the other end, Jan in Nigeria noted that laws “criminalise queer gatherings”. But, regardless of global location, the issue of visibility was at the core of nearly all their responses. Indeed, asexuality – defined generally as not experiencing sexual attraction – has been called “the invisible orientation”.

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