Sexual orientation can be one of the most confusing parts of an individual’s identity. Both privately and in the public eye, sexuality is debated and deconstructed, making it difficult for a person to figure out how they identify. This is where groups like GLOW can step in to provide students with support and information. The network of resources has gotten even larger on the Lawrence campus with the addition of Ace, an associate of GLOW, which is a group aimed towards asexual students.
Headed by sophomore Otter Pinske, Ace has been active on the Lawrence campus for about a year. Asexuality, often shortened to Ace when referring to an individual, is difficult to define. Pinske explained, “Everyone I’ve talked to basically has their own definition… Basically Ace is when you don’t hold a sexual attraction to either gender. [Some people] have a high sex drive but it’s not geared towards any one person, and some people don’t have a sex drive at all and are Ace, so it can go either way.”
But there’s a misconception inherent in this definition that Pinske is quick to dispel. “It doesn’t mean that you can’t feel love…you can love somebody, you just won’t have a need to initiate anything sexual. There isn’t a feeling of loss or anything like that, it feels as concrete as any other orientation, “ said Pinske.
But the wider public still has trouble seeing the legitimacy of asexuality. “Just as of a few years ago I watched this newscast about whether or not asexuality is real,” Pinske said. “But if they did something like that about homosexuality, they would get [so much backlash], so that just goes to show how little people think of [asexuality] today. This community is super new, and that’s a huge point of Ace syndicates, not only to spread information but to give that historical context and also [to be] political… it’s really hard to get people to try to listen to what this is.”
Getting people to listen is one of the main goals of the Ace syndicate at Lawrence. Although it’s technically been running for over a year, Pinkse explained, “It started out as the first few kids that had come out as Ace on campus getting together and hanging out, then they realized that they could open it up to the public and make it even better.” The group has now become more active, holding meetings individually and with GLOW. Pinske stressed that Ace’s purpose is to provide “support and information.”
“We’d like to bring in some speakers, we don’t really know yet, we’ll probably have a cake party because the official symbol of Ace is cake. There’s also a documentary we could [screen] called A Sexual. It’s not even the best documentary but it’s something we can look at, at least for a reference point,” said Pinske.
While the club has many ideas for the coming year, the structure and schedule of meetings is still being figured out. “I get the feeling it will change day to day, sometimes it might need to be more of a support group than others, other times we can look at things online…it’s definitely a new club, and if anyone is interested they can get involved. It’s pretty flexible,” said Pinske.
Pinske encouraged anyone who thinks they might identify as asexual, or who have any question, to get involved. “I feel like more people would feel comfortable talking about it or coming out as one if they just feel that other people are there.” Student’s who wish to be on the mailing list can contact Pinske via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or go to Asexuality.org to get more information.