To mark Asexual Awareness Week (October 25 to 31), the Trevor Project has revealed that one in ten LGBTQ youth identify as asexual or on the ace spectrum.
Asexual people do not experience—or experience very little—sexual attraction to others. Asexuality exists on a spectrum that includes demisexual (only experiencing sexual attraction to people you have a close emotional connection to) and graysexual (experiencing limited sexual attraction).
When given additional options to describe their sexual orientation and romantic attraction, many asexual youth surveyed in the Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health responded with demisexual (15 percent), polyamorous (nine percent), greysexual (nine percent), panromantic (20 percent), biromantic (17 percent), and aromantic (13 percent). Myeshia Price-Feeney, PhD, a research scientist at the Trevor Project, told PinkNews this is evident of a desire from ace children to “represent their sexuality in a more nuanced way.”
Asexual young people were also disproportionately trans or non-binary. While a quarter of the overall LGBTQ youth surveyed were trans or non-binary and nine percent were questioning, 41 percent of ace youth were trans or non-binary and 13 percent were questioning.
As Price-Feeney says, the ace community is often overlooked.
“Asexual youth are often forgotten in both research and outreach efforts,” Price-Feeney said, “so we’re hoping to provide much-needed data on this important group of youth.”
This erasure can be particularly dangerous, as data shows that ace youth are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than overall LGBTQ youth.
“With asexual youth reporting rates of depression and anxiety at rates higher than LGBTQ youth who are not asexual,” she said, “efforts must be made to include asexual youth in suicide prevention and intervention efforts.”