By Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer
On Monday, February 27, at the Robert F Stoico/Firstfed Foundation Grand reading room, the Center for Women and Gender Studies held the NEA Asexual Spectrum 101 event, featuring a panel of trans and asexual speakers.
The event started with an introduction by Dr. Juli Parker, the Director for the Center and Assistant Dean for Students. She introduced the panel and the themes for the night, as well as the order of events.
It officially marks the start of sex week for the Center, a series of events happening throughout the week that focuses on the topics of gender, sex, and sex education. There will be numerous events for the Center that will be held.
The New England Asexuals (or Aces) are a group of speakers who perform events like this around the county of New England, speaking on the issues and circumstances surrounding those on the asexual spectrum. They frequently hold panels and speeches like the one conducted at the Reading room.
Starting in 2010, the New England Aces have over 600 members and works around New England.
They are a community group that works on reaching out to people of the asexual and trans-gender experience.
There were a total of four speakers and one organizer from the NEA organization, with the organizer Jess giving a preamble for the group and presenting prepared questions. Then each presenter would take prepared questions and give discussions about their own experiences as an asexual person.
The questions focused on topics like relationships, identifying common patterns for emerging sexuality, and how they handled their own development.
Julie, one of the speakers, related her own experiences with growing as an asexual person.
Many of the speakers spoke about societal influences and pressure, with one relating the need for childbirth was one such expression.
Julia, an asexual woman, spoke about coming out to her parents and how “it made things awkward, but we don’t really talk about it.”
Coming from backgrounds with various diversities, Jess, also referenced the need for people of color to speak, saying “there are resources available online to speak about that experience.”
The talks continued for about an hour, with many giving more details about their own experiences in relation to questions. They talked about the personal details of their experiences and often made references to the methods and practices that helped them to grow as a person on the spectrum.
A support group was referenced as one of the most important resources to rely on when dealing with the experience of growing up asexual, citing their own confusing time with sexual maturation.
Going to the internet was one of the most important experiences and enlightening experiences, due to having no one they knew physically who could talk to them about it.
Describing her experiences and people’s reaction to asexuality, Julie said, “It’s just me, it’s just the way I am.”