Worse than having no info on asexuality, is having it and then deleting it

This was cross-posted to my Tumblr.

ILGA-Europe are an independent, international non-governmental umbrella organisation bringing together 490 organisations from 45 European countries. They’re part of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), and were established as a separate region and independent legal entity in 1996.

ILGA-Europe work to advocate for human rights and equality for LGBTI people at European level, before organisations such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE); and to strengthen the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia by providing training and support to its member organisations and other LGBTI groups.

Back in 2015, their Glossary included a definition of asexuality (here’s a capture in Archive.org). I found the link through AVEN and it was cited in the glossary of the No Hate Speech Movement. It went like this:

Asexuality: an asexual person is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Asexual people have the same emotional needs as everybody else and are just as capable of forming intimate relationships. Asexuality should not be misinterpreted as celibacy, which is a choice or a certain situation. Some consider asexuality as a sexual orientation.

Copyright line at the end of the page (and also the Wayback Machine) tells me that it has been there since at least 2013.

Now, a definition in a glossary may not be much, but it was something, especially for such a big and influential organization.

Which bring us to the issue referenced to in the title: Their glossary no longer has said entry. They seem to have edited the page and PDF version that year (which I’m guessing from the title of the current document, “glossary_october_2015_edition.pdf”) and asexuality no longer seemed relevant to them.

Now, I’m writing this at 1 am so I don’t have any more information than that, but I do know that:

  1. They still include definitions for Bisexual, Gay, Homosexual, Lesbian and Queer (but deleted Heterosexual);
  2. They also deleted Sexual identity, defined as “the sense of being homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual or asexual. The term is used as a legal term in countries such as Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Spain”; and
  3. If you search for asexual or asexuality on their website, you get zero results.

¿Any thoughts?

About Chrysocolla Town

Chrysocolla Town (or CT for short) is a chilean nerd who posts about ace history and the spanish-language ace community at her blog, where one can also find resources on local groups and ace research. She also has a spanglish Tumblr (@chrysocollatown). She is asexual and her romantic orientation is ¯l_(ツ)_/¯. She's currently the admin of the Facebook group Asexuales Chile and manages the related Fanpage and Tumblr.
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5 Responses to Worse than having no info on asexuality, is having it and then deleting it

  1. Sara K. says:

    I don’t want to jump to conclusions without more information … but this does not look good.

    • I’m sure some of the member organizations know about asexuality and include us in their work (i know for a fact the COGAM in Spain does work with an ace association), but i’m guessing they’ve never sat down as ILGA-Europe to discuss their position as a whole.

      I’ve seen something similar happen with a Chilean organization: They included a lil’ mention to asexuality in their sex ed manual, yet all but ignored it on the second edition, which they currently use. But tbh that was to be expected from the Movilh since 90% of their focus is on cis gay men :/

      To see it again in an international organization is… pretty frustrating :/ :/

  2. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    Hmm. I do know for a fact that German organizations are slowly getting better with asexuality. It was a struggle, in some cases, though, so I don’t expect any different with Europe as a whole.

  3. Tristifere says:

    Was it only in their glossary? a quick scan of their annual reports and policy plans give no results for asexuality, so it seems that they have no active policy regarding asexuality. In that case, only adding it to the glossary is just a bit of windowdressing, isn’t it?
    So my question is, what do we want an organisation like ILGA to do for the asexual community? Surely it’s more than just inclusion in the glossary? It would be interesting to contact them and ask them why it was removed from the glossary and what/if they or their local branches do anything regarding ace activism. I’d do it, but in that case I’d also want to add in my correspondance why it’s important that ILGA includes asexuality and I’m a bit rusty on the emperical evidence (ie. academic research) backing up that asexual people face discrimination, specific healthcare needs, etc. I’ve been away from the ace community for a bit too long, but maybe someone wants to team up?

    • I definitely think the glossary inclusion was windowdressing, but it could have made it a lil’ easier to advocate for actual, meaningful inclusion.

      That being said, i feel they probably would only listen to requests like that —explicit, continuous asexual inclusion in their policies and work— made by someone that’s part of one of the member organizations? Like, in a meeting or a formal request accompanied by a report…

      So, we could write to ask them why they removed the entry in the glossary and how involved are they in ace activism in Europe, but beside that maybe the thing to do should be to contact European ace groups that are part or work with one of the ILGA-Europe members, and go from there up. At least that’s the idea i get from this petition to create a Bisexual Secretariat in ILGA World from around 2015; that you need support from multiple organizations and to work from the bottom up.

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