Ace (short for asexual and/or aromantic) people are few and far between, as we make up a very small proportion of the population, and I expect that many ace people do not realise that they are ace as they are not aware of that possibility. Most of the people I speak to do not know what asexuality means or even that it exists. So in order to improve Ace inclusion in the civil service, I think we first need to increase Ace visibility.
I think there are a couple of simple ways to increase ace visibility in the workplace beyond Asexuality Visibility Week. The first is something that we can all do and that is to remember to use the ‘plus’ in LGBT+ when talking about the LGBT+ community. This is a clear reminder that there are other letters, and so identities, in the community outside of the L, G, B and T. These include, but are by no means limited to, asexual and aromantic people.
The other simple step to increase Ace visibility is to include Ace Champions on LGBT+ network committees. These Champions will help network members and wider communities become aware of asexuality. The cross-civil service network added an Asexual Champion to its committee in January 2019 and the Fast Stream LGBT+ network committee followed suit shortly thereafter. I am now the Ace Champion on the Fast Stream committee and am passionate about representation for everyone under the ‘plus’ in LGBT+.
If you are interested in becoming an Ace champion for your departmental LGBT+ network, do get in touch with your network chairs to start a conversation around Ace visibility and inclusion.
Want to find out more about asexuality? Read the Civil Service LGBT+ Network’s Asexuality Fact Sheet.