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The Asexuals Project by Laia Abril

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Image from http://asexualsproject.com/
Recently, I was surfing the internet for asexuality-related things, and I came across something really cool that I want to share with everyone. I’ve always been drawn to people’s stories. Everyone has a story, and it greatly intrigues me that we as humans can be so similar, and yet have such different experiences in life. Hearing people’s stories in their own words, from their own mouths (or hands, in some cases), is one of the most important things I believe we can do to form stronger connections among all of humanity. So when I stumbled upon the Asexuals Project, it immediately piqued my interest. And once I watched it, I knew I needed to share it, because it’s such a personal depiction of what asexuality really is.

The Asexuals Project is the brainchild of Laia Abril, a photographer and journalist who wanted to document asexuality in a way that was both informative and engaging to a universal audience. She traveled through Europe and Asia, interviewing people who identify as being somewhere on the asexual spectrum. The published project on the website consists of video segments from these interviews – the asexual experience as told by people who are actually living it, all over the world. The project is ongoing, and she is currently interviewing more asexuals in New York (and I hope that it will continue to expand to more places in the future!).

What I love about the Asexuals Project is that it spans many different cultures and all different ages, and each person interviewed tells their own story of what asexuality means to them, and how their experience of being on the asexual spectrum has impacted their experience of life as a whole. To hear these stories directly from the source really drives home how universal asexuality is. It exists all over the world, in every generation, every language, and every culture. Thanks to Laia Abril’s vision, everyone (no matter their sexual orientation) can now see this for themselves, no matter where they live or who they are, as long as they have internet access.

Having such a wide variety of people in the interviews also makes it more likely that each viewer will find someone on there that they can relate to. For me, it was Lea from Italy (first row on the far right). I felt an instant connection when I watched her interview. Her personality was engaging to me, and she said so many things that I’ve thought before, but never had the forum or the words to express. Since everyone’s experience is different, I imagine that other asexuals who watch these interviews will feel that connection with different interviewees, and that is the beauty of this project. It shows that asexuals, like any other group of people, come in all shapes and sizes. We are all similar, and yet we are all different.

I think this project has universal appeal. For asexuals like myself, who are still on their journey to self-acceptance, it’s extremely helpful and comforting to see that there are others like us all over the world, who are at various stages of their own journeys. For asexuals who have already achieved self-acceptance, it is a great platform for visibility and advocacy. And for the rest of the population who is not asexual, it can function as both an educational tool and a bridge to increased awareness and understanding. By putting all of these functions together, I think this project can be a great launching pad for more connection between the asexual community and the rest of the LGBTQ community, between the asexual community and the sexual community, between the asexual community and the population as a whole, and most importantly, between individual human beings. If we can begin to hear each other’s stories, and truly understand each other as human beings, I think that is the first step towards understanding and acceptance on a larger scale.

My goal in sharing this project is twofold. Firstly, seeing these video interviews impacted me on a personal level, and I wanted to make the community aware of the project’s existence so that maybe others could have a similar experience. And secondly, as I said before, I think this type of project is crucial to our ability to work toward understanding and acceptance among all people. Maybe this project will inspire others to do something similar among their own communities. Whether it’s race, religion, gender, nationality, or any of a million other ways we divide ourselves as humans, the best way to combat hatred and fear is through exposure. Putting actual human faces to a label, so you can see that these people are not so different from yourself, makes the label less scary and less “alien”. It’s harder to generalize negative stereotypes to a group if you personally know someone who belongs to that group, and through forums like the Asexuals Project, even though you may never actually meet any of the participants in person, you feel like you know them, at least somewhat, through the experience of hearing their stories directly from them. Kudos to Laia Abril for creating this project, and I hope that others will follow in her footsteps and help make this world a better, more accepting place for us all to live.
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