Originally posted in Spanish in Chrysocolla Town’s blog. It was translated by the author and posted here with permission.
Here we have an attempt to compare the AVEN Community Census 2014 and the AVENes Survey 2014 for asexuals, regarding asexual identities, gender identities, and romantic orientations. And I say attempt because, although some data may be comparable, a big chunk isn’t since the instruments didn’t ask the same questions (in form or substance), didn’t give the same response options, nor were they aimed at the same populations.
My original idea was to wait until the results of the 2015 surveys before writing about identity diversity in the asexual community, but that’s going to take months and I’m racing against time here, so I made this quick review on what I was most interested with what data I had.
Starting with similarities, both instruments were conducted online with the objective of study the asexual community. They were created using Google Forms and shared through the AVEN and AVENes websites respectively, through other asexual websites, and asexual groups in social networks. Therefore, neither represents the asexual population as a whole, but rather those who were part of or were in contact with online asexual communities.
The AVEN Community Census 2014 (preliminary findings report and survey text available in The Asexual Census) was organized by the AVEN Survey Team of AVEN International. Available both in English and Japanese, it was open between the 6 and 28 of October of 2014, and accepted responses of anyone over the age of 13 regardless of their sexual orientation, so as to have the opportunity to have some comparative data between ace and non-ace people.
It received 14,210 responses, 10,880 of them of people in the asexual spectrum (76.6% of the total), from people of 90 different countries, most of them from the United States of America (63.6%).
The AVENes Survey 2014 for asexuals (findings of the surveys of 2011 to 2014 available in the Asexualpedia) was aimed —as one can deduce— exclusively at people in the asexual spectrum (in fact, responses from people who expressed to be allosexual were deleted from the raw data). The survey, available in Spanish, was open between March of 2014 and January of 2015, and didn’t establish an age limit.
It received 1,079 valid responses from 29 different countries, most of them Spanish-speaking. The main countries of origin were Mexico (26%), Spain (21%), Argentina (18%), and further behind Chile (9%).
Diverse identities in the asexual community: AVEN Census and AVENes Survey, 2014
I want to make clear that in the following graphs I only included responses from people in the ace spectrum. Also, take into account that later AVEN and AVENes censuses and surveys have modified their questions and factors to study.
And we got off on the wrong foot, because this is the most complicated of the three. The question on [a]sexual identity in the AVEN Census included all responses, so I made the graph up here subtracting non-ace responses (“None of the above” option, that then made those who chose it select theirs from a new set of sexual orientations).
In the AVENes Survey’s case, they added multiple categories that are not necessarily mutually exclusive, some of whom are pretty objectionable (objections that were addressed by AVENes in their analysis). Each option included a brief explanation —ex.: Fantasexual (satisfaction covered by sexual fantasies)—, and responders were asked to only choose Asexual if they couldn’t identify with any of the other options. The only data that may be comparable is the percentage of demisexuals, which is slightly higher in the AVENes Survey.
The graphs on gender identity look pretty simple. In both of them we observe a female majority of approx. 60%, and a 30/10 ratio of men and non-binary people: 30% of non-binary people 10% men approx. in the AVEN Census, and 10% non-binary people 30% men approx. in the AVENes survey. AVENes speculate that the lower percentage of non-binary people in their survey may be because there’s more information and discussion on gender identity diversity within the english-speaking ace community.
So far so good. The problem comes when calculating the percentages of trans people.
The AVEN Census asked explicitly if the person’s gender identity aligned with their assigned sex at birth (28.1% answered No), and if they identified as trans (11.1% answered Yes and 8.4% answered that they weren’t sure). Interesting to also note that 31.4% of non-binary people considered themselves trans and 27.6% of them said they weren’t sure.
Meanwhile, AVENes calculated the percentage of trans people crossing the data on assigned sex at birth and current gender identity, getting a 2.9% of FTM and MTF people..
What stands out most in the case of romantic orientations is that, while in the AVENes Survey the percentage of heteroromantic aces amounts to almost half the total, in the AVEN Census they made up only 22% of the responses. The percentage of aromantic aces is the same 19% in both cases, the homoromantic one is higher in the AVENes Survey (9.5%) and the bi/panromantic one higher in the AVEN Census (32.2%). Also note that the AVEN Census, beside including more possible romantic orientations, also included a “I don’t identify with a romantic orientation” option (8.4%, rendered as “None” in the above graph because of spacing).
If after all of this someone got interested, I identify as a cisgender asexual woman and do not have a romantic orientation (at least for now). And I’m nowhere near to be a mathematician, so what you see is what I could do and no more.
Now, these were the community surveys made in 2014. What do you expect of the 2015 surveys, and how do you see the AVENes Survey 2016 (already open to response on their website)?