What does it mean to be Ace / Aro?
'Ace' is an umbrella term used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction, people who experience varying levels of sexual attraction, or people who occasionally experience sexual attraction towards individuals of any gender. According to a paper
by sexuality researcher Dr. Anthony Bogaert, at least 1% of people are Asexual, however Asexualtiy is unfortunately still widely misunderstood and under-discussed.
Asexuality is a spectrum, and there is no one way to be Ace. There are lots of sub-identities under the Asexual umbrella that reflect the diversity within the community — some identify as grey-asexual (grey ace/grey-a) and with other Ace-spec identities, and some people may identify as demisexual, which means they do not experience sexual attraction until they have built an emotional bond with someone. Asexual people may also identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or straight to describe their romantic attraction, if they experience this.Asexuality is a sexual orientation, like homosexuality or heterosexuality. And like being straight or being gay, it’s about what someone feels, not what someone does. Dating, having sex, masturbating, falling in love, getting married, or having children do not conflict with asexuality in any way. There are many reasons why an asexual person might do these things that do not require sexual attraction to be present. ~ Asexuality Archive
Like Asexuality, Aromanticism is a spectrum, too. 'Aro' is an umbrella term used to describe people who do not typically experience romantic attraction — people that identify under the Aro umbrella may not feel romantic attraction at all, may feel romantic attraction some of the time, or may feel varying levels of romantic attraction at different times.
People who are Aromantic, Demiromantic or who identify with any identity under the Aro umbrella may also identify under the Asexual umbrella, however it's important to remember that Asexuality is not synonymous with aromanticism.
Support for Ace / Aro Communities
There are lots of fantastic organisations working to spread awareness of Ace and Aro communities and uplift Ace and Aro voices. Support is available if you need it and you can find some helpful resources below.
Social groups in Greater Manchester
is a social group for those on the Asexual and/or Aromantic spectrum. This includes demi, grey and questioning folks. The group is open to anyone 18 or over in Greater Manchester. Pluto meet on a monthly basis, currently on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Their primary aim is to allow Ace and Aro people to meet each other in a relaxed, social environment. This is very important for a community that faces as much isolation as this. We also have occasional educational, awareness-building sessions.
International support and social groups
: Ace and aro leaders around the world are leading the way to a brighter future, and we’re proud to provide our community with tools and resources to enable all of us to grow together!The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN)
hosts the world's largest online asexual community as well as a large archive of resources on asexuality. AVEN strives to create open, honest discussion about asexuality among sexual and asexual people alike.
: a website dedicated to providing information and resources for the Ace/Aro communities.Ace Week
: an annual campaign to raise awareness, build community, and create change around the world.The Trevor Project: Understanding Asexuality
42nd Street: Sex and Asexuality
Aces and Aros: Find community groups in your area
LGBTQ+ Mental Health & Wellbeing Support Services
We recognise that statistically LGBTQ+ people are at much higher risk of experiencing poor mental health, and are often faced with additional difficulties accessing mental health services and support. Thankfully, there are many incredible local and national organisations operating to ensure the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people.Rainbow Mind
is a collaborative project between Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest (Mind CHWF), and Mind in Salford
, providing a service aimed at tackling mental health issues for individuals within the LGBTQ+ community. Switchboard
provides information, support and referral service for lesbians, gay, bisexual and trans people – and anyone considering issues around their sexuality and/or gender identity. Switchboard LGBT listens to LGBT+ people, providing a lifeline and calm words to those who need them. You can get in touch on the phone, by email or through Instant Messaging. The helpline number is 0300 330 0630.Colours Youth Network
uplifts, empowers and supports young people of colour who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex (QTIPOC) aged 16-25, and encourages them to explore and celebrate who they are through meaningful connections to other young people and a team of experienced QTIPOC youth workers.Mermaids
provide a helpline and web chat service aimed at supporting transgender and gender-diverse young people up to and including the age of 19, their families, and professionals working with them. You can speak to a trained member of the Mermaids team on 0808 801 0400, Monday - Friday; 9am - 9pm. Consortium
is a membership organisation that works to support LGBTQ+ organisations and projects around the country. Use the site's Member's Directory
to find local mental health services.Mind Out
is a mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people that works to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all LGBTQ+ communities, and to make mental health a community concern.LGBT Foundation
provides a wide range of support services to lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and + people. Their helpline is open on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am-9pm weekdays.Gendered Intelligence
are a trans-led charity that works to increase understandings of gender diversity and improve the lives of trans and non-binary people.Imaan
is a charity that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) Muslims, providing an online forum where people can share experiences and ask for help.The Proud Trust
is a life saving and life enhancing organisation. They help LGBTQ+ young people to make a positive change for themselves, and their communities through empowerment. The Proud Trust offers a 'Proud Connections' instant messaging service, open 12pm – 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.Mindline Trans +
is an emotional and mental health support helpline for anyone identifying as transgender, non-binary or gender fluid. Their helpline is open Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 8pm - midnight on: 0300 330 5468. Micro Rainbow
runs safe houses dedicated solely to LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees. There are several ways to get in touch with Micro Rainbow, and its services such as its helpline is open for those in need of assistance.akt
supports LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile or abusive environment. If you are a young person, you can refer yourself to akt's services via their website. The Beaumont Society
is a national self help body run by and for the transgender community. They work to support trans and non-binary people with their partners and families, as well as advising and training on transgender issues. Regard
is a national organisation of lesbians, gay, bisexuals, transgender and queer people who self-identify as disabled. It has created guides for disabled and older people which feature really helpful advice for food shopping and how to cope with isolation.Mind LGBTQ
provides information about mental health support for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, non-binary, queer or questioning.George House Trust
provides services to people living with, and affected by, HIV. If you are in need of support, advice or information and would like to speak to someone, George House Trust run a Telephone Buddy Service. The buddy service is a 1 to 1 service for in-person and telephone appointments, and more.R U Coming Out
provides information and resources for people coming out and those who want to learn more about sexuality. There is no right or wrong way to come out, but reading about other people’s experiences can help. Check out their resources, tips & advice on coming out
Society aspires to provide a safe space for queer, trans and Intersex people of colour (QTIPOC) and represent all minorities within the community.Voda
is a mental health and wellbeing app is designed by NHS psychotherapists and provides self-guided digital therapy programmes derived from mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).Manchester Reform Synagogue
is a progressive Jewish community in the heart of Manchester that supports people to reach their full potential whilst on the Jewish path to life.