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michaeld

Calling UK AVENites - and anyone else interested in helping

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michaeld

As it's end of Asexual Awareness Week, I'd like to look towards the future and talk about a project I've had in mind for some time.

 

There are a number of people already doing great vis/ed work in the UK. There's Pieces of Ace , the podcast - I've had the pleasuring of meeting them several times at Reading and London Pride. There's MyUmbrella, an LGBTQ+ group based in Reading who focus on the lesser known parts of the Pride spectrum including asexuality. (There's also a UK-based group called MAAPLE, whom I know less about.)

 

However overall the UK ace scene is very community focussed (nothing at all wrong with that) and I feel we could be more proactive in our outreach and our activism.

 

Thus I'd like to get together a large group of volunteers who can address this. Here is what I'm looking for - any or all of the following.

 

(1) People with good interpersonal and communication skills.

 

We will need people to liaise and develop contact with other groups in the UK. For example

  • other ace groups in the UK (and perhaps beyond) so we can coordinate our efforts; I mentioned some above
  • UK based LGBTQ+ groups who cover asexuality (or might be persuaded to)
  • sex educators, therapists, researchers and other professionals in the UK who are interested in asexuality.

 

We will need people from these groups on board of any projects we run - see for example (2) and (3).

 

(2) People with good analytical abilities. Knowledge of UK law is a definite bonus but not expected.

 

Last year a group of us worked on project to make the national census run by the Office of National Statistics inclusive of asexuality. It involved a lot of research and careful collection of facts and arguments. (The likely outcome is that probably we won't get what we wanted - an explicitly asexual-inclusive sexual identity question on the 2021 census - but we were a large part of the reason they are likely going to have a fill in option, where people can write asexual or anything else.)

 

I feel this is an area we should concentrate on. I don't feel personally able to demand big sweeping legal changes but I do feel we can encourage organisations to collect statistics on asexuality. Whenever an employer asks a question about sexual orientation, asexuality should be there. We need to get across the message that asexuality is a major sexual orientation - not just a niche thing relevant to a tiny number of people - and thus we deserve data collection.

 

(3) People with good speaking ability.


We often get speaker and media requests in the UK and we don't always manage to fulfil them. And if we're going to be more proactive, having good speakers is even more important. Instead of waiting for campuses to come to us to ask if we can provide a speaker for AAW, in future I'd like us to be going out to the campuses and asking *what* they are doing for AAW, and whether we can help. So we need the people to speak - but we also need resources to help people accomplish this. I don't intend to lay down some sort of boilerplate that every talk should follow - that would be boring. We want people to develop their own talks. But having facts, suggestions, tips and possible activities will greatly help people with that. Which leads to...

 

(4) People who can write and design resources - so writers and graphic designers. Perhaps also web designers.


It would be great to have a wide variety of resources we can send out. We get queries from university campuses; I'd like to be able to send them a bunch of ace resources for their members. We could also look into materials to send out to schools too, for their sex-ed classes. We could also develop resources for the work place. In each case, we want something punchy - what is asexuality, what are some basic definitions and stats and where can people get further help. And, as already mentioned, another very important aspect is to develop resources for ace activists and speakers, so that they may be more effective in what they do. Finally we may need some new webpages, so web designers would be very welcome too.

 

Note that this particular point is less UK specific than the others and so will be part of a wider effort by AVEN international; it will be led by the new Resources Director PT, soon to be elected.

 

(5) People with good organisation ability.

 

Well maybe I should have said this earlier but... I intend to start a yearly London-based[1] conference in the UK, held the same weekend as Pride London on the Sunday. It's not since 2012, when WorldPride was held in London, that we've had a major ace conference in the UK. It will have a different flavour to WorldPride - the latter was a deliberately international event. These will be UK-focussed. Of course anyone is still welcome to come! But we won't necessarily be deliberately reaching out to other countries the way we did for WorldPride.

 

[1] well if other people can organise conferences in other cities than London that's great and we'll encourage it but I can only personally commit to London as that's where I have base. We should concentrate on London for next year and if anyone else wants to branch out to other cities, we'll give full support.

 

Of course there's many other organisation tasks. We should deliver regular reports of our progress to the wider member base (something I'm not brilliant act, given my somewhat sporadic entries in the PT update thread). Plus we need sound records of all our contacts, from (1).

 

----------

 

Do you think you'd like to help with any or all of the above? If so I want to hear from you!

 

Note that while this project is definitely UK focussed, and so I'd imagine it to be mostly of interest to UK avenites, there is no requirement that you have to be UK based to help. As long as you don't mind the UK focus, and feel you can help with some of the above, we'd love to have you on board. Some of the points require you to be based in the UK and some don't. Plus, we will definitely be coordinating with our international friends and partners, and sharing tips and resources, so a more diverse volunteer base isn't a bad thing at all.

 

To start with, if you're interested in helping, either reply here or send me a PM. Most likely I will be arranging a first meeting on skype (most likely text) in a few weeks to discuss our first steps. (If enough people can't use skype for whatever reason we'll find an alternative, but to begin with it would definitely help if you could make a skype account if you don't already have one.)

 

Thanks for reading!
Michael

 

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Maks9090

All these amazing volunteering opportunities appear before me and I can't take part in any of them OTL

 

If anyone is on the fence please try! This sounds amazing and I will definitely throw my cake into the ring when I'll be able to! :cake:

 

(Man, if I will end up in Wales next year this would be AWESOME)

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Diamond Ace of Hearts

I'd like to get involved but I'm 99% sure you can get someone better than me and I probably don't have the time anyway.

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Sleighcaptain

@michaeld, do you mind if I throw this around at the Birmingham meet next weekend, as there should be 30+ there, so we ought to get useful input 

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Aarineko

Hi, it sounds really great !!! I'm currently studying graphic design if you need help with that. I'm currently doing posters on asexuality for one of my classes too ;)

I know a bit of webdesign but don't consider myself good enough to make one from start. I consider going into that later though so in a few years :P

 

Also I'm currently in the UK but will go back to Belgium in January.

 

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skyfossil

Hi, I'd love to be involved with this, especially writing/speaking/organisation tasks. The conference sounds fantastic! I'm a postgrad student based in Brighton.

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Deus Ex Infinity
11 hours ago, Count Maksula said:

All these amazing volunteering opportunities appear before me and I can't take part in any of them OTL

 

If anyone is on the fence please try! This sounds amazing and I will definitely throw my cake into the ring when I'll be able to! :cake:

 

(Man, if I will end up in Wales next year this would be AWESOME)

Same here :mellow:

 

Good luck!

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Tystie

I’d like to get involved, if I can.

 

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Dancer23

This sounds amazing! Would definitely be interested in helping with talks and linking up with other groups - there are a couple of organisations that come to mind that are already doing some good work and training sessions that I've come across during my counselling psychology training who it might also be good to link up with. If you wanted to target any workshops at trainee/qualified therapists, I might also have an idea for somewhere to apply for (some) funding, I'd just need to check their requirements, offer and application process. (Part of what I did for AAW this year was talking at my placement about myths about asexuality that are particularly important to de-bunk for therapists, so I'll be really open that it'll probably take me a couple weeks to broaden my focus again!).

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gaogao

I'm a little interested, though my ability to help is limited (sometimes I'm too busy to come online for days at a time) but I am willing to be in touch and I do have some knowledge of UK law in case that is helpful, though most of my experience is commercial...

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michaeld

Thanks everyone for the enthusiastic replies both here and by PM! Keep them coming - we're still open for more volunteers. :cake:

 

I will be contacting people individually by PM and will soon announce a date for our first meeting.

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Scucca9

Hi! I literally just made an account now to say I'd love to volunteer. My friend and I were just discussing this morning how isolated we've been feeling as ace/aro people who had little to no idea that asexuality even existed until our late teens, let alone that there are communities surrounding it.

I'm currently in Denmark until the end of November, but as of December, I'll be between London and Cambridge. :)

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Glymma

Hello, I would like to help, I'm new here, but I'm good with organisation and am a good fact finder/researcher. :) I am based in Dudley in the UK, so not too far from London!

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The Christmas Lemon

I can probably help with speaker/media requests and maybe with organising the conference too :)

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Santa's little timewarp

Hmm, I'm not sure if I've explicitly said it at some point - I'm in of course. :D

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Tintinfan

Yeah I'm in

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kelico

I'm not in the UK, but you know I don't mind helping with graphics. : )

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Eihpos

I'd love to help! Potentially with organisational things since I'm quite organised, but I'd also be okay with speaking at specific events/shindigs if needed. I'm a teacher up in Lancashire so I'm used to being organised, super busy and speaking in front of people (particularly children).

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michaeld

Welcome all! Good to have you on board.

 

@Skycaptain - yes please do mention it at the Birmingham meet.

 

One other thing I'd like to mention: anyone interested in designing resources should also consider the PT position being advertised called Resources and Education. The latter will not be UK focussed per se, but I imagine they will work closely with the rest of this team, because much of the design process is not UK specific, and can be part of a broader effort to revamp AVEN's resources.

 

I must also add that this does not mean that you have to be PT in order to help us design things - very far from it!

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BlueOrbit

I'd be on board to help with this. I'd love to help with the analytical side of things, but would also be quite comfortable with public speaking (used to compete in public speaking and debating at a national/international level back in the day).


Essentially, I'd be up for whatever you need :)

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Mr No

I'm potentially interested in any/all of the mentioned things. Please count me in. :)

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colossalpenguins

I'd also be interested in helping in any way possible. I'm currently living in Japan but am from London and will most likely be heading back that way around August next year. In the meantime, I'd definitely be up for helping in any other way I can.

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Mrs.Agape

Hi! I would love to get involved. I'm not working right now and my CV needs a boost. Also I need more ace in my life before I go insane!

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paperbackreader

Can help with 2 & most if not all parts of 4. :-)

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Santa's Little Elf

Ohh this sounds very cool! I love writing so i might be able to help out :) 

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Scottmas1989

Apparently, I've been told in work, both in training and real situations, I'm not a bad presenter and aced (no pun intended) the opportunities to present. Unfortunately due to not being out, I may not be the best for speaking about asexuality (yet) but could help with tips, suggestions for those who end up doing that stuff if needed (based on my own experience). Not much of a writer but could also help with developing resources for speakers and\or external.

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Icedealist

I'd be interested in helping out

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Verbosoul

*Materialising from nowhere*

 

UK AVENite checking in :P

 

I have great communication skills (written and spoken); I've had praise at work for the energy I bring to presentations. With that in mind, items (1) and (3) are kind of ringing true with me.

 

I'm not sure how much use I could be, but insofar as registering interest goes...Maybe! I'm in full-time employment but I could probably give some spare time.

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Zyden

Can help with visual media, fliers, logos, banners, posters.

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Blaiddmelyn

If you guys need general guidance on UK law, give me a shout.  

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