Thursday, September 16, 2010

New asexual flag

Perhaps you've noticed that on the margins, I replaced this triangle symbol...

... with a new symbol.

This is was declared to be the flag for asexuality about a month ago.  Even though it's new, I'm throwing my support behind it.  It's not universally accepted, but I'm not going to dwell on that issue because it is boring.

However, I should take a moment to comment on the meaning and history of the symbols.

The inverted triangle symbolizes the spectrum of sexualities.  The top of the triangle represents heterosexuality and homosexuality, and everything inbetween.  The lower corner represents asexuality.  The gradient represents "gray-As" like me, who are, in various ways, between asexuality and sexuality.  However, it is widely recognized that the model is incomplete because it does not include romantic orientation, and it relies on the gender binary.  But then, you wouldn't really expect to have a simple symbol that is also a complete model of sexuality.

The triangle dates back to around 2003, near the time that AVEN was founded in 2001.  It tends to be strongly associated with AVEN specifically, to the point that it's sometimes called the AVEN triangle.

The asexual flag, as I said, is about a month old.  Some efforts were made to let all parts of the asexual community have a say on the flag, rather than just English-speaking AVEN.  But AVEN dominates the asexual community so much that I think of those efforts as more symbolic than effective.  In any case, it's nice to have a decent universal symbol for once.

(Yes, I am aware of the irony that the image on my blog's margin links to AVEN.  But then, the Scarlet Letter links to Richard Dawkins even though I consider it a universal symbol of atheism and not a symbol of Richard Dawkins.)

The colors have specific meanings.  As in the AVEN triangle, black is for asexuals, gray is for gray-As, and white is for sexuals.  Purple stands for community.

The stripe pattern is reminiscent of the Rainbow Flag, as well as flags of various subgroups, like bisexuals and transgendered folks.  I think of this as a point in favor the flag.