August 12th, 2020 The History of Ace Week
Ace Week has been growing alongside the ace community ever since it was first established as Asexual Awareness Week back in 2010. Originally an awareness campaign that primarily targeted LGBTQ+ communities and their leadership, the scope of Ace Week's audience and purpose has gradually expanded.
When Ace Week founder Sara Beth Brooks discovered asexuality and realized that it was something she identified with, she aspired to use her organizational skills and activism experience to support the ace community. She solicited the help of AVEN founder David Jay, and together, they aimed to gain the attention of some major organizations, such as the National LGBTQ Task Force and the UN Human Rights Council.
The very first Ace Week was mostly conducted online through blogging and social media activity. As part of the campaign to increase ace awareness within the LGBTQ+ community, members of the ace community created one minute "Dear LGBT Community" video letters to share on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Aces were also encouraged to share information and experiences on social media, change their profile pictures, and start conversations about being ace both online and off.
Ace Week took a huge leap forward in 2011. Sara Beth formed a 20-person committee which planned and collaborated on the project over the course of 6 months. In addition to focusing on the LGBTQ+ community, the second Ace Week targeted mass media, educational organizations, medical professionals, and sex-positive communities.
Sub-committees formed within the planning committee to work on specific tasks such as the website content, logo design, and a video project, while other projects were carried out on a more individual basis. Several members of the committee worked together to create a 15 question ace community census survey which received over 3,400 responses. This survey would later become its own annual project.
One of the biggest developments of 2011 was the inclusion of real world events. Aces around the world planned events to take place during or around Ace Week. This included several screenings of the documentary (A)sexual and a number of events on college campuses. Ace Week also began a fundraiser to finance documentary screenings and surpassed its $1000 goal.
Following the success of the second Ace Week, Sara Beth and David Jay attended the Creating Change conference—a national LGBTQ+ conference which is run by one of the organizations whose interest they hoped to pique.
Ace Week temporarily took a step back in 2012, focusing on localized events throughout the year rather than holding a single unified week. Returning to its international one-week format in 2013, Ace Week has continued to take place annually ever since. Each year has taken on its own unique flavor and adopted slightly different projects, but spreading educational materials, organizing community events, and discussing ace experiences have always remained at its core.
Since ace visibility, understanding, and representation have improved over the years, Ace Week has organically morphed into a celebration of ace identities alongside the continuing campaign for ace acceptance. Many traditions have developed in celebration of Ace Week, including the Fandom Challenge, which first took place in 2014. On each day of Ace Week, the Fandom Challenge sets out a prompt designed to initiate discussions on social media about canon and headcanon ace characters.
In 2019, Ace Week joined Asexual Outreach, a non-profit organization building a national advocacy movement to strengthen communities and change lives. Alongside this change in structure, Ace Week adopted its current name (an update to the original “Asexual Awareness Week”) and logo.