DIVA speaks to the model, activist, and writer about the stigma that asexual people face 


Yasmin Benoit is everywhere right now. She was NYC Pride’s first asexual grand marshal this year. She’s written for Elle, British Vogue, and Refinery29. You may have seen her waving the asexual flag high at London Pride. And this weekend Yasmin will be speaking at Bi Pride (2 September).  

Amassing over 70,000 followers on Instagram alone, Yasmin marks a new wave of asexual creators online. While the rest of the world might associate asexuality with “nerdy white kids”, Yasmin is here to show that asexuality doesn’t have one defined look. Her movement #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike has opened a global conversation debunking common misconceptions about what asexuality is stereotyped to be. 

“#ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike was a direct response to people saying that I didn’t look asexual and to the idea that there is a way to look asexual,” Yasmin explained. “People tend to associate asexuality with nerdy white kids. I was trying to show the diversity of the asexual community.”

The power of this message has never been so important. After attending this year’s London Pride, Yasmin was bombarded with hate comments online about the way she had dressed. Trolls on Twitter criticised her for wearing a harness and fishnets, stating that she “couldn’t be asexual” because of her clothes. 

“There’s no one way to dress as a certain [sexual] orientation,” Yasmin said to DIVA. “Asexuality is no different. There’s no rule about how much skin you can and can’t show, how tight your clothes can be, or the shape of the fabric. When someone sexualises what you’re wearing, that has nothing to do with you. I could be covered head to toe and someone would have a fetish for that. You can’t go through life worrying about people sexualising what you do.”

At this year’s Bi Pride, Yasmin will be joining a panel with other aromantic, asexual and M-spec speakers. For her, there is a level of “kinship” between the asexual and bisexual communities. 

“We’re the most forgotten letters,” she explained. “The stereotypes related to bisexuality and asexuality are almost in juxtaposition. One has a very promiscuous stereotype, and the other has a very chaste stereotype.”

While Yasmin has bolstered a new and thriving asexual community online, her own coming-out journey took nearly 10 years. “I always say that I realised I was asexual and aromantic when other people realised they weren’t,” she laughed. 

Realising that she felt different to her friends as she reached the end of primary school, Yasmin didn’t have the words to explain how she felt. As she reached secondary school, her peers were fascinated with interrogating her about why she didn’t feel the same way as the other teens. “I used to say that I was straight but I didn’t like guys. I was just trying to do something that nullified the statement into nothing,” she explained. 

Growing up in the golden age of Tumblr, soon Yasmin became acquainted with the word asexual. However, when she tried to come out at 15, no one accepted it. “They couldn’t see someone being Black and asexual,” Yasmin said. “They believed in asexuality but not for me. I gave up on coming out. I went back into the closet and became an expert in dodging the question.” 

It wasn’t until 2017 when she publicly came out as aromantic-asexual that people began to respect her coming out. Now, Yasmin has provided a vital voice for the asexual community.

Alongside her campaign #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike, Yasmin has also teamed up with Stonewall to create a report about what life is like for asexual people in the UK. We can expect the findings of this report to be published soon. 

Having spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid conversations about sexuality, Yasmin is now one of the most vocal asexual activists out there. In June 2021, Yasmin became the first openly aromantic-asexual activist to win an Attitude Pride Award for her activism. 

However, there is much more to Yasmin Benoit than her asexuality. 

“19th Russian century literature is my favourite thing,” she said with a beaming smile. “I love The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.” 

You can listen to Yasmin Benoit speak further at Bi Pride this weekend by registering for a ticket here

DIVA magazine celebrates 29 years in print in 2023. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQIA media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 


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