Award-winning activist and model Yasmin Benoit has been announced as grand marshal of this year’s New York City Pride, making her the very first asexual person to take on the role in the history of the festival.
The English model has made a name for herself, not only through her head-turning fashion spreads in magazines like Pride and Attitude, but also by establishing herself as one of the most prominent asexual activists today.
With more than 60K followers on Instagram, Benoit advocates for asexual representation every chance she gets, notably through the use of the hashtag #Thisiswhatasexuallookslike, which Benoit created to highlight the asexual community and its diversity.
More prominently, the award-winning activist created International Asexuality Day, an event which takes place annually on April 6. Recently, Benoit made history once more when she was named the latest grand marshal for the New York City Pride Parade, being the first-ever asexual person to do so.
Benoit will be joined by activist Hope Gisell, actor and LGBTQ+ icon Billy Porter, Athlete All chief of staff AC Dumalo, and advocate Randolfe “Rand” Wicker at the parade, all of whom will also be serving as grand marshals for the 2023 Pride festivities.
Asexual people belong at Pride. This year, we’ll be at the front of America’s biggest!
— Yasmin Benoit, MSc (@theyasminbenoit) May 20, 2023
Following the announcement, Benoit told PinkNews in an interview, that ace representation at Pride has been a “long time coming”.
“It’s kind of like how has this never happened before? How is this the first time that asexual people have been included here?” she said. “I feel like whenever things do happen it’s kind of bittersweet because it’s like, ‘Yay, finally’, but then also, ‘God, that took a long time just to be at our baby steps’.”
Benoit continued, “There is more momentum and more interest, but I think that we still almost need to prove that asexuality is a real thing and real orientation, which sounds bad, but that’s how early on it is for people just working out what it means, what the actual definition is.
“On the one hand, we’re going through the 101, but on the other hand, like with NYC Pride, it’s like: OK let’s jump forward and get not just to introduce this thing, but let’s celebrate it as part of something wider.”
She’s back. She’s blonde. And she’s presenting! ✨️
After becoming the first asexual person to win Campaigner/Influencer of the Year in 2022, it was amazing to host that category at the #RainbowHonours2023! 🖤#ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike pic.twitter.com/aZG4mCv9tA
— Yasmin Benoit, MSc (@theyasminbenoit) May 18, 2023
The theme of NYC’s 2023 Pride celebration is “strength and solidarity”. In response to this theme, Benoit told PinkNews: “I feel like that really communicates that it’s post-pandemic, everyone’s been kind of separated, there’s so much division in the community, there’s so much infighting and to just be able to say: ‘Hey, everybody grow together. We’re fighting the same fight. It’s not just the first three letters or the first four letters. We’re going beyond that and recognising that this is a legitimate orientation and that asexual people count as part of the community.’”
While Yasmin Benoit is the first asexual grand marshal at NYC Pride, she hopes that she will not be the last. “I think that is going to be really meaningful… Because it’s not just the first time that’s happened in New York Pride, they don’t have asexual grand marshals leading any of the Prides anywhere really,” she said. “So it’s definitely quite a powerful thing to do.”
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