Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week 2022 - Learn more with Vesta
Feb 20, 2022 | Seattle Pride
Hi, I’m Vesta (she/her) and I’m a college student from Hong Kong. I identify as asexual, pan and somewhere along the aromantic spectrum.
In a world that tries to silence experiences diverging from the conventional, Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week is an empowering reminder for the aromantic community to feel seen, accepted and celebrated for being ourselves. Since the concept of aromanticism is fairly new, it’s exciting to witness our culture and stories emerging little by little!
Aromanticism refers to a romantic orientation where one may feel differential, little or no romantic attraction to other people of any gender identity. The aromantic spectrum, sometimes abbreviated as “arospec,” is an umbrella term for all aromantic identities as well as an identity term used by those who prefer not to specify their aromantic identity through microlabels. Common aromantic experiences include disinterest, indifference and/or repulsion for romance and romantic relationships; having difficulty in differentiating romantic and platonic attraction; and feeling unsure about ever having had a crush or fallen in love or never having had either of those experiences.
However, the examples above don’t necessarily resonate with everyone along the aromantic spectrum as the aromantic community consists of diverse narratives, experiences and preferences. It’s crucial to note that romantic orientation describes one’s attraction, not behavior. Some aros enjoy romantic activities while other aros feel repulsed by them; some desire romantic relationships while some desire other types of partnerships or none at all; some of us are also members of the asexual community while some of us are allosexual i.e. experience sexual attraction to other people. Ultimately, we are people with unconventional or complicated relationships with romance, romantic attraction, romantic relationships, and maybe love.
As for my own arospec experience, romance confuses me immensely. I understand it fine in the context of other people’s romantic relationships or in the media, but there isn’t any intuitive feeling of romance for me. I’d only be able to recognize romance from certain gestures and activities shown through culture and the media. The idea of being in a romantic relationship stresses me out because I’d constantly second guess myself on what I was feeling and what I should feel according to societal expectations. Despite my uncertainty with romantic attraction, I’m sure that my desire for meaningful relationships with other people have never been romantic in nature. The emotional intimacy developed through friendship is most important for me, whereas romance is an optional element that carries little significance. I can’t imagine treating a romantic partner considerably different from how I’d interact with a best friend. That being said, I’m not lacking anything—thriving alongside my awesome friends is more than enough for me!
One of the best ways to support the aromantic community is to be open-minded. Avoiding the assumption that everyone desires a long-term, monogamous romantic relationship already makes a difference. There’s no expectation to completely understand aromantic experiences and all the identities associated with them, even understanding a little is okay. Happy ASAW—treat your aro friends to garlic bread!
List of resources:
AUREA: information about aromanticism (i.e. vocabulary, research and online resources) and regular updates on news within the aromantic community - https://www.aromanticism.org
Arocalypse: forum and social platform for aromantic people - https://www.arocalypse.com
AZE Journal: online journal of personal essays written by aspec people - https://azejournal.com
Carnival of Aros: a monthly collaborative blogging event relating to aromantic themes - https://carnivalofaros.wordpre...
@aro_comics on Instagram: insightful analyses and helpful introductions to aromanticism - https://www.instagram.com/aro_...
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