Last week was Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week!
Aromantic refers to someone who does not experience romantic attraction and is also commonly used as an umbrella term for people who experience low levels of romantic attraction or romantic attraction only in specific circumstances, which includes demiromantic, (someone who experiences romantic attraction after developing an emotional connection first), grey-romantic (someone with a romantic attraction somewhere between aromatic and romantic) and many more! Aromantic-spectrum or Aro-spec for short is used to refer to anyone who identifies in this way.
The Importance of Aromantic Awareness
When growing up in a society that values romantic love above almost all else, people who don’t feel romantic attraction can feel very alienated, and as though they need to force themselves into situations they don't feel comfortable with in order to fit in. (Though it is important to remember that aromantic people can find happiness in platonic love or even romantic love and some don't find any type of love necessary). Lacking romantic attraction doesn't make you any less of a person, remember that you and your feelings are valid, and we hope to see more aro representation soon!
Minus18 Crew Member Orion, tells us about their experience of being aro.
“When I first discovered I was aro my first reaction was to tell my best friend. I had previously just referred to any idea of romance, such as my other friend asking me out, with the phrase ‘I'm not really into relationships right now’. After finding the term aromantic I felt very fortunate to realise who I was at a relatively young age. Many aromantic people have only realised that aromantic is even a thing after years, sometimes even decades of self-hatred and feeling abnormal, so to realise my orientation around the same age as the others around me (about 13 years old) I feel incredibly lucky.
Recently I started questioning my orientation again and have settled on another identity under the aromantic umbrella: Grey-aro, specifically Grey-biromantic. I feel truly comfortable in this identity and feel as though I know who I am. Without my knowledge of aromantic identities I'd likely feel confused and uncomfortable, this is why Aromantic Spectrum Awareness is important.”
Gabriel, another person in the aromantic spectrum here at Minus18 describes his orientation as:
"Queer, but more specifically grey-asexual, grey-aromantic, and panalterous. When I was a kid it was weird hearing everyone talk about their crushes, I never really had that. I had friends that were guys that I admired and people tried to tell me that that was a crush but it definitely wasn't. I met my now girlfriend and admired her deeply and fell in love with every aspect of her, it was so strange. Since then I guess I've discovered how I feel towards people, I never get that lust kind of attraction and when I do feel anything romantic towards someone I've known them for a long time and know a lot about them. I don't feel like it makes me any different to anyone else, at least not in a negative way. I have my girlfriend and we've been together almost four years, though I don't feel romantically attracted to her all the time she is my best friend and this is enough."
Familiarising yourself with all different types of attractions would help to ensure comfort and happiness in the lives of so many people.
Feel free to check out Asexual Spectrum Awareness Week events and activities on tumblr here.