A-Spec: Equality For Lack of a Romantic Orientation (and Gender)

)My Carnival of Aces and Carnival of Aros contribution for the February edition hosted by TAAAP.

Despite the fact that I have spent the last year in knots over starting to identify as panromantic and as queer as consequence of that, because loaded term, I cheerfully announced I considered aromanticism to fall under the asexuality umbrella two posts ago. By the same token, non-cis identities are in my mind closely related to the asexual community because that’s where I met multiple people speaking about it, even if only in the blogosphere.

So here’s me reflecting on my own language because that’s very, very healthy and also, I hope it will make me a more polite individual. Let’s take this in steps, shall we?

Concerning both aromantic and non-binary identities I am an ally, not a community member. I meet them in the ace community but I should really pay more attention to the fact that that’s not all they’re part of… identities are layered.

I have seen the term a-spectrum floating around as umbrella term, and if I may quote the a-positive tumblr FAQ*:  “The a-spec refers to anyone who feels they are absent of a usual part of the identity. It includes Agender people, who feel they lack/are absent of gender, Aromantic people who don’t feel romantic attraction, and Asexual people, who don’t feel sexual attraction. It also includes Demisexuals and Demiromantics, who feel that they partially or fully lack romantic and/or sexual attraction until they have formed a bond with an individual.” (I’d like to add grey- labels here, at the very least.)

My use of asexuality as umbrella term comes in large part from first changing my sexual orientation and only recently adopting a solid romantic orientation, meaning it still feels small and strange. I shouldn’t let that feeling translate into failing to recognise aromantic as equal to asexual.

We are progressing in our understanding of a-spectrum identities. All the more reason for me to pay attention and move with the times, rather than get stuck on how I spoke and thought when I entered the community.

I feel the distinction between sexual and romantic orientation is most important when you are a-spec on any level. I tend to talk about “orientation” or “nature” (geaardheid) if I talk about the two in general to outsiders. But now that I’m settling into the panromantic orientation I feel it’s as much a part of me as being demisexual. It even matters more in terms of why I feel queer and why I have issues with my church.

So I’m glad people are shedding a spotlight on the importance of romantic attraction and whether they feel it. I need some educating as well and that’s talking as member of the ace community.

* To be clear: I haven’t read the blog so I don’t know if I can recommend them but I liked their definition.

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About demiandproud

I am a demisexual Christian Dutchwoman who explores the vagaries of what the intersection of those identities means. On my main blog I post a few times a month, my favourite being participating in the Carnival of Aces. I'm exploring writing about my orientation elsewhere. The pride flag in my profile picture was created with 4 eye pencils (black, purple, silver and white).

Posted on February 15, 2019, in carnival of aces, Personal reflection and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Great post. I get that we all have an adjustment period when it comes to understanding all these concepts and the terminology!

    I would have to talk to a number of agender people I guess to find out their pinion, since theirs are the only opinions that matter, but I’m pretty sure that while aromanticism is a spectrum, and asexuality is a spectrum, with gray- and Demi identities and stuff (“spectrum” being where the “spec” comes from)…

    …being agender is not the same, and it’s not under the a-spec definition. Gender isn’t what anyone is talking about when they say aphobia, aphobes, a-spec, etc. We can acknowledge that all 3 identities are As and all are what the A in LGBTQIA+ (or longer versions of the acronym) should stand for rather than Ally, people who are all 3 can joke about being triple A or A cubed etc, but I think that Tumblr blogger might just be the only person using the term that way.

    If I’m wrong I’m happy to learn! I’m super supportive of my agender siblings and get that there are some parallels in lacking feeling like you have a gender and “lacking an orientation” but. I just want to throw that out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an excellent point to make, actually, because I realise in reading back I do mention gender at the start and then swerve away from it.

      I am not very qualified to comment but from what I understand (i.e. have absorbed from non-binary youtubers and lgbtq nonfiction) gender is an experience as well that can change from one day to the next. E.g. if you’re genderfluid.

      So I think in my mind agender came to mirror aromanticism and asexuality as a complex experience. Something that some people very firmly are and other people can be or are close to, amongst other things.

      Like

  1. Pingback: February 2019 Carnival Round-up: The Relationship Between the Aro and Ace Communities – The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project

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