In February, many people celebrated Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week! It took place from Feb. 20-26, providing an opportunity to raise awareness for this romantic orientation.
Aromanticism “describes people whose experience of romance is disconnected from normative societal expectations, often due to experiencing little to no romantic attraction, or sometimes feeling repulsed by romance or being uninterested in romantic relationships,” according to arospecweek.org. The term aromantic is often shortened to aro, just as the parallel sexual orientation, asexual, is shortened to ace.
Asexuality, aromanticism, and agender are all grouped together under the A of LGBTQIA+. This often leads to confusion, as asexuality and aromanticism are often seen as existing in tandem. While this may be the case for some people, who might identify as acearo if they don’t experience sexual and romantic attraction, there are plenty of people who experience sexual attraction without romantic attraction or vice versa.
Aromanticism is also a spectrum; there are many microlabels within the aro label, including labels that indicate that you experience romantic attraction only infrequently or only after you’ve developed a deep relationship with someone. Many aros have indicated that they have difficulty forming “crushes,” and some aros will choose not to pursue traditional romantic relationships.
Socially, aros often face marginalization. Much of pop culture centers on romantic relationships: just try to make a playlist of pop songs not about love and you’ll see what I mean. Aros are often told that they just haven’t found the right person yet or that they’re mistaken about their own experiences. They can also be infantilized and treated as childish, and it can be deeply painful if friends choose to prioritize romantic relationships over their friendships. Economically, singleness can often make life difficult, especially as roommates move out to cohabitate or marry.
If you’re interested about finding out more about aromaticism, you can visit the arospecweek website and click on their link for more resources! The activist and model Yasmin Benoit from the United Kingdom often speaks out about the intersection of being Black, ace, and aro. She did a great interview with Pink News, which you can find online, and she’s active on social media as well. If you’re looking for fiction with aro main characters, Loveless by Alice Oseman is one of the most popular recommendations. Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger is one of my personal favorites, and one of the point of view characters in Tarnished by the Stars is acearo. There’s not a lot of aromantic representation out there, so support aro creators!
Refuge is also a great on-campus community for queer people and allies at Eastern. If you have questions, they’re more than willing to provide a safe space for you to search for answers.
This week, take some time to check out one of these resources. The aro flag has five stripes of dark green, light green, white, grey and black; keep an eye out for it. If you know someone who identifies as aro, ask how you can support them!
Sources: Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week – A Celebration of Aromantic Spectrum Experiences and Identities | February 20th – 26th, 2022 (arospecweek.org), Being single and living alone is incredibly expensive – Vox