This post is a submission by Blaise to the February 2019 Carnival of Aros/Carnival of Aces.
Sometimes I feel like the mythical Chinese dragon, in which I am Chinese, nonbinary, aromantic and asexual. Having all of these identities, it’s already hard for me to connect with others in the communities I can participate in. Especially the aro and ace communities.
Now, despite technically being an “asexual, period,” I’m one to emphasize my aromanticism when talking about my lived experiences and see the world under an aro-leaning lens. My time in the aro and ace communities haven’t been long, I’ll admit, but I think I’ve seen enough changes going on in the two communities to finally conclude that I don’t feel a sense of belonging in the ace community, despite being ace. (Not much with the aro and nonbinary communities either, but that’s besides the point I’m trying to make.)
Since the aro and ace communities have moved away from each other, in an attempt to create distinguishable communities, I feel that my presence as an aro ace, in the ace community, has been increasingly ignored. Especially in ace awareness events, where many aces say things like, “We’re ace but we can still feel romantic attraction!” or some variation of that statement. While it’s great to let allosexuals know that not all aces are aro, can they just say it in a way to not erase aro and aro-spec aces at the same time? I believe that by saying these statements frequently, the allosexuals will then have this expectation of aces, in how they all experience romantic attraction. And, well, for those who know a bit about asexuality and the romantic orientations, it’s going to be awkward breaking to them that.. at least for me, that I don’t experience romantic attraction either.
That reason is primarily why I’ve felt alienated from the ace community recently, and have felt slightly more at home with the aro community. The aro community has also made me realize that issues like amatonormativity is what personally affects me the most, more than compulsory sexuality. It’s to the point where I thought it could be called the alloromantic ace community, for the seemingly dominating narratives of alloro aces in the ace community. Not saying that I have gripes against alloro aces, but I guess this is what happens when the ace and aro communities try to make themselves distinctive to the rest of the LGBTQ+ community, and to cis straights. The shift in narratives dominant in these communities will inevitably erase the more marginalized members. It’s too bad; I wanted to connect with more aro people of colour, but I frankly find more aces of colour than aros of colour. For now, I suppose I gotta make do with who’s out there..
I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I guess the ace community can help re-invite aro aces into their conversations by using statements, especially for ace awareness, to include aro aces. For example, instead of saying “We don’t experience sexual attraction but we can still love [romantically]!”, maybe saying something like, “Some aces can experience romantic attraction, and some aces don’t. It depends on the individual.” And then, as a Chinese aro ace, there’s the issue with the whiteness that’s prevalent in both communities.
As for the aro community, I can say that as an aro ace, I understand that voices like mine are the loudest, which can overpower the voices of aro-specs and especially aro allosexuals. I run an Asian ace and aro space online, and I would be interested in knowing how to open up the space to include aro allosexual voices, especially since there are many alloro aces and aro-spec aces in this closed space I moderate. It can be intimidating to share experiences and thoughts as an aro allosexual when there is probably no one who can relate. Breaking the ice here seems difficult, and I will try in any way I can to give them a chance with the mic.