A Reflection on the Carnival of Aros

After reading the entries to February’s Carnival of Aros prompt and many of the discussions that followed, we would like to start this post by apologizing for choosing a topic that alienated some aros. Most of us here at TAAAP are aroaces, and we did not do enough to seek out the opinions of aros who are not part of or do not feel included in the ace community.

We want to do better in the future, and we are starting by reflecting on the Carnival of Aros. The following post contains our thoughts on the events leading up to the launch of the Carnival of Aros, the Carnival itself, and the discussions that have followed.

After rebranding as The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project late last year to reflect our focus on aro and ace inclusion and advocacy, we wanted to more fully participate in the ace and aro communities online. We decided to host a month of the Carnival of Aces, as several of our members had contributed to or hosted one previously. Since it was on our mind, we decided we wanted to talk about the relationship between the ace and aro communities. We knew this relationship was strained, and we wanted to get a wide variety of perspectives on why that was, particularly since our goal is to advocate for both identities equally. Several of our members were especially enthusiastic about this prompt for more personal reasons, and were interested in reading about others’ experiences.

We reached out to Siggy at the Asexual Agenda (the blog that runs the Carnival of Aces), who was interested in the prompt but wondered if the Carnival of Aces should be rebranded to include aros. We did not like that idea, since we didn’t think the carnival would equally prioritize ace and aro prompts due to the fact that it had been ace-focused for so long. He then suggested asking an aro blogger to start a separate Carnival of Aros that would only intersect with the Carnival of Aces on this first prompt, and would be completely independent. We felt this was a great idea.

We thought having the launch topic intersect with the Carnival of Aces would be a good way to publicize the new Carnival of Aros. We meant for the topic to be inclusive of anyone on the ace or aro spectrum, but we did not realize how allosexual aromantic folks might feel about the first prompt topic for Carnival of Aros be connected to asexuality. Since we were involved in the whole process of how the prompt and the carnival came to be, we were not able to see how it would look to those who were not involved and who only saw the end result. There may have been solutions, had we thought of them; for instance, making our idea a later prompt for the Carnival of Aros, so it could be established as an aro-focused event first.

This post is coming over a month and a half after the February Carnival ended. We took some time to process the comments we read and to talk to some of the people who were hurt. We understand how despite our intentions, there were people who felt alienated by the way the Carnival of Aros rolled out. We are very sorry for our lack of foresight and the hurt that it caused. We hope that the Carnival of Aros can move past the rough start it had, and that we can all continue working together towards more resources and communities for all aromantic people.

In that spirit, we are proactively working to understand ahead of time what the aro community needs by reading non-ace aro perspectives and inviting non-ace aros to join us in the work that we do. However, our organization does not currently have members who represent every way of being ace or aro. While this is something we certainly plan on working to improve, we also know we will never be perfect in this regard because there are as many ways of being ace and aro as there are ace and aro people. We may not be able to anticipate all of the potential pitfalls of our actions, and as a result we may make mistakes in the future. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you ever think of a way we can improve any of our projects, or—even better— if you would like to become involved yourself.

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