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  • Writer's pictureDr. Allison Mitch (they/she)

Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week

Updated: Feb 26


February 18th marks the 10th anniversary and beginning of Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week.


Aromantic folk experience little or no romantic attraction; this identity is in contrast to alloromantics, or folks that do experience romantic attraction in a culturally expected way. There is granularity to aromanticism: greyromantic (experience limited/little romantic feelings), demiromantic (experience romantic attraction after there is an emotional connection), recipromantic (experience romantic attraction once they know a person of potential interest is romantically attracted to them). This granularity is the spectrum component of the aromantic spectrum (or arospec).


Aromantic folks might experience sexual attraction or might not, as romantic attraction and sexual attraction can be differentiated, in particular for those in the ACE community as well as other communities such as the ethically nonmonogamous community. Aromanitc folk can also have a variety of sexual orientations. 


Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week is important because it lends visibility to an underappreciated and underrepresented group of individuals, and representation matters, both to hold and respect the diversity of the human experience and to avoid the pathologization of certain people. A person who does not experience romantic attraction can feel alienated in our culture, in part because of our culture’s compulsory sexuality or the assumption that everyone experiences sexual and romantic attraction in the same way, and if a person doesn’t, they’re “wrong.” Aromantics are not “wrong”; they experience romantic attraction differently than what is generally assumed.  


Additionally, aromantic Spectrum folk do not center romance in their intimate relationships, a perspective from which many could learn. Parsing out essential components of relationships, such as romance, sex, shared meaning, shared hobbies, and shared identities, can offer our culture a prism of intimacies – how and why we might choose the people we do in our lives. For instance, what would it mean if our culture de-centered or limited assumptions about romantic feelings for our more intimate relationships? What else might we gain and give in our relationships besides romance? Would many in our culture anticipate being lonely without romance, and can our culture learn to appreciate the connection gain from non-romantic relationships? How would our culture’s definition of love change if we de-emphasized romantic relationships?


AroSpec folk have their own flag – a green, light green, white, gray, and black striped flag. According to Rainbow Stores.com, the “two green stripes represent the Aromantic spectrum. The white stripe represents the importance of platonic relationships and non-romantic love. The black and grey stripes represent the sexuality spectrum, recognising the diversity of the Aromantic community.” AroSpec folk also have a few cultural icons to follow, including Yasmin Benoit and Moses Sumney. Additionally, online resources are growing to help AroSpec folks as well as our culture in general, build understanding, acceptance, and support, such as https://www.arospecweek.org/


If you identify as AroSpec, thank you for being a part of our community. If you do not identify as AroSpec, thank you for reading and educating yourself about members of our community so that you can become better allies. 


Happy Aromantic Awareness Spectrum Week!



 

Written by Dr. Allison Mitch (they/she), PT (DPT), CSE, CSC (certified sexuality educator and counselor); copyright protected; please cite accordingly. For questions or to work with me, email ignitewellbeing.naperville@gmail.com 


Work with Allison by checking out their calendar here: https://calendly.com/ignitewellbeing-naperville or look for their events here: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/allison-mitch-41024584863

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