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LauraG

Looking for contributions to a book on aromanticism

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I am working on writing a book on aromanticism and asexuality that will be geared towards people who work with aros and aces in a professional setting, such as mental health professionals, medical doctors, and employees at queer centers. My team and I are looking for people who are willing to fill out some questionnaires about their experiences that can be used either as direct quotes or to inform our book in a general sense (your choice).

 

We are specifically looking for more aros who are not ace, and aros and aces of color. (Though any and all responses from aces and aros are welcome!)

 

If you are interested, please take our survey. If you would like to read more about this project, read this link.

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13 hours ago, LauraG said:

I am working on writing a book on aromanticism and asexuality that will be geared towards people who work with aros and aces in a professional setting, such as mental health professionals, medical doctors, and employees at queer centers. My team and I are looking for people who are willing to fill out some questionnaires about their experiences that can be used either as direct quotes or to inform our book in a general sense (your choice).

I would say please do NOT do this. Conflation of aros and aces is something which is a serious problem.
A much better idea would be two books. One about aros and one about aces.
This survey might be helpful.
 

14 hours ago, LauraG said:

We are specifically looking for more aros who are not ace, and aros and aces of color. (Though any and all responses from aces and aros are welcome!)

 

If you are interested, please take our survey. If you would like to read more about this project, read this link.

If genuinely want attract the contributions of aro allos then having an email address and website which is about "Ace awareness" seems to be exactly the wrong way to go about this.
I can't see any mention that aro allos even exist on the website. Indeed the implication is that everyone involved in this project is ace.
IME aro allo experience can be very different from those of aro aces or allo aces. 

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I agree with what Mark said. While the idea seems... nice, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to put them both in the same book (provided you make sure it’s explicitly clear that the two are not the same), as a bisexual aro myself, I am wary of the asexual community. Oh, here’s something you can put in your book: Aromantics are often erased, being conflated with asexuality but rarely acknowledged as more than a footnote, and allo aros who want support must be forced to stay quiet about one half of their identity depending on which community they’re in. 

 

Anyway, I would love to potentially do my part to help fellow aro allos like me and I would like to be optimistic about this, but in addition to the above mentioned things, you haven’t really given enough details for me to fully trust this. I would like answers to the following questions, as best as possible:

 

1. Who, specifically, is writing this book? Who is editing it? Who is the publisher?

2. What measures will be taken to both confirm and protect the identities and personal testimonies of those involved? How do we know we’re not just giving you our life stories for free, to do what you want with?

3. Will this book be accessible to your average reader, or is it strictly a professional manual?

4. When will it be published?

5. How much of the book will be devoted to aromanticism and aro-specific issues? What about allo aros? I will not just smile and obediently let my identity be a paragraph in asexuality’s story yet again. I want our voices to be heard equally. 

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Maybe it would be more satisfying for people if you separated the book in three parts of equal sizes : allo aces, aro aces, and aro allos? I think that the way we experiment aromanticism and/or asexuality vary a lot considering or sexual/romantic orientation, and that it would give a better look to separate things like that.

 

 

That being said, I really liked the idea, and I will gladly participated when I'll have the time.

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On 9/20/2018 at 12:57 PM, Mark said:

I would say please do NOT do this. Conflation of aros and aces is something which is a serious problem.
A much better idea would be two books. One about aros and one about aces.
This survey might be helpful.

 

It is a problem, and I hope that by having a book about both that compares and contrasts the two, we can help solve this problem.

 

On 9/20/2018 at 12:57 PM, Mark said:

If genuinely want attract the contributions of aro allos then having an email address and website which is about "Ace awareness" seems to be exactly the wrong way to go about this.
I can't see any mention that aro allos even exist on the website. Indeed the implication is that everyone involved in this project is ace.
IME aro allo experience can be very different from those of aro aces or allo aces. 

 

Yes, I realize our branding is very ace-heavy, and I apologize for that. Re-branding to be equally inclusive of aromanticism is actually on our next meeting agenda. I, personally, have been fighting really hard to make sure we aren't leaving behind aros in the accomplishments we have made in the past year. The work we have done and what we are doing now is much more inclusive of aromanticism than our website necessarily suggests, and if we keep going the direction we are going, I believe we can be the first organization that is truly equal opportunity for both aces AND aros.

 

We do currently have one non-ace aro person involved in the project (yes, I know that is not enough). If any other non-aces are interested in being involved, we would be happy to meet with you and discuss you joining our team (this would probably involve an informal interview, as most members of our team are personal references).

 

On 9/20/2018 at 1:44 PM, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

Oh, here’s something you can put in your book: Aromantics are often erased, being conflated with asexuality but rarely acknowledged as more than a footnote, and allo aros who want support must be forced to stay quiet about one half of their identity depending on which community they’re in. 

 

Both of which are categories that we already plan to write about, we just would like testimonials to support and confirm what we include in the book.

 

On 9/20/2018 at 1:44 PM, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

Anyway, I would love to potentially do my part to help fellow aro allos like me and I would like to be optimistic about this, but in addition to the above mentioned things, you haven’t really given enough details for me to fully trust this. I would like answers to the following questions, as best as possible:

 

1. Who, specifically, is writing this book? Who is editing it? Who is the publisher?

2. What measures will be taken to both confirm and protect the identities and personal testimonies of those involved? How do we know we’re not just giving you our life stories for free, to do what you want with?

3. Will this book be accessible to your average reader, or is it strictly a professional manual?

4. When will it be published?

5. How much of the book will be devoted to aromanticism and aro-specific issues? What about allo aros? I will not just smile and obediently let my identity be a paragraph in asexuality’s story yet again. I want our voices to be heard equally. 

 

1. The people writing the book are currently mostly members of the Washington, DC ace community, and people that we know personally (including one non-ace aro person so far, though we would like to invite more if possible). The publisher who approached us is Jessica Kingsley Publishers. They mostly publish books on autism, social work, therapy, etc., but they have a line on gender diversity that they are expanding to include sexuality. They really wanted to publish a book on asexuality, and seeing how you can't discuss asexuality without bringing up aromanticism (nearly half of all aces are aro, you need to make sure people aren't conflating them, etc.), we decided to make the book equally inclusive of aromanticism, instead of making it an afterthought, as you said.

 

2. We will not use your stories in or outside of the book unless you give us permission to do so, and we will attribute the stories to the name you provide us. You will have in writing that we will not use your information outside of what you give us permission for both when taking the survey and in the email you receive from us with the questionnaires. We realized that we may want to use some testimonials for other work we do, such as presenting at conferences and in informational materials such as pamphlets, so contributors will have the chance to opt-in to having their stories used in that manner (and they will not be used in that manner unless the person in question opts-in.

 

3. Accessible to the average reader.

 

4. Roughly in 1-2 years. We are compiling this information in preparation to submit our book proposal. Once the proposal is accepted, we will have 12-18 months to write our book.

 

5. The book will be as equal between aromanticism and asexuality (both independent of each other and together) as we can possibly make it. It will not be three equal parts, as nonmerci suggested, but rather go through a series of topics and address both orientations as equally as possible. Currently, the chapters we are planning are (note that these are working titles, and I might play around with the order of the words aromantic and asexual...): 

  • Basics of Asexuality and Aromanticism
  • History of the Pathologization of Asexual and Aromantic People
  • Embracing an Asexual or Aromantic Identity
  • Relationships
  • Expressing Sexuality 
  • Intersections with Other Identities
  • Seeking Care

There may be times when one or the other orientation is prioritized over the other based on the topic. For example, topics like libido and masturbation or medical issues surrounding hormones will probably veer mostly ace, whereas topics like platonic partnerships and non-romantic sexual relationships will veer mostly aro. We also hope to include a discussion of the relationship between the ace and aro communities in the intersections chapter. The reason we are specifically trying to reach out to non-ace aros is because we want represent that experience equally in our book, and we recognize that we are not as well equipped to do that experience justice on our own.

 

For some chapters, there might be some barriers to equal inclusion that we might not be able to overcome. For example, the history of pathologization chapter is going to be more of a review of asexuality and aromanticism in medicine and research generally, which presents a problem as aromanticism is largely ignored in that field. In that case, we will have a discussion of why there is not as much information available and hope that in the future, reading our book might motivate someone to actually do research on aromanticism.

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I have to admit that as an allo aro, like others in this thread I wasn't thrilled when I checked out your website and found it to be almost exclusively about asexuality. All the meetup groups are for aces. All the resources are about aces. The only mention I could find anywhere of aro issues as distinct from ace issues was a single line in the takeaways from the Ace/Aro Caucus: "As asexuality gains more recognition, the aro community continues to be erased, even within the a-spec community." No kidding! Other than this line, every mention of aro issues on your website is tacked on as an addendum to ace issues - where aros are even mentioned it's always "ace/aro" or "ace and aro".

 

I'm glad that you're planning to improve this, I really am. And I fully believe that you are approaching this project in good faith. But when you say you've been "shocked" by encounters with people you still work with in terms of their attitudes to aromanticism... I mean that does make me sceptical about what exactly this book is going to turn out to be. Nobody likes to be tacked on as a grudging afterthought.

 

As others have mentioned you may also want to think about your approach to data privacy issues. As a European I don't see any indication that you've taken GDPR into consideration - if you want to collect any kind of personal data from European citizens (including names or email addresses) you must comply with the GDPR laws that came into effect earlier this year.

 

I don't mean to sound overly negative, as I do really like the idea of the book, and I think it could be really really helpful! I'm being critical because I want it to do well and I think solving these issues will be important to make sure it does do well.

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On 9/20/2018 at 6:56 PM, eatingcroutons said:

As others have mentioned you may also want to think about your approach to data privacy issues. As a European I don't see any indication that you've taken GDPR into consideration - if you want to collect any kind of personal data from European citizens (including names or email addresses) you must comply with the GDPR laws that came into effect earlier this year.

Thank you for pointing this out. Being from the US, I didn't realize this would possibly impact what we are doing. After doing some research, I am not sure that the law applies to us as we are not providing goods or services or monitoring people's behavior (it is a little less strict if your organization is not located in the EU). It also seems that we did cover most if not all of the bases that the law covers anyway, even if it was not in the standard practice format that large businesses use. But thank you for pointing it out, we will definitely keep this in mind as we continue our work, and possibly look for legal advice to ensure we are doing this properly.

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As a university graduate student (in the USA) I have an IRB procedure that I must complete before conducting any research involving human subjects. I urge you to be very careful, as U.S. law requires that most human related research be approved by an IRB before data collection can begin. This includes quantifiable and qualitative data types. Since this project likely falls under the prescriptions of the National Research Act of 1974, you will likely have to contact an independent IRB board before you can collect data or risk penalty under federal law (more info here - http://www.consortiumofirb.org/faq/).

 

For the record, I think what you are doing is very cool. I will be happy to participate once I am assured that my data is being governed in accordance with an IRB procedure.

 

 

 

 

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On 9/20/2018 at 6:56 PM, nonmerci said:

Maybe it would be more satisfying for people if you separated the book in three parts of equal sizes : allo aces, aro aces, and aro allos? I think that the way we experiment aromanticism and/or asexuality vary a lot considering or sexual/romantic orientation, and that it would give a better look to separate things like that.

Three parts, volumes or (even) separate books.
 

On 9/20/2018 at 11:17 PM, LauraG said:

It is a problem, and I hope that by having a book about both that compares and contrasts the two, we can help solve this problem.

Or it could exacerbate this.
 

On 9/20/2018 at 11:17 PM, LauraG said:

5. The book will be as equal between aromanticism and asexuality (both independent of each other and together) as we can possibly make it. It will not be three equal parts, as nonmerci suggested, but rather go through a series of topics and address both orientations as equally as possible. Currently, the chapters we are planning are (note that these are working titles, and I might play around with the order of the words aromantic and asexual...): 

  • Basics of Asexuality and Aromanticism
  • History of the Pathologization of Asexual and Aromantic People
  • Embracing an Asexual or Aromantic Identity
  • Relationships
  • Expressing Sexuality 
  • Intersections with Other Identities
  • Seeking Care

There may be times when one or the other orientation is prioritized over the other based on the topic. For example, topics like libido and masturbation or medical issues surrounding hormones will probably veer mostly ace, whereas topics like platonic partnerships and non-romantic sexual relationships will veer mostly aro. We also hope to include a discussion of the relationship between the ace and aro communities in the intersections chapter. The reason we are specifically trying to reach out to non-ace aros is because we want represent that experience equally in our book, and we recognize that we are not as well equipped to do that experience justice on our own.

 

For some chapters, there might be some barriers to equal inclusion that we might not be able to overcome. For example, the history of pathologization chapter is going to be more of a review of asexuality and aromanticism in medicine and research generally, which presents a problem as aromanticism is largely ignored in that field. In that case, we will have a discussion of why there is not as much information available and hope that in the future, reading our book might motivate someone to actually do research on aromanticism.

I think your "basics" needs to include the split attraction model and the assumption of periorientation.
Covering how the two are often conflated. e.g. "marriage equality" being about romantic rather than sexual orientation. Similarly amantonormativity is more about romance than sex.

Probably you also need to cover and debunk aro (and ace) stereotypes. In a broader sense than pathologisation and research.
It's also possible that arophobia is being conflated with singleism in research.

There's things like non-romantic sexual relationships being highly taboo whereas non-sexual romantic relationships often are not. Especially when it comes to religious people and children. Where they can be seen highly positively.. The ability to enguage in "romantic coded" activities outside of romantic relationships is also likely to be a lot more applicable to aros than aces. To aro aces potentially this may only apply to non sexual romantic coded activities. With the complication that some of these, e.g. kissing and physical affection in general can be considered sexual, sensual or romantic.

Is "Expressing Sexuality" intended to cover expressing sexuality without romance? 

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3 hours ago, Mark said:

There's things like non-romantic sexual relationships being highly taboo whereas non-sexual romantic relationships often are not. Especially when it comes to religious people and children. Where they can be seen highly positively..

I'm not sure about that. It's true that some people value the idea of not having sex before marriage, but at the same time, if you say to someone you're still virgin while you're an adult, they'll think there is something wrong with you. I always think society is very ambiguous about that : they condemned sex, but at the same time, they oversexualized eveyrthing, and being virgin is taboo.

I saw a show who invited people who don't like sex, and a lot of people said that they were not a couple if they don't have sex, that it was like being friend with the person… They also say they just lack of self-confidence, some people even say that a girl who dated a guy was in fact lesbian just because she wasn't sexually attracted to him. Even the host asks her if they see a therapist… Of course, there were people to defend them and say that sex doesn't equal love (and somehow show that they value love more than sex with words like "love is a wonderful and powerful thing, you can reduce it to sexual attraction"...). But in general, most of people didn't understand how you can be in a couple and Don't want sex. And even in the case of people who wait till marriage, there is still they expectation that they'll have sex once day. And except in a religious context, I saw a lot of people say that waiting till marriage was weird in the 21 century...

 

So yeah, non-romantic sexual relationships are more demonized; but I Don't think that non-sexual romantic relationships are seen as positive and not taboo.

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I think it's a good idea to have a shared book for aro and ace. Because your sexual orientation will be essential for your experience as aro and vice versa.

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Cool idea! I'm glad someone is doing this. Are there actually any books about this sort of thing out there at all? I filled in the survey thingy.

 

As a random side note, one of the reasons I've avoided doctors and such for most of my life is because I fear they would invalidate me somehow. I've especially avoided mental health people just in case they'll say I'm crazy and lock me up.

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