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HotRamen

Anyone intrested in starting/attempting a west coast (California, Oregon, Washington) aro group/ meetup with me?

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So i've been thinking about how aro activism could be better. at the moment it's been mostly online but i wanna  have actual meetups in person. and i think it would be good visibility if we could have an aro group in a pride parade that was separate from ace groups. This doesn't feel like it can be obtained too quickly though, first i need people who are interested, second for now i think reaching out to ace groups would be able to help us eventually have a separate group. so far i've joined a facebook group for portland aces (like just today) and i plan to talk about this with them. so as a start maybe trying to have equal aro representation alongside aces at pride parades would be helpful but eventually i want to have an aro-centric group. this is because it's important for aro to be seen as its own orientation and not just a part of asexuality. Who is Interested? and do people have questions or any advice for starting something like this?

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That sounds really cool! I think you might have a hard time collecting the interest locally, it really depends on how many people are already self-aware in your area. But once you sort things out and get the ball rolling with your plans for pride and maybe info sessions or pamphlets you will probably be able to attract more people from the greater population :) My advice would be to check out what the ace community is doing to see what they do well and what they don't do so well, then think about how it could be applied to your ideas, and mainly I think just trying to get the word out about what aromanticism is will be helpful. 

I would be interested but sadly I am in the wrong country/continent/hemisphere. 

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Ok so i've been doing some more thinking and maybe making a facebook group for this would be a start. on top of that as far as meetups go i still don't know any people who would be interested in this but i was thinking for now voice calls or video chats would be a way to do meetings so i was thinking of making a discord server for that and maybe using skype or something. then if there's enough people in an area meetups could happen. before i start making things though i want to know if there are people in the area that are interested in doing this kind of activism. and if anyone has more suggestions that would be great.

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@HotRamen is there a specific part of the west coast that you are most interested in? I run a bay area / northern california ace group and know a couple people who run other various west coast groups, so if you are interested in resource sharing with other ace groups in any particular area I could try to help get you in touch (if you aren't already). I'd be interested and available to help out if you plan to do any SF bay area events. I can also give some general advice based on my experience with organizing ace meetups. 

 

Fwiw we I had a fairly spontaneous one-off aro ace meetup here for ASAW that was hastily planned because I forgot what week it was, and even with that poor planning I got a good 8 people or so. So I think if you reach out to local ace and LGBTQIA spaces to start off with, there might be more interest than you think, especially if you are near a large city.

 

As far as general meetings go, I would recommend considering a meetup.com group as well as a facebook page - my local ace group that I run has had a lot of success with people finding us through meetup that wouldn't have found us otherwise. You do need a paid subscription to start a new meetup group, but, existing hosts can host I think up to 3? groups, so if you can find another meetup group who is willing to help get you off the ground, their organizer may be able to set up the group and make you a co-mod to avoid additional fees. (For example, the SF ace meetup group and the LA ace group are currently do this)

 

I'd also recommend scheduling a bunch of initial meetups around things that you like to do anyway, like going to a cafe for lunch or to read a book, or walking in a park, seeing a movie, getting ice cream, etc. Just bring a good book or some podcasts so that even if no one shows up to the first few you can still make it a fun outing for yourself. If you can have that at a regularly recurring time (like the X o'clock on the Nth saturday or sunday of the month) that can help get the initiative going to encourage other people to also show up, though it may take some time.

For pride parades specifically, I definitely recommend trying to find an ace group to mooch off of if possible - parade registration fees can be a couple hundred dollars in some of the bigger cities, but if you march with another group but have two signs and leave like a 15 foot gap in the middle of the two halves of your group it's much cheaper :) 

 

The other route I would suggest is to see if there are any "alternate" pride marches in your area that are in smaller suburbs or cities near a main city - for example, Oakland pride vs. SF pride or Long Beach pride vs. LA Pride for some examples. These are often cheaper, less crowded, and less intimidating for a first time group. They are also usually on a different weekend than whenever the pride march in the biggest city in your area is.

I also have some notes on planning pride parade groups here - it was originally made for ace groups but a lot of the advice applies to any small, new groups.

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I guess Eugene Oregon would be my main area I run a small and almost nonexistent ace/aro group at the college currently and I want more members. Portland is the closest pride parade for me and I know there is an ace group there. My main goal is to have aro not be seen as an ace thing but I guess for now I’ll just have to figure out how to balance the two groups in one group. I want a place where all aros feel welcome ace or not. But ya that’s what I got. Sigh separating the two seems harder than i thought. Well it already seemed hard but still.

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If you're a university student, I would check if your school has any general lgbtqia groups that march in the parade and whether you can join them with a big giant aro sign. (For example, my university sponsors a parade contingent every year that invites any students and alumni of any identity to join).

 

In general, all the recommendations I made above about working with ace groups can also apply to any other non-ace groups. General student LGBTQIA groups are also another option to look into if you don't want to be at directly associated with asexuality specifically since they already have a bunch of only semirelated identities joining in together anyway.

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I'm in Seattle and I'm super intrested in helping to start aro groups over here,  but Portland and Eugene are both hard for me to get to without a car 😔 If you need any long distance support let me know, I think it's important for these groups to get started and I have some exsperiance organizing other groups so if you're struggling with that I might have some ideas

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I might take that up and ask if the school lgbt+ group does things at the Eugene pride festival. I also know that there is a train that goes from Seattle to Eugene and probably the other way around I don’t know if a train or a plane is cheaper but I at least know where the train station is.

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