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Holmbo

Should we "come out" more often, to promote visibility?

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When I read here online it seems everyone has different habits about how often they tell other people they are aromantic, and in what way. I personally almost never tell anyone, because I feel like the topic rarely come up. But lately I've been thinking about maybe bringing it up more often in casual conversations. Because it could help introduce people to the concept, and it would also make me more likely to find fellow aros.

Do you ever take aro visibility into account when you decide who to come out to? Do you use the term aromantic? Or do you talk more in general terms about uninterested in romantic relationship.

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When I come out, I use the word "aromantic", because it is the only way it sounds like an orientation. Or maybe say I am not attracted to people. But not "I am not interested" because it sounds too much like what a single allo could say if he is confortable in his situation. And what I said when I thought I just haven't fin the one yet. I don't feel that I am coming out if I don't make it clear that it is an orientation.

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Should we "come out" more often, to promote visibility?

 

Ohh dear. Um... no? Not necessarily for that purpose, no. I don't think coming out should ever be discussed in terms of "should"s. But I also think "visibility" isn't necessarily what any given community should be shooting for, either.

 

I've been working on writing some reflections on the word "visibility" lately, but I've been hesitating a bit because I wasn't sure if dissecting "visibility" would feel relevant enough to anyone -- but maybe, looking at this thread title, maybe it is. If I said "visibility isn't a good goal to have," would anybody be interested in those thoughts? 

 

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I tell very few people anything substantial about myself, mostly because I don't usually like answering people's questions. I find it stressful and very tiring. So... if you have the energy for that, great! I don't, though.

 

I mostly only "come out" online, where it's easy to copy and paste links to people that do all the hard explaining work on my behalf. :)

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I'm out to pretty much everyone at my school, because pretty much everyone there is accepting and I want to promote visibility in any way I can.

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It really depends on the context for me. Like if the person already has some understanding of queer terminology and I have time to explain things like the SAM then I'll use the term aromantic. Otherwise, I just tell people that I don't get crushes. 

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I have come out using the word aromantic. One of my friends was privy to my whole questioning process. But it is a very limited number of people who know.

Otherwise I don't think it is anyone's business, and after learning the things I know about some people I have met, I do wonder about discrimination (though not only orientation discrimination, but some of those people are closet sleazebags and I don't want to give them any information about anything)(....and I guess now I am much more cautious with new acquaintances because of bad experiences)

 

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10 hours ago, Coyote said:

If I said "visibility isn't a good goal to have," would anybody be interested in those thoughts? 

 

I would 🙂

Though I'd rather you write them here as comments

 

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16 hours ago, Holmbo said:

Though I'd rather you write them here as comments

 

I went and put some thoughts together yesterday, but it's probably a bit much for a forum post.

 

Short version: looking back at what's happened to the ace community as it's gotten more visibility should be instructive to the aro community that "more visibility" does not make for a good community goal -- because "visibility" is not the same thing as "acceptance." I think the (in)visibility paradigm is like being prisoners in a shadowy dungeon and deciding, "well, the problem here is that we need to turn on the lights and be seen" instead of "the problem here is that we're behind bars."

 

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As much as I think we need more visibility, I don't think anyone should feel like they have to come out to promote the visibility of their orientation. It wouldn't be a bad reason, but I don't want anyone to feel pressured to come out, for any reason.

That being said, I'm out to most of my friends, and some of my acquaintances and I won't lie, the reason I tend to be so out while at school in particular is in part because I'm an education major and my classmates really need to know this stuff. They rarely know anything about my sexual and romantic orientations especially, and I figure if they're going to be aphobic, they might as well do it to someone like me who can tell them why they need to stop, and not to one of their future students.

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On 4/8/2019 at 4:56 PM, Holmbo said:

Do you ever take aro visibility into account when you decide who to come out to? Do you use the term aromantic?

A bit, yeah, but I'm also not out to a lot of people as aromantic (it's mostly trusted friends). Sometimes I don't wanna say aromantic when I feel that this would receive more doubt that even "I don't want to date" does sometimes. I want to bring visibility to the orientation, but as always it's a choice between being true to yourself, talking to people on the level they're more likely to understand and not wanting to be doubted. 

 

On 4/9/2019 at 11:14 PM, Coyote said:

"more visibility" does not make for a good community goal -- because "visibility" is not the same thing as "acceptance."

This is before I read the link - but it seems impossible for me to gain acceptance without visibility...?? People need to *know* we exist before they can accept us. I think that the end goal is "acceptance", but it can't be done without visibility...?? Or do you mean to say that since "acceptance" is not clearly articulated as the end goal, our only goal is visibility?? (this may get an edit as I read the link) edit: nope, doesn't need an edit, except to add that: is the acceptance from the 5 people in the shadows better than visibility and other people who will find out about the orientation being able to find acceptance in orientation-specific communities...?? to me the second option is better tbh, bc the people who want to hate us will do it anyway. 

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there is always that decision of whether or not to use the word, and it depends on the situation for me, but mostly i do, because that's what you'd do for any other orientation.  like i haven't heard anyone say they're interested in relationships with people of more than one gender; they say they're bi/pan.  for us it will usually involve some more explaining but i am generally happy to do that.  because that's how i found out about aromanticism, right--i read about it, and if someone hadn't put that out there, who knows how long i would have not known and what that could have led to.  so it's good for (questioning) aros as well as allos.  but of course whether and how you come out is a personal decision.

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On 4/9/2019 at 10:14 PM, Coyote said:

I went and put some thoughts together yesterday, but it's probably a bit much for a forum post.

 

Short version: looking back at what's happened to the ace community as it's gotten more visibility should be instructive to the aro community that "more visibility" does not make for a good community goal -- because "visibility" is not the same thing as "acceptance." I think the (in)visibility paradigm is like being prisoners in a shadowy dungeon and deciding, "well, the problem here is that we need to turn on the lights and be seen" instead of "the problem here is that we're behind bars."

 

There's a difference between visability, awareness, acceptance and inclusion.
One complication is that aromanticism does already have some visibility from the ace community.
Leading to the idea that aro is a subset of ace.

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I tend to come out whenever I know the other person is also queer.  I also was a leader in my college's lgbtqa club and in general wanted to create more visibility for aros (and aspecs in general) and educate others about stuff, so I often would come out and educate others as a part of that.  And yeah I always explain with the actual words in these instances.  On the other hand, if talking to straight people, I'd be far more likely to just shrug it off as me not being interested in dating.  Overall, I don't think people should feel they have to come out to increase visibility, but if you're comfortable coming out in a space anyways, it's useful to feel confident in explaining things and it can be rewarding to educate others and increase visibility.

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I do think there is a need for visibility, because how can people accept us if they don't know about us. It is work though dealing with the questions, but again if they don't get answers then they definitely won't understand. It does help in some ways the online presence though. It can give a safer space for people to find out about themselves. Becoming confident with ourselves is always a precursor to any coming out and everyone is in a different situation. For example my church is looking to become an official inclusive church and I feel that as an aro ace person I potentially have a lot to give to that from a double A awareness perspective (who also happens to be in a same sex QPR) and I'd happily work with others and come out for this greater good. But everyone is in a different situation and our situations are changing over time. It would be more important though I think if there was no online presence (say back before the internet in person visibility would have greatly helped others). So in a nutshell I think it's a complicated question with a complicated answer!

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