Jump to content
Emerald Cheetah

Aromantic Discrimination in LGBT community

Recommended Posts

So I had heard about the discrimination that happens in the LGBT+ community. However since I hadn't been identifying as Aro for long, I hadn't experienced this discrimination from anyone, let alone from someone in the community at all yet. Sadly, I just had a run in with this first hand a few weeks ago for the first time. I was talking with my German friend over the phone and he asked me to tell him about something new in my life. I was struggling to tell him something so random so he asked me about my love life. I hadn't really told many people of my Aromanticism, and he's not someone you can take seriously so I told him jokingly that "I don't have a love life". Then when he said that surely there must be someone, I decided to say the "A" word. I said "I'm Aromantic"...He was Bisexual so I thought he would be accepting but then he said " I don't believe you" and that shocked me. I had never experienced this so I didn't know how to respond. All I could say was "Why?". I tried to play it off as he told me things like that I should try dating, or as he asked me if there really is nobody that I would date, or as he suggested I was just socially awkward and not Aromantic but on the inside it was starting to hurt. It hurt even more after the conversation ended. As I reflected on the conversation I realized he had tried to "fix" me. He tried to get me to date. He tried to make me something I'm not, and it was a member of the LGBT+ community that did this! (The only good thing I got out of that is now I'm starting to think I might be asexual too, not heterosexual like I previously thought. but what a way to find that out...definitely not how I'd prefer to)

 

Now that I've experienced this, it is clear that this is a real problem. People think we don't exist. People think there's something wrong with us just as my friend suggested it was my social awkwardness that was the problem (though other worse informed people will suggest things like actual mental illness). And even worse, we are overshadowed in our own community and that has lead even our own peers to believing that we don't exist. I began noticing things I would overlook like how, and I'm sure you guys don't do that here, but when I look through the aromantic hashtag in instagram I'll see posts that deal with asexuality only. There's not a single mention of aromantics except in the hashtag! It's a bit of a pain having to scroll past those nonaromantic posts especially for people who aren't even asexual. It's also hard when some (not all!) alloromantic asexuals will throw aromantics under the bus to be accepted as well by saying things along the line of "Look! I have a partner. I experience love too! There's just no sex involved." Now I know not all Alloromantic Asexuals do this but some do and this is definitely damaging to the Aromantic community. I'm just beginning to notice how different we are from the rest of the LGBT+ community. We are separated from them by a common bond a lot of them share: love. And it's not just a small part of the asexual community that will do it, parts of the LGBT community will do it unknowingly when they argue their case saying that "it's just love." This helps them, but when they've been accepted by others,  the aromantic community won't be accepted because those same arguments will be used against us. It hurts us in the long run. Yeah I'm sorry this post is very all over the place! I'm kind of having a crisis. It's just, as other parts of the LGBT community are starting to be accepted, aromantics are struggling to get any recognition at all. We're growing slowly but I'd love to see more progress. But how? How can we make people see us and understand us? After this incident I feel like I'll be more hesitant in the future to come out to, well, anyone! 

  • Like 8
  • Sad 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's something the aro community, and especially us allo aros, have been fighting against for a long time. I'm sorry you had to find out about it this way.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Jot-Aro Kujo Yeah it's really a pain. I feel like I knew already about a lot of these things but I didn't want to think about it at first. I just brushed it to the side and hoped that it wasn't true. Sad to say, With every community I join, I just see more and more injustice. I can't wait to go to college and finally join the aro/ace club that's there. An online community is nice and all but I'd love to get out there and make a difference somehow.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what people fail to recognize is that there exists more than just romantic love or, at the very least, fail to recognize other forms of love as equal to romantic love. At least you can look forward to an ace/aro community upon going to college!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, this is hard. I decided not to come out to a friend who is very active in LGBT+ initiatives because they were displaying aphobic tendencies and comments for many years before I even discovered aromanticism. That certainly added to the death of that friendship. I hope your friend can be more open minded in the future. 

  • Sad 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Emerald Cheetah said:

Now that I've experienced this, it is clear that this is a real problem. People think we don't exist. People think there's something wrong with us just as my friend suggested it was my social awkwardness that was the problem (though other worse informed people will suggest things like actual mental illness). And even worse, we are overshadowed in our own community and that has lead even our own peers to believing that we don't exist.

What you describe is more an active process of denial and erasure.
I think it's worth asking if your "social awkwardness" could, in any way, be a consequence of your being aromantic in a highly amantonormative society.

 

10 hours ago, Emerald Cheetah said:

I began noticing things I would overlook like how, and I'm sure you guys don't do that here, but when I look through the aromantic hashtag in instagram I'll see posts that deal with asexuality only. There's not a single mention of aromantics except in the hashtag!

That isn't specific to Instragram. You find much the same thing on Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, etc.
 

10 hours ago, Emerald Cheetah said:

It's a bit of a pain having to scroll past those nonaromantic posts especially for people who aren't even asexual. It's also hard when some (not all!) alloromantic asexuals will throw aromantics under the bus to be accepted as well by saying things along the line of "Look! I have a partner. I experience love too! There's just no sex involved." Now I know not all Alloromantic Asexuals do this but some do and this is definitely damaging to the Aromantic community.

This is part the reason I strongly object to asexual organisations adding "and aro" to their names (or events). 
The current situation isn't entirely down to Alloromantic Asexuals. Since there are certainly Aromantic Asexuals who failed to challenge, even supported, the idea of aro as a subset of ace. Something which I see reflected in "aro language". 

 

11 hours ago, Emerald Cheetah said:

I'm just beginning to notice how different we are from the rest of the LGBT+ community. We are separated from them by a common bond a lot of them share: love. And it's not just a small part of the asexual community that will do it, parts of the LGBT community will do it unknowingly when they argue their case saying that "it's just love." 

Parts of the LGBT+ community manage to be biphobic or transphobic, ironic as that may appear.
There can also be acephobia, most likely towards heteroromantic asexuals. Similarly with arophobia, especially towards aromantic heterosexuals. Personally I find claims that either of these kinds of people are "straight" to resemble bovine excrement.
Something which I think is a factor here is "marriage equality". Which about romantic, rather than sexual, orientation.

 

9 hours ago, The Angel of Eternity said:

I think what people fail to recognize is that there exists more than just romantic love or, at the very least, fail to recognize other forms of love as equal to romantic love.

The problem does have both these attributes.
Often even if you can get people to recognise that "love" includes eros, philia, storge, pragma and agape they'll still place romance on a pedestal or at the top of a hierarchy.
Thus you'll get this sort of thing.

Quote

A queerplatonic (or quasiplatonic) relationship is a relationship that is not romantic but involves a close emotional connection (platonic) beyond what most people consider friendship. The commitment level in a queerplatonic relationship is often considered to be similar to that of a romantic relationship.

 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We tend to think LGBT people would understand because they have to face society too, but amatonormativity is not a straight thing, it is everywhere.  Though I fail to understand how people who faced erasure can erase people too.

Maybe that was just the surprise, and if you talk with him about it again he will understand?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Though I fail to understand how people who faced erasure can erase people too.

It's quite possible to get hierarchies/chains of erasure and oppression.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, but I really don't understand that. But anyway I am someone who tries to understand people instead of judging them, even when I disagree, so I can't get why a lot of people erase us.

(I mean, I see, they are scared because it leads them to think differently about things they were sure and it scared them, but still...)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah...in my experience with irl lgbtqa communities, people have accepted aromanticism but that's not the same as including it? Like....to start with people aren't well informed and need to be taught that it isn't just a subset of ace and stuff.  Then there's the casual amatonormative language, assuming everyone wants romantic relationships.  Then there's people simply forgetting to mention aromantic stuff.

 

The thing I've had the most trouble with is that romance repulsion just....is not respected. I can't establish boundaries about being repulsed by romance at all without being attacked for it.  At one point in my friend group I tried to request we limit or move romance in a d&d game because it made me uncomfortable and unable to enjoy it....and one of my friends at the time, who herself is ace (but biromantic), didn't respect that at all and basically said it was homophobic because it would "limit their ability to express their queerness"....clearly not caring about how it made me feel.  

 

(I previously wrote a tumblr post pertaining to this)

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Magni said:

Yeah...in my experience with irl lgbtqa communities, people have accepted aromanticism but that's not the same as including it?

The terms visibility, awareness, acceptance and inclusion are far from synonymous. Though it's not uncommon, within political advocacy, to assume they are or use the wrong one. 

 

19 hours ago, Magni said:

Like....to start with people aren't well informed and need to be taught that it isn't just a subset of ace and stuff.

It can be more difficult to teach people when they already misunderstand something.

 

20 hours ago, Magni said:

Then there's the casual amatonormative language, assuming everyone wants romantic relationships. 

Advocating "marriage equality" is far from casual. Without it being recognised as, potentially, indirectly arophobic.

 

20 hours ago, Magni said:

The thing I've had the most trouble with is that romance repulsion just....is not respected. I can't establish boundaries about being repulsed by romance at all without being attacked for it.

There are some very different social attitudes and standards towards sex or romance. Including finding them repulsive.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/9/2019 at 7:37 AM, Mark said:

What you describe is more an active process of denial and erasure.
I think it's worth asking if your "social awkwardness" could, in any way, be a consequence of your being aromantic in a highly amantonormative society.

That is an interesting question. I honestly don't know. Though to be honest, I'm not sure if I'm even socially awkward at all. I feel like people tend to misuse the word "Socially awkward" and use it for more situations that it's applicable. The only reason my German friend probably thinks I'm socially awkward is because from what he knows of me (we are online friends) I don't socialize as much as him (ex. I hardly ever go to parties nor do I like going to dances) because I'm very introverted, and I don't like hugging at all. And apparently that makes me socially awkward? However I don't think that's true. I have plenty of friends and I can socialize very well around people at my school despite me being quite different in personality from the other girls my age. I am quite eccentric but people still seem to like me. So I feel like my German friend was just trying to pull problems out of thin air and assign them to me. Reasons that would explain, to him, why I hadn't found the one or reasons why "I" didn't think I needed to find a lover. 

 

On 4/10/2019 at 6:22 AM, nonmerci said:

Maybe that was just the surprise, and if you talk with him about it again he will understand?

@nonmerci Perhaps. The first time I was just too shocked to say anything or fight back in any way. All I could do was deny any of his requests for me to date someone and to keep telling him that I don't like dating. I was too surprised to challenge him in any way but if the conversation does come up, I will be more prepared to challenge what he thinks. That's for sure. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry you have to go through that. My first instinct was to urge you to confront your friend about his hypocritical behavior, asking him how he'd feel if someone would tell him that his orientation is just something to fix. But then I realized that might not be what you want.

 

I've long had the reflection that aros concerns don't necessarily have that much in common with other parts of the LGBT+ movement. If I ever make an aro group IRL I think I'll try to make it a more general one of "people who're not into romance".

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It must be mind blowing for folk to find out that aromanticism exists because there's so much emphasis put on the romantic aspect of life.

Society seems to be saturated with it, even though there's a high failure rate with romance.

Maybe point your friend in the direction where he can learn more?

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...