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LizBri

What would help people search for an aro social group?

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I wanted to gauge people's thoughts on here. I organise a local A-spec social group for both aros and aces. Some members are both aro and ace, others or one but not the other, and overall I refuse to gatekeep and accept anyone who will "benefit from an A-spec social group whatever related queer orientation they are". At the moment the name is Liverpool and Wirral Asexuality Social Group, and I mention aromantic in the description. I want the name to be searchable by anyone local who could benefit from the group, which is why the name is so important. I have thought about adding aromantic into the name but then wonder if it then suggests that it's for those who are aromantic AND asexual, which is not the case. I haven't been able to think up a solution so I thought I'd post on here to see if anyone else has any better ideas. I have to bear in mind what people will search for, so I would call it Liverpool and Wirral A-Spec social group but that doesn't help anyone searching (and potentially could be mixed up with autism spectrum). I already say Liverpool and Wirral instead of Merseyside due to searchability, but I am aware that aromantic isn't mentioned in the name. If anyone has any helpful suggestions I'll be very grateful! Thanks. Liverpool and Wirral Asexual and Aromantic Social is the best I've thought of but I am concerned with being "both only" implicated.

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I don't think people read "Asexual and Aromantic" as "Asexual AND Aromantic" (At least I wouldn't). But I think "Liverpool and Wirral Asexual and Aromantic Social" is too long as a name and the two "ands" sound strange. I personally would only include the city you meet in in the name. If I searched an aromantics group in my area I would try all the major citys in my area. It would also help if you just include one post on the website etc. where all the names of cities around are listed so it shows up with the search results. But this might not even be becessary, as google is quite good with showing search results from other cities even if they don't match the search query exactly. I think I would go with " Liverpool (area) Asexual and Aromantic Social", but I don't have any experience with any of this. This is just personal preference.

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On 7/3/2019 at 11:54 AM, LizBri said:

I wanted to gauge people's thoughts on here. I organise a local A-spec social group for both aros and aces. Some members are both aro and ace, others or one but not the other, and overall I refuse to gatekeep and accept anyone who will "benefit from an A-spec social group whatever related queer orientation they are". At the moment the name is Liverpool and Wirral Asexuality Social Group, and I mention aromantic in the description. I want the name to be searchable by anyone local who could benefit from the group, which is why the name is so important. I have thought about adding aromantic into the name but then wonder if it then suggests that it's for those who are aromantic AND asexual, which is not the case. I haven't been able to think up a solution so I thought I'd post on here to see if anyone else has any better ideas. I have to bear in mind what people will search for, so I would call it Liverpool and Wirral A-Spec social group but that doesn't help anyone searching (and potentially could be mixed up with autism spectrum). I already say Liverpool and Wirral instead of Merseyside due to searchability, but I am aware that aromantic isn't mentioned in the name. If anyone has any helpful suggestions I'll be very grateful! Thanks. Liverpool and Wirral Asexual and Aromantic Social is the best I've thought of but I am concerned with being "both only" implicated.

 

It would be worth reading the The "& Aro's" bandaid.

 

As it stands the group is alienating to allo aros. Both due to the name and the use of the ace of spades as a logo.
Changing the name of the group is unlikely to help. Especially if it's in any way obvious this is what's happened.

An alternative would be to start up a specifically aro group. Ideally with someone who wasn't asexual as an organiser.
 

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On 7/4/2019 at 11:26 AM, Mark said:

Ideally with someone who wasn't asexual as an organiser.

 

How come?

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@Mark That is interesting but, firstly I can't help being asexual, and what is wrong with the evolution of any group? I actually think on a local level aces and aros should band together. Many will be in the same group anyway. And what about people who are unsure, they know they are in the aro and/or ace spectrums but still working on their personal knowledge. This argument is the argument homosexuals use against the inclusion of homoromantic (asexuals). Ideally I like the broadest label for the group possible but sometimes you do need to select words for a name. We have always included aromantics as being in the same "A" area of the queer spectrum, but if people want to be pedantic and take things personally that's not actually there then those people are impossible to please. I have been involved with other queer spectrum groups and we get the same misunderstanding directed at aromantics and asexuals, why behave the same as them just because I say all As should work together. As the name was (I've since changed it), aromantics were purely an add on. But if people want to take issue with me being aro ace as an organiser, I would always say, expect people to take issue with your identity also.

And as for the logo, it is on my to do list to sort out, but not being particularly computer creative it will take time.

And I have looked at the thread suggested but would always say it depends on the group in question. Obviously a book reading group will have different approaches, but still couldn't a group have an aro looking book one month, ace looking book another month, that way not only do you have inclusion but people listening to each other. As it is it's a social group, usually over coffee. If people want separate groups for every orientation however closely aligned they are then so be it, they can start their own.

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I don't think that "Ace and Aro" implies both, as it is. I think the logo definitely needs work, but, as you said, that takes know-how and time, so doing your best to make it as obvious as possible that it's both is good. I'm in agreement that "Liverpool Area Ace and Aro Group" is pretty generally a good and used format in many areas.

 

The biggest thing is the language change - changing the group name to "Ace and Aro", changing the language used in discussions to "a-spec"...these are all things that need to be done that don't require as much effort, but are important to overall inclusiveness. 

 

On 7/4/2019 at 10:26 AM, Mark said:

An alternative would be to start up a specifically aro group. Ideally with someone who wasn't asexual as an organiser.

 

As much as this suggestion is well intentioned, this isn't practical or...what they were asking? No offense at all, @Mark, but this comes across super unfriendly to the concept of allowing a group to grow to be inclusive, even if it wasn't originally. The group is currently alienating even to me if the group is called "Liverpool Aces Meetup" or something along those, because I identify more with my aro-ness. However, that suggestion is not helpful or practical, unless you're in the Liverpool area and want to start a group yourself.

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On 7/3/2019 at 6:54 AM, LizBri said:

so I would call it Liverpool and Wirral A-Spec social group but that doesn't help anyone searching (and potentially could be mixed up with autism spectrum).

Firstly, it wouldn't be mixed up with the autism spectrum, a-spec has been used specifically for ace & aro, and the misconception that it is appropriating language from the autistic community was spread by exclusionists to discredit us.  As for shortening name while still conserving searchability....I'd say change "Social Group" to a single word, such as community or just group.  Additionally, you can reframe the way it mentions the places, so perhaps "Ace and Aro Group (at/of) Liverpool & Wirral".  This would make the actual name "Ace & Aro Group" with a sub-title for the places.  Aside from the name, you might also want to mention in the description of your group that it is inclusive to "Anyone who is ace and or aro, including aro allos" etc. to make it more explicitly inclusive.

Secondly, one subtle thing which I think actually is very impactful is being cognizant of the colors you use on things.  If I see an organization that's labelled ace and aro, but everything on their website/etc is purple and there's no green, then I'd interpret that to mean they're heavily ace-focused and they haven't actively worked towards aro inclusion aside from just tagging it on to the name.  So visual representation of stuff should generally be equivalent.  (On a related point, if you're going to list out demisexual and gray asexual in something alongside aromantic, include the corresponding aromantic identities too because otherwise it kinda implies that aromantic is yet another sub-category of asexual when it's not).

Other suggestions for community building & inclusion:

I talked to some people who organized an ace group who were talking about how there was a need to have some meetings for demisexual/gray-asexual/sex favorable aces to talk about those things while not making sex-repulsed aces uncomfortable, so balancing those community needs.  Point being, it might be useful to have some meetings which are specified as open to more discussion on sexual things, making it more welcoming to aromantic allosexuals along with aces who are more sex-favorable.  (though, feasibility of that kinda depends on if you or another organizer feel comfortable facilitating such discussions, or if enough people in your group would be interested in such a thing, but it is something to consider).

Another thing to consider is romance repulsion; one of the things which initially made me more distanced from the ace community was that so many discussions seemed to revolve around romance.  And this doesn't mean having to make it outright not allowed, but generally making it clear that people who are romance repulsed can be accommodated to feel comfortable in the discussion, similar to how you'd treat sex repulsion.  (I've had ace people I knew irl outright dismiss me when I expressed discomfort with something because of romance repulsion, and generally issues with that have made me uncomfortable in an irl queer group because it was made clear that I couldn't even express my discomfort without people getting irritated with me about it, because unfortunately society really doesn't respect romance repulsion).

Resources you might be interested in:

https://www.aromanticism.org/news-feed/community-building This talks about community building stuff in general, but there is some stuff specifically about aro spaces and stuff too.

https://www.aromanticism.org/en/resources-1 This has lots of aro resources, but if you scroll down to "offline resources" there are several groups listed which might give you some inspiration for naming things.

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Maybe write aro and ace instead of ace and aro? That's not a big thing, but as some aros are always suspicious that "and aro" had been added to be inclusive but that it is mainly an ace group (in particular aro allo doesn't feel at their place), it could sens a good message for them to write aro first.

On 7/4/2019 at 5:26 PM, Mark said:


An alternative would be to start up a specifically aro group. Ideally with someone who wasn't asexual as an organiser.

The problem then is that an aro ace could say exactly the same thing : not an allo as an organiser. Honestly I don't think quality depends on the sexuality of the organizer. But on his desire to incluse everybody and to are aware of all the problematics. Chosing an organiser according to his sexuality would not sent a good message. I understand that aro allo are scared to be left being, but I think it would not be productive.

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Thanks everyone. I have changed the name to Liverpool Asexual &/or Aromantic Social, with a majority green based icon (there's a little bit of purple in there). I would add the picture here but I'm not that technology-minded, my skill is more in the meeting up for coffee! That said, it's amazing what you can do on your phone with photo editor!!

Regarding the way around be it aromantic, asexual or asexual, aromantic; it struck me that I for one would read aromantic (&) asexual as "aro-ace" specific. I know that people read stuff differently and it can be one of the most frustrating things about language because it's always the words plus the brain!

 

I give you the general style of the group: it is a social group where we meet up primarily to meet other a-spec people where we wouldn't necessarily meet otherwise, we talk about everything from football to a-spec related topics, but I don't ever expect anyone to talk about a-spec topics unless they want to. It is chilled out social first and foremost, and I always emphasize that it is group directed. I know there are a few alloromantic asexuals in the group, but the far bigger amount of members are those either aromantic or haven't a clue about their romantic orientation. There are also grey aces or those who shrug and just know "they are just not really that interested somehow". If the group can be some sort of in person support to greater self awareness irrespective of the romantic side or the sexual. It isn't just for those who know full well their exact labels, it certainly took me a year to work out my aromanticism after finding out that there is a difference.

I am forever encouraging others in the group to step up and help organise, or at least communicate their needs to me. Sometimes blood and stone comes to mind which I do find frustrating.

But yes, I have always had the founding principle that the group is for the specific member needs as they evolve as members join etc. I will always be reviewing it all to make sure it is relevant to the group as much as possible, and it struck me recently that it had evolved in many ways since it's first meetings. Obviously there will always be someone I can't please, but those people I encourage to actually step up and join me as an organiser and work with me to cover more needs.

The image is on here. I'm always looking at the description to tweak it, and then I get frustrated and feel the need to make coffee!!!

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Though I do relate personally to relating to being aromantic first before being asexual because I'm much more romantic-repulsed than sex-repulsed, and this definitely affects my personal situation more. The problem is that, we all come from our own very personal situation and perhaps I need to draft something along the lines of respecting the diversity of the a-spec group. Need to have a think about that though! I think all queer related groups have these political difficulties 

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"Asexual &/or Aromantic" sounds good to me tbh, or at least as good as you can really get in a situation like this- I'm sure people could nitpick for days, but finding something that gets the job done is the real point.

Also, speaking as an allosexual aromantic, who heavily advocates for allo aro rights and for us to have spaces we're comfortable in... I, personally, do NOT like the idea of saying that there needs to be a specifically aro group, with a non-ace organizer. It just feels kind of... Exclusionary, but in reverse this time? Yes, it's important to have safe spaces for allo aros/aroaces who identify more with the aro side, where we're not just treated as an add-on to asexuality, but I really don't think we should go so far as to push out our ace siblings. And especially because there are so few allo aros with an offline presence, and because community organization takes work- It'd be nice in theory to have a group run by an allo aro, sure, but for practical purposes? Where are you going to conjure up an allo aro who's willing and able to run a group? I'd much rather have an aro group run by an aroace than no aro group at all. And ideally I think the best thing overall would be to have a group that's co-run by multiple aros, including both aroaces and allo aros.

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@Jot-Aro Kujo I'd love to build up a group of a-spec diverse organisers, but I of course have to start somewhere, frustrating as it is 🙂

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On 7/7/2019 at 8:04 AM, LizBri said:

And as for the logo, it is on my to do list to sort out, but not being particularly computer creative it will take time.

 

I could maybe help with that.

 

This one, right? (I tried clicking your link in an earlier post, but without a facebook account it wouldn't let me see it)

 

On 7/7/2019 at 10:56 PM, Magni said:
On 7/3/2019 at 5:54 AM, LizBri said:

I would call it Liverpool and Wirral A-Spec social group but that doesn't help anyone searching (and potentially could be mixed up with autism spectrum).

Firstly, it wouldn't be mixed up with the autism spectrum, a-spec has been used specifically for ace & aro,

 

FTR a more legitimate concern would be people not knowing what "a-spec" even means or that it's intended to include the aromantic umbrella. Terms like "asexual" and "aromantic," while unfamiliar to a lot of people, are at least words that you can kind of guess at -- whereas "a-spec" is completely opaque unless you're already familiar with it (tbh if left to my own devices, I wouldn't have even guessed that "spec" was supposed to be short for "spectrum"!). So, even if someone does identify as aromantic and asexual already, if that someone is more oldschool and/or doesn't read any Tumblr blogs, I wouldn't expect them to remotely recognize the term "a-spec."

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@Coyote yep that's the group. Yeah, I think I'll keep a-spec to just the descriptions and the like. Basically I want the name to be able to be found if someone searches for Liverpool aromantic OR Liverpool asexual (other local areas in Merseyside like Wirral will link to Liverpool in the searches), while not alienating either alloromantic asexuals or aromantic allosexuals. This is the main reason why I wouldn't call it a-spec in the name because it wouldn't be found. I would love for others to get more involved with the organising and I keep on putting it out there. I am thinking of how best to tweak the descriptions to fit the inclusive needs of the group (but also to give the inclusive stance of the group out to members as I know we have a wide range of members), I am reluctant to start listing terms if I can at all help it because once you start listing terms you always accidentally alienate someone you've left off. 

 

Anyway, thanks everyone for your imput. It's nice to get other's imput at times. 

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