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How various sexualities view aro

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I don't know the correct words for this, so please excuse any unintentionally offensive statements. I truly don't mean to offend anyone, and that's actually a huge part of my issue in this post!! 

 

I've had a small group of 3 close friends for 12+ years now. We all met through a common recreational activity, and stuck together. I made a big move away from our home town about 6 years ago. So it's the 3 of them back home and me out on my lonesome. We still keep in touch, but I always feel the strain. 

 

Anyways, less than a year before I moved away, one of my friends came out as lesbian. And not just that, but that she and another woman in our group started dating. Things went swimmingly and they are now happily married! They both ended up coming out well into adulthood, which undoubtedly has a unique set of challenges. The third of the bunch of us identifies as some "non-normative" orientation ... Truthfully, I've never asked her. It doesn't matter to me, we're friends because of who she is, not who she does or does not take to bed. I figured, if she wanted me to know, she would tell me. The bunch of us would joke that I was the "token heterosexual" (of course, me knowing that that didn't fit, but not fighting it because with the aro part of me, I come across as totally hetero). 

 

Anyways, fast forward half dozen years. The bunch of us keep in touch mainly through group messaging. When I told them what I had stumbles upon regarding aromanticism, excited that the descriptions and conversations seem to describe what I've been feeling my whole life, I got crickets. 

One of the three was interested, as she hadn't heard of the romantic spectrum either. But the other two ... Nothing. 

 

Sure, I could just ask them if I had offended them somehow, but where is the sadistic fun in that?! So I'm sitting here, worrying that my sharing is coming across as "me-too-ism". I mean, I'm not shouting from the rooftops, I've only shared online here and with them the one time. I don't even intend to make a deal out of anything, because honestly my finding the word "aromantic" changes nothing about my real life. I've been living as an aromantic without even knowing it for all of my adult life. But I was hoping my friends might share some of my private excitement. 

 

Long story super long ... What is the general feeling toward aromanticism from people of non-normative orientations?? Clearly, the more visible orientations have suffered hugely throughout history and have really set the stage for any discussion of the various spectrums that exist. So is something as relatively trivial as aromanticism viewed as bandwagoning? Or stealing thunder? Or am I just being over-sensitive? 

 

This is really bothering me. I'd love to hear any insights or experiences you may have had that might she'd some light! 

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Whew, you may not realize it, but you've stumbled into a hot topic.  I haven't seen it discussed much on this forum, but I have seen it discussed on Tumblr.  If I find any particularly relevant blog posts, I'll share them here.

 

The short answer is no, you're not being over-sensitive.  And yes, there are people who criticize us as a "lesser" or "less oppressed" orientation and ask us to speak less so that "more important" queer people can speak more.

 

Those people are wrong and their attempts to silence us are a kind of anti-queer oppression, coming from queer people who should be supporting us.  We call them exclusionists, because they want to exclude anyone who doesn't fit their narrow definitions of queer from queer communities.  They also usually say "queer is a slur so don't say it" which is also wrong.

 

Aromantic people belong in queer communities just as much as anyone else, and we deserve the support of queer communities just as much as anyone else.  Aromantic is a queer identity.

 

Regarding how your friends responded to you, yes, a lot of us have experienced that kind of thing.  People who love us don't understand what aromantic is, so they just say nothing.  No support, no criticism, no excitement, no questions, just nothing at all.  It happens quite a lot.  It's very frustrating.  But it doesn't necessarily mean that they don't want to support you.  You might need to have some more conversations about your experience of being aromantic, or maybe even outline ways they could show support for you.  Maybe send them articles or blog posts that you might find particularly relevant.  It sucks that we sometimes have to train our friends how to be good allies, but sometimes they really are willing to learn.

 

Also, plenty of people can probably relate to your story.  I know I can.  I eventually left a friend group I'd been a part of for 10 years because of their utter silence regarding my identity when I came out as nonbinary.  A lot of aro blogs on Tumblr frequently talk about how little support we get from other queer communities, so you can find plenty of solidarity there if that's what you want.

 

We're here for you, and there are plenty of people here who will share your excitement about discovering your identity.  Hopefully your friends will come around, too.

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Really, @Eklinaar, you have been absolutely fantastic these past couple days for me! Thank you so very much! 

 

I can't say that I am "happy" that others know what I'm worrying about, but I guess I'm relieved that I'm not the only one. I do have a tendency of being overly sensitive at times, and knowing that about myself, I try extra hard to not be a nag. So it's good to hear that I may be somewhat justified, and not just paranoid. If you happen to find any articles or blogs that discuss the issue particularly well, I'd be super interested in reading them (and surreptitiously sliding them to my friends haha). 

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yes, this is definitely a hot topic even if it doesn't seem to be discussed all that much here. I think that is simply we are not really the ones who need to be unpicked, what we need is to get one of the silent ones to do an AMA or something! 

I sort of feel that sometimes the silence is them trying to be caring when their first gut reaction is something that would go on the aromantic bingo sheet. (Un)luckily for me one of my friend's reactions to me coming out was "I don't think that really exists" which means she didn't really care about my feelings in that moment, and I have had to re-evaluate our entire friendship (though her reaction wasn't really a surprise knowing the sort of sexist stuff she comes out with). 

However it can just be shock, such as the shock when you proclaim yourself to be part of a group (for example LGBT) then later find out there are whole other sections you have never heard about (for example: LGBTQIAP+). Which brings me to another friend's reaction to me coming out. I was sitting right next to her. right there. shoulders basically touching. and she goes "I'm going to google that". So me, a qualified aromantic card holder is ready and willing to engage in a Q&A session and she disappears into her phone to google my orientation. Like she needs independent knowledge from a blog so that we can have a conversation.

 

Though..

all of this is my own supposition, my own conclusions from my friend's reactions. As I said before to really understand I think we need our friends to break their silence as to why they are silent. (Also my google friend still has not come round for a discussion with me as she is too wrapped up with her new boyfriend so I am definitely offended and hurt on that front)

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On 8/22/2018 at 2:38 PM, Apathetic Echidna said:

Which brings me to another friend's reaction to me coming out. I was sitting right next to her. right there. shoulders basically touching. and she goes "I'm going to google that". So me, a qualified aromantic card holder is ready and willing to engage in a Q&A session and she disappears into her phone to google my orientation. Like she needs independent knowledge from a blog so that we can have a conversation.

I guess I'm the weird one who would be really honoured if my friend Googled it and did independent research and then used their new knowledge to ask me intelligent questions about my personal experiences... but yeah, it'd be a bit weird if they did that right next to me. On the other hand, I could see myself reacting like that in certain situations because I'm pretty weird too. :/

 

I've told basically 3 people about my aro/ace-ness. One was super supportive right from the start, and actually knows another ace, so that's gone well (she's lesbian). One is doing his utmost to ignore it and I've sent him links and stuff and it's like he just doesn't want to learn more, like he's in some kind of denial (he's hetero). My third friend (also hetero) just kinda went like "ok, I'm a sexual and a romantic", but he has a tendency to have weird short responses involving playing with words, so I guess I didn't really expect much, lol.

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8 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

I guess I'm the weird one who would be really honoured if my friend Googled it and did independent research and then used their new knowledge to ask me intelligent questions about my personal experiences

I probably wouldn't have minded so much if it happened like that, but the next time we spoke instead of intelligent questions all I got was unwanted information about her new boyfriend who came on the scene in the time between us talking (she lives far from me so we don't talk all that often, generally every few weeks when she isn't visiting her family who live near me). I guess it might just be a case of 'romantic interest brain' throwing out all information not directly related to the new partner or paid work skills, and sometimes even possibly those too are thrown out. 

 

As for your friend, ignoring stuff you have gone out of your way to provide? that seems worrying. Like there is some reason why he does not want to acknowledge you being aro.   😶

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On 8/21/2018 at 1:55 PM, AllTalk said:

Sure, I could just ask them if I had offended them somehow, but where is the sadistic fun in that?! So I'm sitting here, worrying that my sharing is coming across as "me-too-ism". I mean, I'm not shouting from the rooftops, I've only shared online here and with them the one time. I don't even intend to make a deal out of anything, because honestly my finding the word "aromantic" changes nothing about my real life. I've been living as an aromantic without even knowing it for all of my adult life. But I was hoping my friends might share some of my private excitement. 

 

You should totally be allowed to share important epiphanies about your life with your friends without feeling guilty. As people mentioned above, the reaction you got was probably more of a confused silence than a grudging one.

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this. I get that many people can't really wrap their heads around the idea of someone never having romo feelings, but when you make an aro joke or reference or comment and receive no reaction you just feel selfish for even bringing it up. Like, we get it, you're aro. Quit bringing it up already. It makes it hard to share things that are on my mind anywhere other than here, and I'm a pretty share-y person!

 

Anyway, whenever something's peeving me about being aromantic and I can't share it, I usually start trying to write a song. Which is ironic, considering young teenaged me was "waiting for a relationship so I could start writing real songs". How the turn tables

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7 hours ago, Naegleria fowleri said:

... you just feel selfish for even bringing it up. Like, we get it, you're aro. Quit bringing it up already. ...

 

OMG It's like you're in my brain! haha With my friends, I am very blunt and open, super share-y. But there is always that creature in my brain wondering "are you contributing to the conversation, or are you trying to make this about yourself??" I always worry that others view me as self-centered, talking about myself or my thoughts or my experiences. My anxiety meds have helped a little in that regard ;) So I feel somewhat justified in thinking that the thoughts are more of an outcome of the anxiety disorder, and maybe not valid. 

 

And regarding my friend's silent treatment ... I followed up on that and was SO THRILLED that it was all a misunderstanding!! Thank you ALL for your encouragement to just deal with it, talk to them like real adults. (Novel concept, eh??) I did bring it up again, asking if they were silent because I had offended or irritated or annoyed them. Turns out they just legit hadn't seen the message and it got swallowed up by some other comment that another person made. Symptom of technology. When we actually did talk about things, they were super supportive, legitimately interested in the classification of a romantic spectrum, and way cool about it all. UGH! See, I knew I had amazing friends. Darned brain creature makes me doubt everything and imagine the worst. 

 

Again, thank you ALL for support and encouragement to just confront the issue. And for sharing your stories. I am very fortunate that my situation turned out to be a weird misunderstanding, but I fully appreciate how there are many of us out there that don't necessarily have that easy outcome. 😔❤️

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Not a unique experience, unfortunately. I’ve told friends who could care less. And, yes, it hurts my feelings that they have no interest in something that is a big part of who I am and how I live my life. 

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i'm glad it turned out well.  i get it.  i told my parents a few years ago and they didn't really acknowledge it (besides a little monologue on my mom's part about how 'she wasn't really thinking about relationships when she was 17 either' and a semi-acceptance of my further attempt to explain) and whenever i mention it or wear my flag shirt they seem kind of...annoyed or uncomfortable.  even my best friend accepted it but didn't say much, but i know people's orientations make absolutely no negative or positive impression on her.  i guess i'm just glad i haven't gotten a distinctly negative reaction from anyone i really care about.  i have a friend (lesbian) who's actually quite interested and we've had good conversations about our respective orientations.  she's great.  also one of her partners is aro!  i've met them. 

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Another problem, going along with the fear of "me-too-ism" as described by the OP, is that many people think that being aromantic is not something that causes discrimination. Using that logic, many people really do believe that aromantics are looking for attention, and that we are taking resources away from other LGBTQI groups that have experienced more outward discrimination.

 

Let me tell you something though, to say that aromantics don't experience discrimination is a major fallacy. I can't speak for others, I will let them do that, but I have been discriminated against for being aromantic my entire life. People have shamed me, mocked me, presumed things about my sexual orientation, pitied me, and denied my feelings ever since I was a teenager (I'm in my mid-20s now). I have lost many friends who found a romantic partner, and no longer wanted anything to do with me. I have had to field all kinds of awkward questions about why I am not in a romantic relationship. I have had co-workers tell the entire office that I'm a "virgin" without me having ever said a word about my sex life to any of them, all because they perceived that I was somehow different from them. Perhaps the worst thing is that I will likely never be able to have children, even though I desperately would like to, and nobody would ever let me adopt as a single male. I can't even go for a hike without people grabbing their children or partners tightly, as if I am some kind of predator for taking a walk through the woods. They never do this when other couples or families pass them on the trail. I could probably sit here and spend my entire day making a complete list of all the problems that I have faced. 😣 So...yes....there is plenty of discrimination that I have dealt with, and I am sure that other people on here have faced these things and lots more for being aro.

 

So, if the OP finds out that this really is a contributing factor to the response that they received from their friends, I would encourage them to remind their friends of some of the very real discrimination that we face. Lots of it is unique to us, and some of it overlaps with the discrimination that other groups experience, but none of our experiences should be dismissed.

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On 8/21/2018 at 10:55 PM, AllTalk said:

Long story super long ... What is the general feeling toward aromanticism from people of non-normative orientations?? Clearly, the more visible orientations have suffered hugely throughout history and have really set the stage for any discussion of the various spectrums that exist. So is something as relatively trivial as aromanticism viewed as bandwagoning? Or stealing thunder? Or am I just being over-sensitive?  

Though in the end it cleared up for you, yes, that's what some people think.


There also are some orientations or identities where it gets weird, e.g. “feusexual”, “zodiacgender”, … while I don't think we can identify a firm line between “legitimate identity” and “something made up to feel special”, gradually you can go from a very important identity, which describes how you significantly stick out from the norm … to something more subtle … to something so subtle you wonder why there's even a word for it … to something which may indeed just be made up.

 

Zodiacgender: A catch-all gender term that is used to describe when one's gender is related to a (or their specific) zodiac sign.

 

So many perhaps find aromantic already as far-fetched as zodiacgender (I mean, I agree that aromantic is far more subtle than being gay, for example, but it's still a comparatively important identity).

6 hours ago, JetSettingAro said:

I have had co-workers tell the entire office that I'm a "virgin" without me having ever said a word about my sex life to any of them, all because they perceived that I was somehow different from them.

yeah, I also have been called that. But the opposite, too… I guess they have only two explanations in their repertoire why you are not in a relationship for a longer time: (a) incapable (b) pretty sex-obsessed, wants to “play the field” (ugh).

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On 8/26/2018 at 7:08 PM, DeltaV said:

Zodiacgender: A catch-all gender term that is used to describe when one's gender is related to a (or their specific) zodiac sign.

I sort of feel bad because this made me giggle, but really that seems like some alchemy logic right there....and also very Eurocentric thinking (but that is just reflecting my own personal feelings about the non-acknowledgement of constellations recognised by other cultures)

 

I'm sorry you are both getting that discrimination. I will probably avoid most of that simply because I am AFAB and most people, especially strangers don't seem to look beyond what they expect is between your legs. I have a feeling quite a few people think I am a closeted lesbian but won't bring it up. 

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On 8/29/2018 at 5:06 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

and also very Eurocentric thinking (but that is just reflecting my own personal feelings about the non-acknowledgement of constellations recognised by other cultures) 

But why? xD They have zodiac signs there too, just different ones. Chinese, Vedic also have 12 signs (it's a really strange coincidence that they have 12 year-based signs in Chinese astrology, but Jupiter's orbit is roughly twelve years so they got to that number, too). Don't know much about Mayan astrology, but AFAICR they have 20 signs there. Are there any more astrological systems? :eyebrow:

 

Vedic astrology even has roughly the same zodiac signs as Western, only that it's sidereal not tropical.

ram          Aries 
bull         Taurus
twins        Gemini
crab         Cancer
lion         Leo   
girl         Virgo 
balance      Libra  
scorpion     Scorpio
bow          Sagittarius
sea-monster  Capricorn
pitcher      Aquarius
fish         Pisces

I like it that they don't have a Capricorn but instead a sea-monster… I mean, in Western astrology you have basically a sheep and a weird goat… how boring is that?

 

The flag is very Eurocentric, though:

zodiacgender__by_pride_flags-dazl90j.png

xD

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1 hour ago, NullVector said:

I found another one. 

though it says “Australian Aboriginal astronomy” … is it also used for divination?

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To answer the original post, I will echo what a lot of people have already said but also add that I've encountered the whole spectrum of responses.

 

My aromanticism has been called a mental illness, immaturity, a direct result of my social anxiety, and etc. My aromanticism has been ignored outright, for whatever well-intentioned reasons. My aroness has been ignored for harmful intentions, in the hopes of excluding me from the LGBTQ+ community (anyone ever encounter "cishet aros/aces aren't welcome in the comm"?).

On the other hand, most of my friends, whether LGBT or not, have been interested in and supported my coming out. They asked questions, said the label suited my experiences well as they understood it, and have stood in solidarity with me even if they experienced more overt hatred/discrimination.

 

How one views aromanticism depends highly on how open a person they are, and not their orientation. I've had plenty of LGBTQ+ folks both support and shun me, and the same goes for non-LGBTQ+ folks. Knowing that it depends on personality and openness, it is a lot easier to spot who might threaten me and who might support me.

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On 9/2/2018 at 10:13 PM, DeltaV said:

though it says “Australian Aboriginal astronomy” … is it also used for divination?

I guess it depends how strictly you define 'astrology'. The article mentions that: 

Quote

Many [Aboriginal groups] attribute religious or mythological meanings to celestial bodies and phenomena.

Well, it's not really clear from that if they considered celestial bodies to have a direct , ongoing influence over terrestrial events and/or the fates of people; let alone a formal system for working these out. I can't see examples of either in the article itself, but it also wouldn't surprise me if there were such examples recorded elsewhere (as in: it's not such a big jump from 'religious and/or mythological meaning' to 'influences my life and events around me').

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On 9/3/2018 at 3:32 AM, DeltaV said:

But why? xD They have zodiac signs there too, just different ones. Chinese, Vedic also have 12 signs (it's a really strange coincidence that they have 12 year-based signs in Chinese astrology, but Jupiter's orbit is roughly twelve years so they got to that number, too). Don't know much about Mayan astrology, but AFAICR they have 20 signs there. Are there any more astrological systems?

 

On 9/22/2018 at 7:23 PM, NullVector said:

Well, it's not really clear from that if they considered celestial bodies to have a direct , ongoing influence over terrestrial events and/or the fates of people; let alone a formal system for working these out. I can't see examples of either in the article itself, but it also wouldn't surprise me if there were such examples recorded elsewhere (as in: it's not such a big jump from 'religious and/or mythological meaning' to 'influences my life and events around me').

I'm a bit late, and I don't really want to pull this way off topic, so I will try to pull it back as I see a way...sort of. 

I guess it was bad of me before to assume that Zodiacgender was related to the stars, as the Chinese zodiac is a year by year thing (though lunar year) augmented by the five elements. Most societies had their own naming for stars and constellations, generally with completely different meanings; Importance does vary as navigation and calender stars change depending where on the world you live. They are vague in that Aboriginal article because there are so many varieties and much information has been lost, but because of the tribal lands location and time of birth most 'zodiacs' are related to what crop is prevalent at the time (this is true for most central Australian groups, but I have no idea about the coastal or island ones). So I am a sweet yam baby, and it relates to when I am allowed to get married (basically it is a marker for a birthday). 

 

 

 

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