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Different terminologies between ace and aro community


nonmerci
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Hi everyone!

So I've been on AVEN for a few months and, as said in another post, one think that strikes me there was how much some people here hate the term "allo" (seen as offensive) and want people to use romantic and sexual instead, in particular the person to whom these terms would apply, and in particular the "sexual" people. Which was a shock for me because the aromantic community seems to have the opposite view, or at least I always saw aroallos calling themselves, well, aroallos, and even in a thread being upset about an article that says they should not use this term.

 

So I've been thinking about this for quite a while because this difference in terminology is strange. First it shows that aro and aces communities barely talk to each other (which is not as much as a surprise for me, to be honest). But most importantly, how is it possible that the two communities have opposite view on the same subject? And coming from the people who are concerned by it?

 

I have a theory about why it is this way, and I'm curious to hear your opinion on it. Am I right or am I completely wrong?

One of the argument I've seen on AVEN is there is no use for the world "allosexual" because "allosexual" is not a label, as it doesn't describe an orientation, and that there is no need to put all the people who feel sexual attraction together. In fact, I've seen people even arguing this is a majority group because for them, the "allosexual" group doesn't exist, the only thing important is who you are attracted to and not the fact that you feel attraction. My guess here is that the "sexual" people on AVEN are never felt in a position where the fact they feel sexual attraction (rather than towards who they felt it) is relevant for them in a personal level, and therefor fail to see how it can be different for other people.

On the other hand, aroallo have felt alienated in both aro and ace communities because they feel sexual attraction and that they are sadly the forgotten group of the so-called a-spec community. It is very difficult to find content about them, and the fact that aromanticism is always tied to asexuality doesn't help. So the fact that they feel "sexual attraction" became important to talk about this group of aro that are left out by opposition to the aroaces, which may explain why aroallos are more keen to accept "allosexual" as a relevant term.

 

So, what do you think? Am I right or am I wrong? Am I simply overthinking it (I mean, I'm probably over thinking,  but not too much I hope)? Do you have an idea yourself?

I am of course particularly interesting about hearing the opinion of aroallos about it, and apologize if my theory is wrong or hurtful.

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I was confused by the resistance of using allo on AVEN too, and asked about it in a profile post. i'll be honest, after talking to a few who answered, i haven't been back on - I got frustrated by the conversation because I thought this was a conversation long behind us, and i recognised that i was in a bad headspace for that kind of convo, and since i've just been scared about checking my notifs in case i started a fight ? 

here's what i gathered though: this distaste of the label seems to be 1) mainly on AVEN, and 2) mainly by non-aspec people (either asexual or aromantic).

i've been more "active" in ace spaces on tumblr, and i've never seen the same distaste for the label there, neither from aces nor allos (allo-allos, that is). people i know and people i follow who are not aspec, but do know the term, happily use allo for themselves when the term is relevant to use (in the same way cis people who don't object to the label cis are!). i've been on the periphery of an asexual group where i live, which is not English speaking, and they happily use allo - as do the allos who know the term.

this is anecdotal, of course, but to me it seems like this is very limited to AVEN, and personally I find that so strange. all of the arguments i saw (from allos!) had the same rhetoric as the arguments against "cis". it lumps too many categories together and implies a privilege where there is none, was one i saw - which i've seen against cis too, and frankly "sexual" does the same thing. there's a disconnect there: the recognition that there needs to be a way to talk about non-ace people, and whatever we choose (sexual, allo, non-ace, zedsexual, whatever) will lump them together, but a resistance to an actual label.

Edited by nisse
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I think that whole debate is stupid.  We need to have a way to talk about people who are not aromantic or asexual or aren't just one of those things.  Allo is a way to do that.  And yes, I think people who are both allosexual and alloromantic have privilege.  They just don't want to look at it, that's why they are so resistant.

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I think you're probably right.
I think it's dumb that the term is so apparently offensive and "groups all sexuals together", like..... saying "cishet" also groups people together. It's just a handy term to refer to people who aren't ace and/or aro, just as cishet is a handy term to refer to people who aren't LGBTQ
 

So it really just comes down to respecting people's feelings, I guess? But I'm personally not going to stop using it.

Edited by questdrivencollie
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Guest Queerdo

Conversations about allosexual on AVEN seem to be dominated by a half-dozen or so, high-activity, non-ace people. And it's easier to just leave than to have the perpetual discussion about why not everyone likes to be described as "sexual." 

Which is true about so many ideas there. 

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hi hi! an alloaro here! tbh, I think everything that has been said is spot on. 

1. Nearly any criticism against the term "allo" can be compared to criticisms against the word "cis"

2. I would say that for the same reasons that we put pronouns in our bios, it's important to address the label of allosexual / alloaro. It acknowledges that there is a second dimension, and that being allo shouldn't be the assumed default 

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I'm not on AVEN and I've never heard of this debate before, but here are my thoughts.

I think the term allo is fine, and better than calling allos romantic people. Those who identify as aro-spec may be "romantic" in some ways but not others- they might even consider themself a person who understands romance, occasionally feel romantic attraction, or may or may not want a romantic relationship. Even if these people are romantic in some ways, they aren't alloromantic- so calling allos "romantics" seems more complicated.

I guess I don't really understand why people wouldn't like the term alloromantic. Seems like a dumb debate,. Allo is a valid term the same way cisgender, monogamous, and heteroromantic/sexual are, so I'm confused on why people don't like it.
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Thanks for responding, that's interesting.

On 12/15/2021 at 6:58 AM, Pyr said:

guess I don't really understand why people wouldn't like the term alloromantic. Seems like a dumb debate,. Allo is a valid term the same way cisgender, monogamous, and heteroromantic/sexual are, so I'm confused on why people don't like it.

You'll find some arguments there. Be careful though, I haven't read everything but I know there are arophobia at the end.

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14 minutes ago, nonmerci said:

Thanks for responding, that's interesting.

You'll find some arguments there. Be careful though, I haven't read everything but I know there are arophobia at the end.

wow that was an infuriating thread to read!! bit thank you to the aroallos who stepped in there,  could feel my blood boiling reading some of it lmao. 

it's really incredible how saturated AVEN is with allos. i don't want them to start gatekeeping, of course, that would be ridiculous and create infinitely more problems, but the entitlement of some of them in an explicitly ace space is mind boggling. 

not to mention the arophobia from some of the alloaces :^) clown hours. 

i'd just like to say again that most people i've met, most LGBTQ people that i've met, who haven't heard of the allo term before? has had NO issue with it, once i've explained it to them. those that do usually have an issue with cis too.

i see the "allosexuéll" (sp?) argument was regurgitated too. that's so tired - false friends exist. we will never find a word that works in every single language - besides which, each language have their own terms for queer/LGBTQ people and community. our word for queer is skeiv, which means skewed or bent. as someone mentioned, femme is a common slang within lesbian/wlw circles, and that's literally a French word. 

sorry - i know most people here knows this. i'm just so tired of an argument that's been happening since the big aphobia days of 2011-2014.

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I'm fine with allo personally, it has its uses.

I do remember "allo" being an Ace Discourse TM thing on Tumblr back in ~2014-17 though. People were told that it was offensive because it "lumps straight and gay/bi people together" and that aces shouldn't use it. I'm not on AVEN but some of the apprehension towards it might stem from that.

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@Apex that is partly the argument on AVEN. which is like. so does cis. "straight" lumps trans and cis together. that's the nature of it.

for that matter, so does "sexual" or "non-ace/non-aro/non-aspec". it's a frustrating conversation. 

Edited by nisse
added non-aro and non-aspec
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9 hours ago, nisse said:

see the "allosexuéll" (sp?) argument was regurgitated too. that's so tired - false friends exist. we will never find a word that works in every single language - besides which, each language have their own terms for queer/LGBTQ people and community. our word for queer is skeiv, which means skewed or bent. as someone mentioned, femme is a common slang within lesbian/wlw circles, and that's literally a French word. 

For me it is the argument that makes the more sense because I get why it would be problematic if a word meant to mean "queer" ends up with a definition that includes straight people. However, we're talking about Quebec here. The first thing they do when they see an English word is translate it, so I'm sure they'll find a word that they are fine with, and that it is up to them to decide if they have a problem with it or not.

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@nonmerci but the thing is exactly that allosexuéll is not english. if we had had a similar issue in norwegian, that alloseksuell meant queer, we would have found a different word and thought aloosexual is english. personally i do not see the problem, and it seems like the one thing someone has found to complain about after the fact, just to complain.

i agree with you: it's up to them if they have an issue with it. i don't know if any Quebec French speakers have spoken against allosexual in english lately, but back when it first came up as an issue it was firmly non-Quebec speakers who kept regurgitating it as an argument. 

idk, maybe i'm burned out by how much this smacks of the aphobic arguments of 2012-ish, when every argument against allosexual - or indeed, anything aspec people tried to do for their own community - was so supremely bad faith.

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I agree with most of what's been said here so I'm not going to repeat it, but I will say that I don't find AVEN a safe space for any aroallo, grace or indeed anyone trying to work out their sexual attraction in trying to separate the romantic and sexual strands of the "normal alloallo experience".

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I'm AroAllo.

I recently discovered I was aro and I have to say that I find the term Allo a bit strange. I'm not against it but I think the terms 'romantic' and 'sexual' would be easier to use when talking to people who aren't into the LBGT+ community, specially if alloaro/allosexual sounds like 'queer' in your language. I think they also would be easier to translate to other languages.

But, as I said, I'm not against it and I know it's already a common terminology in the aspects community. Although aroallo sounds way better than arosexual? Arosex? 

Edited by Thiel
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On 12/14/2021 at 10:13 PM, alto said:

I think that whole debate is stupid.  We need to have a way to talk about people who are not aromantic or asexual or aren't just one of those things.  Allo is a way to do that.  And yes, I think people who are both allosexual and alloromantic have privilege.  They just don't want to look at it, that's why they are so resistant.

The privilege discussion aside, why does anyone feel that “allosexual” is offensive? To me “sexual” sounds offensive: Like someone for whom sex is of enormous importance. While I feel sexual attraction towards others this wouldn’t be true for me; sex is of relatively minor importance.

Also “allosexual” is more precise. I mean you can feel sexual attraction towards yourself? I guess that’s possible? At least to some degree?

And if it does not go beyond that, like you feel sexual attraction only towards yourself, we can consider this a type of asexuality. And that’s entailed in “allo” = αλλος = other, sexual attraction towards other people.

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11 hours ago, Thiel said:

I'm not against it but I think the terms 'romantic' and 'sexual' would be easier to use when talking to people who aren't into the LBGT+ community

Allosexual was coined as a term* (alongside a couple of others, i only remember zedsexual right now which i think is cute - Z being on the other end of the alphabet from A) because a lot of allos were uncomfortable being referred to as "sexual". Not to mention that "sexual" and "romantic" already have connotations in speech: if i tell someone "my friend Ali is (a) romantic," they're gonna assume Ali is very romance inclined, maybe they romanticise certain aspects of life. If people outside of the community aren't familiar with a term, the definition of allo is extremely easy to explain. If they're gonna know about aspec identities i think it's important they know that term too. Not to beat this drum again haha but it's the same with the word cis!

*i'm unfortunately not familiar with the aro history on this, i was not out to myself as aro at the time.

"arosex" made me giggle for some reason, sounds a bit like a sex position? haha

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Interesting discussion! I'm regards to terms in different languages I do have a reflection that smaller languages can have more of a problem with making their own terms. If it's a label that's relatively unknown like aroallo it might be hard finding other with the same language to form a community with. Also the community on the internet can rival local communities in smaller languages because people spend time there discussing in English rather than developing their own language. This is a similar problem that many smaller countries face in regard of research in niche fields. Researchers choose to publish in English to get a larger audience and so nothing is written in their own language and no vocabulary is being developed to discuss the concepts.

That was totally off topic but I think relevant to a broader topic of terminology.

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22 hours ago, Holmbo said:

Interesting discussion! I'm regards to terms in different languages I do have a reflection that smaller languages can have more of a problem with making their own terms

Interesting. I think Quebec has this spécial thing when they are used to translate everything (at least this is the reputation they have in France), but it does seem like something unique.

And it is true that when you look at LGBT+ terms, most of them come from English communities and are just adapted to the language... even if it doesn't makes sense. For instance I always thought that "aromantique" makes no sense in French, because "romantique" is not a word we use for talking about romance. By that I mean it is just used to mean a "romantic person" as when someone is into canddle donner and things like things that. We won't say "une relation romantique" for instance, while you can say "a romantic relationship" in English and people know what you are talking about outside the aro and are ce communities (or at least it seems like it to me, maybe I'm wrong lol). But it was translated this way because it just adapted directly from the English language. I wonder what term would have looked like if it wasn't the case. Probably something coming from greek or latin, we love that lol.

 

I also wanted to say that contrary to what it may seem, my point here was not to bash AVEN. I'm just interested to the difference between the terminologies and why they are this way.

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I've said pretty much all I have to say on this topic here, but I would like to reiterate:

  • Arguments that "allo" shouldn't be used as a term because it groups oppressed with oppressors are nonsense. "Cis" as a term groups white people with people of colour, and men with women. Having a word for people who share a particular characteristic does not mean or imply that everyone who shares that characteristic has equivalent privilege.
  • Many people have very, very good reasons for not wanting to be identified as "sexual" by others. The adjective "sexual" brings up connotations of objectification, and assumptions of sexual availability, which can can be especially uncomfortable for members of groups that societies already objectify and sexualise.
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16 hours ago, eatingcroutons said:

Arguments that "allo" shouldn't be used as a term because it groups oppressed with oppressors are nonsense. "Cis" as a term groups white people with people of colour, and men with women. Having a word for people who share a particular characteristic does not mean or imply that everyone who shares that characteristic has equivalent privilege.

The analogy to “cis” only works partially.

The usual axes of “privilege / oppression” are unrelated from each other. A person’s “state” can be represented by an n-tuple of independent binary values:

  • man or woman
  • white or person of color
  • cis or trans
  • straight or lgb,
  • able-bodied or disabled
  • etc.

So for any combination you can have two people which only differ in one being cis and the other trans; the remaining values are independent from them being cis or trans.

But for “allo or ace” this is not the case. Being lgb means you must be allo, you cannot be ace (or so is generally believed).

And that’s probably what those who push these “arguments” cannot accept: it cannot be right that being lgb confers (even indirectly) a “privilege”.

Edited by DeltaV
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Guest Queerdo
On 12/23/2021 at 3:21 PM, DeltaV said:

The usual axes of “privilege / oppression” are unrelated from each other. A person’s “state” can be represented by an n-tuple of independent binary values:

The "independence" part is something that intersectional feminism and queer theory explicitly reject. Which is why we talk about things like "transmisogynoir," (how racism, sexism, and transphobia interact to create additional risks for trans women of color.)

On 12/23/2021 at 3:21 PM, DeltaV said:

Being lgb means you must be allo, you cannot be ace (or so is generally believed).

I don't think that LGB identity is all that simple, but I don't think the concept of "sexual attraction" is all that simple either. Regardless, I agree with @eatingcroutons that as a person who has been explicitly abused by hypersexual stereotypes, I'm not a big fan of "sexual."

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8 hours ago, Guest Queerdo said:

The "independence" part is something that intersectional feminism and queer theory explicitly reject.

I meant this in a statistical sense. For example, if you only know that a person is cis or trans (like in the example), you cannot infer from this: their gender, or if they’re white or a person of color, straight or lgb, able-bodied or disabled, …

For lgb and allo OTOH there is logical entailment (or seems to be).

Quote

Which is why we talk about things like "transmisogynoir," (how racism, sexism, and transphobia interact to create additional risks for trans women of color.)

Sure, they might in practice be interacting.

But in certain situations this also works the other way around, i. e. not being more than additive but less.

8 hours ago, Guest Queerdo said:

I don't think that LGB identity is all that simple, but I don't think the concept of "sexual attraction" is all that simple either.

It’s as simple as you make it. Because these are questions of language, not questions of fact.

Since words have emotional baggage and normative connotations attached to them, people are going to have strong opinion about words. The whole thread is about ace and aro terminology!

But strictly speaking it changes nothing. It never changes ANYTHING. A claim that has any real content cannot be just about words. It needs to relate concepts – on which we (roughly) all agree on – with each other.

So that’s why I wrote “or so is generally believed”. lgb is commonly understood as referring to sexuality, so an ace lgb person is an oxymoron. I really don’t want to argue about this (reasons above). The point is just: those who push this argument against the term “allosexual” understand the terms that way.

Edited by DeltaV
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