Carnival of Aros theme for October 2020: Prioritization. Host: @jay-aro (tumblr).
Question: Do you have a different orientation you prioritize over your aromanticism? What about gender identity?
Question: How entwined is your orientation and gender?
From “Growth (& sharing a poem)” for the Jan 2020 theme ‘New’:
I don’t necessarily combine gender musings with aro musings, for example, and especially when it’s far more obvious in my daily life while closeted on the gender front, I just don’t prioritize finding out I’m under the aro umbrella in the same way that other aro bloggers seem to.
From “I Redact Myself” for the March 2020 theme ‘Aromanticism & Gender’:
Honestly, I don’t really connect my gender experience and aromanticism, whether that involves using arogender or not. […] Maybe the aro part is just still too new, relatively speaking. Maybe there’s still some lingering guilt over being a young trans person desperate for breadcrumbs of love because I was so used to hearing stories about how it was too difficult for a cis person to ‘deal with that’ and I would be lucky if anyone stuck around despite my transness. Maybe it takes too many spoons to be this introspective during a quarantine.
I don’t doubt that I could draw connections between different gender experiences and my [fill in the blank] orientation if I were to strike up a conversation with someone and we got around to more probing questions, but on a surface level, no. I started stumbling around on figuring out I wasn’t cis years ago, and I’ve had to cope with being closeted for a few years now. Personally, my gender will eke out a higher priority for me when compared to most orientation related questions because I’m so much more aware of the discordance.
Question: Do you use the split attraction model? Does your identity feel split between romantic and sexual attraction or not?
I find the focus on a singular Split Attraction Model that often prioritizes the presence or absence of romantic and sexual attraction as the means of designating romantic and sexual orientation to be a sideways approach to talking about attraction, orientation, and identity. (Some folks add in other types of attraction, but this question appears to reflect the prioritization of romantic-and-sexual orientation labeling when talking about the Split Attraction Model, so I’m not going to touch on other types of attraction.)
I’m not saying that it’s an unhelpful model for everyone, and I’ve still wound up using this model with other people regardless, but I find it a bit simplistic to go: If yes to attraction, then go to this orientation and that identity. For example, I experience sexual attraction, but due in part to fluctuating intensities and types of gender dysphoria (that would be the genderfluidity, for new readers), I don’t find that the mere presence (or an accurate internal detection) of attraction communicates an exact sexual orientation as identity to someone else.
I’m aware that people have used ace labels for reasons other than a mere yes/no to sexual attraction [“A Condensed History of Asexuals Arguing with Asexuals Over What Asexuality Is”], but I’ve also encountered bloggers who don’t take that into account when talking about aces, allosexuals who also use ace terminology, those who could use ace terminology but who identify as allosexual, those who use both ace and allo to describe their experiences, and folks who don’t want to label (or disclose) their sexual orientation. It’s not entirely helpful for communicating with other people, but both of the following sentences feel true: Yes, I experience sexual attraction, but my orientation is more gray-ace and I identify as allo. Yes, I experience sexual attraction and my orientation is allosexual, but I’ve given up on disclosing how I identify as a specific extra label (whatever-sexual) within certain aro contexts.
While I can find words to label my experience of romantic attraction and sexual attraction (and I have been able to use varioriented descriptions in the past), I don’t have a sense that my identity is split, really. I did the Questioning and the bi/pan/poly/omni ‘what am I?’ cycling when I was younger, and the simple answer is that I’m not straight. I’m queer, and I’ve gone on to find some more specific words that might help someone to understand my queerness, but ultimately, my identity is queer.
Question: If activism is something you’re interested in, how does your aromanticism play into that? Is aro activism something you focus on or are interested in?
Not particularly, and no.
Question: How important is aromanticism to you?
I’m not aromantic, so aromanticism has no personal level of importance to me. If you’re wondering how important being able to label romantic orientation is to me, I’d say that it’s occasionally important, but not most of the time.
Question: If you’re on the aromantic spectrum, how does that impact your identity? Do you ever use the label “aromantic”, or just your arospec label?
I don’t use ‘aromantic’, have gotten away from ‘aro-spec’, and sometimes use ‘aro’. I might be considered underneath the aro umbrella (depending on if quoiromantic is included), but some of the tri-labeling conversations concerning oriented aroaces in the summer of 2019, in which aros who were greyro or somewhere along the spectrum instead of ‘pure’/‘endcase’/zero romantic attraction Aromantics were considered less aro (and thought to prioritize any romantic attraction they experienced), has left me a little lukewarm to talk of an aromantic spectrum. The aro umbrella and using ‘aro’ doesn’t carry the same perception of a spectrum with those who are ‘more aro’ on one end and other aro identities being ‘too close’ to alloromantics on the other end.
(I used ‘aro-spec’ because I also find it a bit hard to read ‘arospec’, ‘acespec’, ‘aplspec’, ‘aspec’, and the like, especially when a lot of these spectrum words show up in one text. I might personally be fine with rephrasing to talk of an aro umbrella, but at the very least, I try to add a hyphen or a space between all these ‘a’s and ‘spectrum’ because the spectrum phrasing seems too popular to change. And yeah, I am aware that it’s a character saving abbreviation, but that doesn’t magically make it easier for me to read.)
Question: Hypothetically, if you could only choose one label to come out as, what would you choose?
1) Why should I continue to prioritize the idea of ‘coming out’ to others? There’s a reason why I shared a link to a pdf about Inviting In on National Coming Out Day.
2) I’ve been non-straight and non-cis for years, so I’m not entirely sure how vague or specific this hypothetical question is. Only one label for romantic orientation? Only one label for romantic and sexual orientation? Only one label for some sort of orientation, even if it’s not romantic and sexual? Only one label for communicating attraction to other people? Only one label for communicating who I’d be willing to do [insert activity] with?
3) I am queer.