Understanding Asexual and Aromantic Identities
As part of Odyssey’s mission to promote LGBTQIA+ equity through community education, we are pleased to present this introductory blog post covering asexual and aromantic identities.
OYM Mentor Anne McCaslin (she/her) has graciously shared her experience of self-discovery and the importance of seeing yourself represented in media. Here’s what Anne had to say:
I identify as asexual and aromantic (ace and aro, or aroace). Being asexual means I experience little to no sexual attraction and being aromantic means I experience little to no romantic attraction.
A running joke in the online aroace community is that to be on any aro or ace spectrum is to constantly question one’s orientation. I think part of this is because we do not see anyone like ourselves represented in the media we are most surrounded with.
On the contrary, our media hyper-sexualizes and hyper-romanticizes love and relationships; anyone who falls outside these bounds is usually seen as prudish, alien, or robotic. I feel alone when I don’t see anyone like myself represented in the media I enjoy.
Aroace Instagram is a great place for people like me. Recently I saw a post that mused about the number of people who actually identify as aro or ace. The poster theorized that more people would probably identify as asexual or aromantic if they saw their experience in media. I would guess that this is true of my mom, who first realized she was asexual when I came out to her.
Raised Christian, I grew up thinking I was just really good at being religious because I didn’t even want to have sex before marriage. Like my mom, I assumed that if I “found the right person” I would want to. Later in life as the religious dogma around sex has fallen away, I am realizing that the attraction still isn’t there.
I have seldom seen myself in the media, and when I have it’s been brief and the representation has felt tokenistic. At the same time, I’m grateful for whatever helps me feel less alone.
Thank you again to Anne for sharing her story! If this was helpful or interesting to you, please consider sharing it with friends, family, or coworkers. Simply sharing a link can help our goal of creating an informed, understanding, and equitable community where LGBTQIA+ youth can thrive.
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For more information on aromantic and asexual identities, check out these resources:
Asexual Outreach is a national organization dedicated to promoting awareness and advocacy for ace and aro people. Among their accomplishments is “Ace Week”, one of the widest-reaching ace/aro awareness campaigns.
AUREA (Aromantic-spectrum Union for Recognition, Education, and Advocacy) also has many resources available for those interested in learning more about the aromantic-spectrum.
Review our tips and resources for supporting LGBTQIA+ students in schools.