• Jack Breckheimer - OYM Intern

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.


On the left half of the flag are five bars, from the top: dark green/light green/white/gray/black. On the right half are five bars, from the top: black, gray, white, light purple, dark purple.
One version of the aromantic and asexual flags, combined. Flag design by Reddit user Eames761.

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.


In the center of the photo is an ace flag held up in front of a crowd in a parade. Behind them, another ace flag is being carried by members of the Asexual Network. A bridge in the background is packed with onlookers.
Asexual pride flags are flown prominently at a Pride celebration in Stockholm, Sweden. (PC: "Asexual network at Stockholm Pride" by trollhare is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)

 

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.


If you are interested in guest writing a blog post on LGBTQ-related topics, please get in touch at intern@odysseyyouth.org.


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.


“Aces and Aros” is Asexual Outreach’s community hub where people on the ace/aro spectrums can connect and share educational resources. For example, this Ace Inclusion Guide for High Schools.


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.

844 views0 comments