It's Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week and in case you weren't sure, “Aromanticism is a romantic orientation, which most commonly describes people who experience little to no romantic attraction to others.”*
Chris, 39, kindly answered some of our questions about being aromantic and how he connects with others.
- Aromantic (Aro): Commonly describes someone who experiences little to no romantic attraction.
- Asexual (Ace): Commonly describes someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction.
- Allosexual: Describes a person who experiences sexual attraction or is not on the asexual spectrum.
- Aroace: An abbreviation of aromantic asexual, a term by which people who are aromantic and asexual describe themselves.
- Aspec: An umbrella term for orientations based on conditional and no romantic and/or sexual attraction, that is aromantic and asexual spectra, abbreviated to a-spec.
Can you please tell us when you first heard the term ‘Aromantic’ and how you felt it related to your own feelings and experience?
I first heard the term 14 years ago when I found my way into an online ace community and it was definitely a concept that made sense to me at the time. I didn't initially think I was aro. That was something I had to think about and how my interactions with people played out.
I eventually came to understand what aromanticism was and how I felt I fit under that label.
How does being aromantic relate to your gender identify, sexuality and sex?
I haven't really found being aro relate to much to my gender identity. I identify as asexual and there is a bit of a cross over there with regards to my sexuality. One thing I want to note is not all aromantic people are ace. There are plenty of allosexual people that are aromantic and they get underrepresented even within the aro community so it's always important to remind people that they exist and are just as valid as aroaces.
You also told us that you were the first to publicly use the micro label ‘Demiromantic’ – can you please clarify what this is and how it relates to you?
A demiromantic is someone that experiences romantic attraction to a degree only once they've gotten to know someone well enough to form an emotional bond. For a while I felt this related to me but later on after more exploring and thinking and considering it didn't quite fit so I preferred to use the broader term of Aro spec. These days I just use Aspec as it covers both my Aro and ace spectrums.
Do you think labels (and micro-labels) are helpful and important?
There's definitely a lot of micro labels kicking around and I feel that they are important to everyone that chooses to use them. It gives people a sense of belonging to something that for the most part is unknown to most people. I don't personally feel the need to infinitely micro label my identity but I will never hold anything against people that choose to do so.
How open to others are you about being Aromantic?
It's pretty much a need to know basis. I'm sure I give off enough "aro vibes" where if people were half educated they'd figure it out or assume.
It's obviously something I disclose to others within the community as it's always awesome to see other Aros kicking around. It's something I have, in the past, disclosed to friends especially of the opposite sex to reassure them that I'm being friendly but not necessarily after anything in return.
Friendships can be awesome and much more rewarding than romantic or otherwise relationships, I hate the idea of someone "catching feelings" and ruining what was there.
How do you connect with other Aromantic people in the Queer community?
There are plenty of aromantic related chat groups etc on facebook which are great. There's plenty of overlap within the ace community too. Most ace groups are, by default, going to be pretty inclusive to aro people.
I do enjoy sharing my shared experiences with other aro people, sometimes it's the discussion associated with a story and others it's over a good meme.
Here are the standard questions we ask all of our guests:
What other LGBTQI+ Events in Perth that we should look out for?
- International Asexual Day (April 6, 2022) is coming up and we're hoping to do something this year again for Aussie Ace Week (October 24-30, 2022)
Are you involved in any other LGBTQI+ organisations or events in Perth? Tell us about them…
- I'm on the Admin team for Ace Perth People and Australian Asexuals.
What do you think is great about the LGBTQ+ Community in Perth?
- People are pretty accepting. It's always great when they include the A in the acronym (LGBTQIA+) it might only be a couple of letters extra but it gives us that feeling of being visible and accepted in the LGBTQ+ community as we're not accepted outside of the community as it is.
And what improvements would you like to see for the community here?
- I'd love to see better education for people about Aromanticism as it's pretty low on the radar here.
What would you recommend for anyone new to Perth that they must see or do here?
- I'm a mad fan of Asian Vegan food being part Asian and Vegan myself. My go to is Little Beans Gourmet (Canning Vale), Healthy Thai Vegan and Vegetarian (Vic Park) and Formosa Vegetarian Eating House (Kardinya). I've been meaning to try Nuthin Fyshy Fish and Chips but not had a chance to yet.