It’s “Aro” or Aromantic Spectrum Awareness week.
And nobody cares. Which is fine because nobody should care. Giving any voice to this nonsense is bolstering a stupid movement that seeks to appropriate from both LGBTQ and Autism awareness activism.
So what does it mean to be on the “aromantic spectrum” … at least according to @stonewalluk? Well, to quote the Stonewall twitter account, “Aro is an umbrella term used by people who don’t typically experience a desire to have romantic contact or interaction with an individual.”
So you’re unable to experience romantic desire at all? Well, no. It’s a spectrum y’all, EXACTLY like Autism. “Others may feel attraction occasionally, or varying levels at different times.”
So aro people don’t feel attraction except during the times that they do, and they can experience romantic feelings at varying levels.
As one Twitter user said, “Isn’t that -like- everyone?”
Yeah, it pretty much is.
But hey, everyone wants a piece of that LGBTQ attention pie. Now cis het people finally have a reason to post a striped flag next to their bios. Oh, but they’re not cis het people anymore! They’re on the aro spectrum, which means they’re queer too!
Where were all these queer people back in the days when LGBTQ people were fighting in streets for rights, getting denied medical care because of the AIDS scare, and being forced into conversion therapy?
Sorry, I’m being a bit bitter. Maybe I’m being a bad ally to aro people.
But speaking as someone who usually does not feel romantic desire except during the times that I do, I too am on the Aro spectrum. So I can criticize too pal!
I am heartened, however, that very few people are taking this “Aro Spectrum Awareness Week” nonsense seriously. “Aro” seems to be a symptom of too much internet. At best, it’s harmless attention-seeking nonsense, like a fifteen-year-old coloring her hair purple. At worst, it appropriates from actual groups that need help, like people on the Autism spectrum, and gives a false definition for what it means to have a spectrum disorder.
More worrying, there’s evidence that nonsense like “aromantic spectrum awareness” reclassifies trauma symptoms from past sexual assault as a person simply being “aromantic.” When I researched “aro awareness” I found that far too many people who classified themselves as “aromantic” or “asexual” had a history of being sexually assaulted.
And let’s be clear. A trauma response is NOT a sexual orientation. Period. It’s a mental health problem that requires medical treatment. Reclassifying trauma as a simple sexual orientation that does not need intervention risks a psychiatric crisis and is linked to higher rates of suicidal thoughts.
So let us celebrate “Aro Spectrum Awareness Week” the way it should be celebrated: by ignoring it completely. Be happy and single. Be happy and slightly single with occasional flings. Be flirty, be romantic, be only slightly romantic, be non-romantic, be in love, be only slightly in love, be not in love at all and just have fun. Just be yourself and be honest with your partners.
And please stop appropriating from actual marginalized groups.