In the last twelve months or so, it’s become common to see folks scrambling for a term that conveys the meaning of “someone on the aromantic spectrum who doesn’t solely describe their aromanticism as ‘aromantic'”. “Aro-spec” was for a time beginning to be used this way, in the sense of “I’m an aro-spec ace”. Now, I’m seeing an increasing number of posts where the community is deciding that “aro-spec” includes all aromantics.
On the one hand, some of us have a need for a word that includes aros like me–aros who additionally use terms that aren’t “aromantic” to describe our aromantic identities. On the other hand, the alternative “greyromantic” (in its use as an umbrella term) doesn’t include everyone who feels that general aromantic spaces and terms are unable to encompass our needs because of the way we identify our aromantic identities and experiences.
When idemromanticism and my shape of nebularomanticism mean I am not greyromantic, but the general aromantic community’s approach to content and representation leaves me feeling alienated from my own community and even the word “aromantic” because it assumes a relationship to and understanding of romance and romantic attraction I don’t have, how do I find connection and support?
Let’s be real, here: “aromantic” is a broad term that encompasses us all. General aromantic community spaces, however, tend to focus on a few ways of being aromantic, particularly the kind that doesn’t require additional identity terms to explain how we experience or navigate romance, romantic attraction and relationship behaviours.
I am not greyromantic, but when I am lumped together with end-case aros as though that interpretation depicts my aromanticism, all I feel is how different–and unwelcome–are my experiences with regards romance and attraction. I have more in common with the greyromantic community than I have with most end-case aromantics, despite not being one of you. I need a way, therefore, to connect with other aros who don’t fit the standard end-case aromantic experience without misidentifying myself, a word that can’t be conflated with “aromantic” or “aro-spec”. A word not quite as wonderfully broad as “aromantic” or “aro-spec” but a little broader than “greyromantic”. A word that lets other people identify us without leaving cupioros and idemros under the “end-case aro” label as though the reasons we claimed those identities don’t matter enough to be worth distinguishing.
Dia aro: Someone on the aromantic spectrum who doesn’t solely, completely and in full identify their attraction and aromantic experiences with the word “aromantic”. A collective term welcoming everyone under the greyro umbrella who experiences some, limited, indistinct, vague or shifting romantic attraction; idemromantics, cupioromantics and bellusromantics; nebularomantics and quoiromantics defying the pressure to identify or distinguish shapes of attraction; aroflux and abroromantic folks; and anyone else who doesn’t identify their aromanticism as only “aromantic” because we cross or disregard the romantic/non-romantic binary or have differing or distinct relationships to the concept of romantic attraction and/or romantic behaviours.
Dia aro is not meant to be separate from “aro”, “aromantic” or “aro-spec”; it’s simply another umbrella term to describe how some of us are aromantic.
Dia is Greek for “through”. The word that inspired this is “diapason”, a musical term coming from a Greek phrase translated in English to mean “the concord through all the notes”. I feel this describes the purpose or benefit of uniting a diverse collection of aromantic-spectrum identities under one label.
It also needed to be easy to pronounce, type and spell, as the current phrase alternatives like “on the greyer areas of the aromantic spectrum” require more words to speak and type (far less accessible for disabled aros like me). It also needed to avoid confusion with “spectrum” and “aro-spec” and serve as a modifier for “aromantic”: dia aros are aro.
(I am aware that “diamoric” is a non-binary community term, but I’ve never seen a non-binary aro refer to themselves as “dia aro” to mean “diamoric aro”.)
Why you may wish to use it
If you want to make community spaces connecting the experiences had by people who have some form of romantic attraction, don’t know what attraction is, identify with romantic behaviours or can’t categorise their behaviours/attraction along a binary of romantic/non-romantic, dia aro is open to you.
If you want to reference or build a community space about many shapes of aromantic-spectrum identities that is broader than “greyromantic”, dia aro is open to you.
What if greyro folks dislike the concept of dia aro?
The community may need to consider using “greyro and dia aros” to describe this category of aro identities if some greyro folks dislike dia aro as an option and don’t want it to include them in any way.
The current situation, however, either forces me under the greyromantic umbrella or denies me language to communicate and connect to, more broadly, the experience of having an aromantic identity that isn’t solely encompassed by “aromantic”. We understand the need to distinguish greyromantics, sometimes, as an umbrella category from general aromanticism because you have different experiences with regards romance, attraction and relationships.
Surely you can understand why I also have that need?
All the stripes are taken from various aromantic identity pride flags, to demonstrate some of the many shapes of aromanticism dia aro encompasses.
Darkest pink: abroromantic
Middle pink: cupioromantic
Lightest pink: inactromantic
Grey: demiromantic, requiesromantic
Lightest green: recipromantic
Middle green: greyromantic, arovague
Darkest green: aegoromantic
I admit that the colours don’t match in terms of hue transitions, but I prefer to keep the symbolism of sharing the stripes with other flags.
The pink stripes represent a diversity of relationships to romance.
The grey stripe represents a state between, outside or beyond the romantic/non-romantic binary.
The green stripes represent a diversity of relationships to aromanticism.
A final note on use and inclusiveness
Dia aro exists so folks can distinguish the “type” of aro in a category that isn’t as broad as “aro” or “aro-spec”, is a little broader than “greyromantic” and isn’t as specific as “idemromantic”. I will still be referring to myself as aro and using our green flag! Dia aro just encompasses the part of me that refers to myself as nebularomantic and idemromantic. I see it as akin to how many of us currently use “allo-aro”: an expression of identity that sits alongside our aromantic pride, not replacing it.
If we develop another term, that’s all to the good! But I’ve spent months struggling with the absence of a word to describe this category of how some aros are aromantic. I am not okay with seeing myself continually ignored and erased for want of an identifying term that recognises a group of aromantic experiences. Until the community comes to some other shape of consensus, I will be calling myself, when needed, dia aro.