Take an anxious designer, an office supervisor and an employee who does something at a government-funded community organisation, sprinkle with gratuitous pride-flag references and garnish with observations about amatonormativity and cissexism.
The Rowan Ross stories focus on a transgender aromantic and the cis characters who try (but don’t always succeed at) to make a world welcoming of him … and their own late-recognised aromanticism.
(Both stories have been reprinted in the Bones of Green and Hearts of Gold collection.)
When Rowan Ross is pressured into placing an aromantic pride mug on his desk, he doesn’t know how to react when his co-workers don’t notice it. Don’t they realise he spent a weekend rehearsing answers for questions unasked? Then again, if nobody knows what aromanticism is, can’t he display a growing collection of pride merch without a repeat of his coming out as trans? Be visible with impunity through their ignorance?
He can endure their thinking him a fan of archery, comic-book superheroes and glittery vampire movies. It’s not like anyone in the office is an archer. (Are they?) But when a patch on his bag results in a massive misconception, correcting it means doing the one thing he most fears: making a scene.
After all, his name isn’t Aro.
Contains: One trans, bisexual frayromantic alongside an office of well-meaning cis co-workers who think they’re being supportive and inclusive.
Length: 6, 688 words / 21 PDF pages.
December isn’t the best time of year for a trans aromantic like Rowan Ross, although—unlike his relatives—his co-workers probably won’t give him gift cards to women’s clothing shops. How does he explain to cis people that while golf balls don’t trigger his dysphoria, he wants to be seen as more than a masculine stereotype? Nonetheless, he thinks he has this teeth-gritted endurance thing figured out: cissexism means he needn’t fear his relatives asking him about dating, and he has the perfect idea for Melanie in the office gift exchange. He can survive gifts and kin, right? Isn’t playing along with expectation better than enduring unexpected consequences?
Rowan, however, isn’t the only aromantic in the office planning to surprise a co-worker. To survive the onslaught of ribbon and cellophane, Rowan’s going to have to get comfortable with embracing the unknown.
Contains: A trans allo-frayro trying to grit his teeth through the holidays, scheming aro co-workers, a whole lot of cross-stitch, another moment of aromantic discovery, and many, many mugs.
Length: 9, 702 words / 29 PDF pages.