Aro Week: My (Personal) Aromantic Manifesto

Handdrawn illustration of a yellow pasture against a background of hills and sparodic trees. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the aro pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Discussion Post sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

Over the last few years, the aromantic community has seen a comparative outpouring of recognition. It’s less common to see multi-identity art posts that remember asexuals but forget aromantics; it’s more common to see LGBTQIA+ blogs, spaces and communities referencing aromanticism. On Tumblr, I can find a wealth of positivity posts affirming many aromantic-spectrum experiences and even resources that reference aromanticism. Our existence, individually and collectively, is no longer solely the province of obscure art and essays … or presumed to be encompassed by asexuality.

We have a long way to go in acknowledging, including, supporting and protecting non-asexual aros, grey-umbrella aros, loveless aros, fluid and flux aros, aros of colour, non-English-speaking aros and disabled aros. Many of our gains have not yet reached or served all aromantics. The online aromantic world of 2021, however, bears little resemblance to that of 2011.

Past Aro Week content centres on demonstrating our existence: what we are, experience, feel, need, deserve. Now, though, such explanation feels repetitive; in 2021, I yearn to look inward, to face the questions underpinning my essays and storytelling. What does my aromanticism look like? What understandings, beliefs and obligations do I consider an inherent part of my aromantic identity? What do I owe other aromantics? What do other aromantics owe me?

This manifesto–my manifesto–details my belief in the creation of aromantic identity and community that refuses repackaged amatonormativity, rejects sex negativity and celebrates our radical, queer divergence from normal. Built from the bones of my intersection of identities and experiences, this list is limited at best and blinkered by my privileges at worst. Nor have I lived up to all its goals, because I am as flawed and hypocritical as any other human.

It is the start of an attempt to answer one question: what do I believe, as an aromantic seeking to understand and conceptualise aromanticism?

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Pride Patch Tutorial: Aromantic Alphabet

Six digitally-created versions of cross stitch pride patches, arranged in two rows of three, against a background of a textured partially-translucent aromantic pride flag. Text between the two rows reads Aro Pride Patches in black type. Patches include a rectangular patch in aroflux zigzag stripes, an idemromantic heart, an aro flag text patch reading "aro", a square in quoiromantic stripes, an arrow design in allo-aro colours and a second arrow in nebularomantic colours.

Aro Week feels like a good time to debut part four in my text patch miniseries: patterns for an A-Z alphabet of five-stripe lower-case letters for use in creating custom cross-stitched text patches and other needlecraft projects. Are you craving a patch reading “aromantic” in pride colours? What about “lithromantic”, “quoiflux” or “requiesromantic”? Or “no romo” or “fuck amatonormativity”?

These patterns will let you stitch the word or letters of your choosing in the colours of any horizontal five or ten striped flag design. Every letter also fits inside my A is for Aro frame patch pattern, allowing even more identities to display a pride-themed initial!

Three cross stitch patches and a cross stitch bag tag sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. First row shows a rectangular patch with the text "aroflux" in lower-case embroidered in the stripes of an aroflux flag against a black background with a grass-green border. Second row shows two patches: a rectangular text patch reading "queer" and a framed "letter N" patch. The queer patch has each letter embroidered in the stripes of a different pride flag--aro, abro, butch, trans and allo-aro-and is trimmed with a candy-swirl variegated floss. The frame patch has the letter N embroidered in the colours of the modified nebularomantic flag on a teal background, surrounded by a matching frame. Third row shows a bag tag, with the word "greyro" in the light green/white/light grey stripes of a greyro flag stitched onto natural/off-white aida. The aida has been sewn onto a green felt backing, the edge trimmed with green couching, and has a keyring attached to the back via a loop of darker green felt.

You’ll need familiarity with cross stitch (full crosses) and backstitch to make unedged patches, along with a buttonhole/closed blanket stitch to make the edged patches shown above. The first instalment of this patch tutorial series demonstrates cross and blanket/buttonhole stitch, while the second covers backstitch.

For a complete guide to the stitching process for text patches, please see part one of this miniseries, where I’ve posted step-by-step instructions for stitching text. All patterns in this series can be similarly modified in terms of letter spacing, adding/subtracting quarter stitches and layout.

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Discussing Allo-Aro Identity (And Why Fluid Folks Need Better Definitions)

Handdrawn illustration of a yellow pasture against a background of hills and sparodic trees. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/yellow/gold stripes of the allo-aro pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Discussion Post sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

I began my Allo-Aro 101 page by defining the words “allosexual” and “aromantic”. If “allosexual” is uncommon terminology outside a-spec spaces, “allo-aro” (in all its grammatical and stylistic permutations) is even less accepted. “Aromantic” itself voyages into arcane language, often understood by outsiders as only a relationship to or a form of asexuality. Visitors to this website may not know what “allo-aro” means, so–limited by current terminology and conceptualisations of the split attraction model–I follow the well-trodden educator’s path of first mimicking a dictionary.

I consider my following explanation more important, as an allo-aro whose relationship to this identity cannot exist untouched by fluidity:

Any allosexual aromantic who isn’t also, solely and permanently, asexual; or any aromantic who wishes to centre their experience of sexual attraction alongside their aromanticism. Heterosexual aros, bisexual aros, pansexual aros, gay aros, lesbian aros and aros with fluid or shifting attractions inclusive of allosexuality can identify as allo-aro.

Some allo-aros identify as both asexual and allosexual or shift between them. Abrosexual aros may be entirely allosexual or experience both asexual and allosexual identities. Aceflux aros may experience allosexual identities along with their asexual ones. Being solely and permanently allosexual should never be a requirement for allo-aro identity and community participation.

I can count on one hand (with spare fingers!) how often I’ve seen fellow a-specs acknowledge attraction’s potential fluidity in their defining of “allo-aro”. In stressing adverbs like “permanently”, I am an outlier in the genre of explaining allo-aro identity and community membership.

Most allo-aros explain our identity by the words comprising this term: allosexual and aromantic. What more need one say on this subject after coming to agreed-upon meanings for the words “allosexual” and “aromantic”? What more need one say than to explain that allo-aros are aromantic and not-asexual?

Such an explanation erases a non-zero number of fluid allo-aros (not to mention forcing aromantics who are neither asexual nor allosexual, or reject identifying with this binary construct, under the allo-aro umbrella).

It erases me.

Continue reading “Discussing Allo-Aro Identity (And Why Fluid Folks Need Better Definitions)”

A is for Allo-Aro Pixel Art Icon Set

Handdrawn illustration of a mountain road scene with trees in the foreground and bushes in the background. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/yellow/gold stripes of the allo-aro pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Resources sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

I’m finishing my quest to post something new each day of @aggressivelyarospec‘s Aggressively Arospectacular 2020 event by … squeaking in an extra Sunday post, because it’s still Saturday elsewhere in the world! I wanted to post an allo-aro set of my letter “a” pixel art icons and digital stickers, so why not take advantage of some time zone trickery?

These stickers are available for personal or non-commercial use with credit to one of my accounts.

The selection of allo-aro combo flags is still limited, but on Aro Arrows I have stickers and icons for trans, non-binary, bi lesbian, pansexual and bisexual allo-aro flags, as well as multiple flag variants for some of the stickers shown above. This set of twenty-eight images is also available in both simplified icon and bordered sticker styles!

For flag creator posts, please see my Allo-Aro Flag Guide and the #alloaro tag on @aroflagarchive.

A is for Aro Pixel Art Icon Set

Handdrawn illustration of a mountain road scene with trees in the foreground and bushes in the background. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the aro pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Resources sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

Continuing in my quest to post something new each day of @aggressivelyarospec‘s Aggressively Arospectacular 2020 event, today’s offering is for folks who can’t cross stitch their own pride patches: a set of pixel art icons and digital stickers based on my letter “a” cross stitch design.

These stickers are available for personal or non-commercial use with credit to one of my accounts.

If you’re after identities not shown above, or simplified (no border or drop shadow) versions better for Tumblr icons, please head on over to Aro Arrows! I have a set of forty-eight images in both icon and sticker styles for every aromantic-spectrum identity I can think of that begins with the letter “a” and has a five-stripe flag or flag base!

Aro-Spec Artist Profile: Neir

Handdrawn watercolour-style image of a sparse forest of redwood trees growing among grassy hills, with a white and orange fox sitting in the grass at the base of a tree on the viewer's right-hand side of the image. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the aro pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Artist Profiles sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

Our next aro-spec creator is Neir, introducing eir work to the world as R. Tally, better known here on Tumblr as @tallyrunning​.

Neir is an asexual, aroflux and genderqueer person demonstrating the diversity of talent amongst aro-specs in poetry, fiction and musical composition. You can find eir classical and ambient music on Soundcloud and eir writing on Wattpad and Booksie, encompassing an eclectic mix of literary fiction, autobiography, LGBTQ+ fiction and short stories. If you have a dollar or two you’re wanting to invest in worthy aro-spec talent, please investigate eir Ko-fi!

With us Neir talks about identity and connection to other people, composing non-romantic musical pieces, the fear of misinterpretation by alloromantics and the challenge of finding an audience for non-romantic works. Eir words encapsulate a passion for challenging alloromantic norms and celebrating unique creativity, so please let’s give em all our love, encouragement, gratitude, kudos and follows for taking the time to explore what it is to be aroflux and creative.

Can you share with us your story in being aro-spec?

My aro realization was fairly quiet, and it came much later than I think I logically would have expected it to, had I known it would. It was easy to figure out that I was asexual; sex has always made me very uncomfortable, and as I grew older I realized that it wasn’t immaturity that was causing my repulsion, but just lack of attraction. It didn’t make sense to engage in something I didn’t want to do with someone I didn’t want to do it with. I also had an ace friend at the time, so the vocabulary came easily to me.

My aro realization came much later, around halfway through university (not more than two years ago). A friend of mine whose feelings with regards romance I strongly shared got a boyfriend, and I became confused because if even she could feel romantic attraction, and we were so similar, why couldn’t I?

I am a touchy-feely person who loves hand-holding and hugs, so for the longest time I thought my strong love for my friends (and potential friends – notorious feelings called ‘squishes’ I couldn’t name at the time) had to be romantic. I honestly just did a lot of internet research and stirring in my own head until I woke up one day and just went, “romance is a sham, I don’t understand it and I don’t want it.” The -flux part of my identity is something I recently started using to label my vastly differing moods and feelings day-to-day regarding platonic attraction. Some days I love people and being close to others; other days I want nothing to do with anyone and am cold as ice.

Continue reading “Aro-Spec Artist Profile: Neir”