It’s Aro Spectrum Awareness Week.
The prompt for today is:
Friday, February 19: Write about your coming out experience. Was it tough to come out? Did you have to explain your identity on the spectrum to people? Do you have any advice to give to other aromantic and arospec people who have yet to come out? Alternatively, have you come out as aromantic or on the aromantic spectrum? What are some hopes that you have when/if you do?
You know, I think there have been only two times I ever came out to anybody who was not a member of the asexual and/or aro community.
One time was when my my mother was reading The Invisible Orientation. She was a bit overwhelmed with the complexity of the concepts used in the asexual community, including the ideas around romantic orientation, so she came and asked me which, if any, of these labels applied to me. I told her I was aromantic. Fortunately, since she was reading the book, I did not have to spend much energy explaining to her the definition of “aromantic”. Thankfully it was not a big deal. If anything, it was helpful, since it helped get the notion out of her head that I was interested in dating and partnering up in any sort of conventional sense.
So, based on that experience, my advice to people who want to come out is … have some kind of aro-101 material at hand that you think your intended audience will be receptive to. For example, my mother was more receptive to The Invisible Orientation than she was to websites. That said, she was to a large extent receptive to The Invisible Orientation because she had known for years that I was asexual. That was plenty of time for her to wrap around her head that, yes, I really am asexual, and thus develop a genuine interest in learning more.
The other time was at Manga Bookshelf, but since nobody commented on me coming out at aromantic, it was a very anti-climactic way to come out.
The biggest barrier to me coming out as aro to more people is that I do not want to go into exhaustive aro 101 if I do not have to, and without aro 101, I don’t think people would understand what I was saying if I said I was aromantic, and what’s the point if people don’t have a clue what I’m saying?
The long term solution to this, of course, is more aro education and awareness. Cheers for Aro Spectrum Awareness Week!