Breaking Out of My Comfort Bubble: How to Write About Asexuality and Aromanticism for Allos?

A few days ago Prism & Pen published my essay, “Are Aces Doomed to Just Be Tokens in LGBTQ+ Spaces?” (That’s the anti-paywall link; it will give you access to the story even if you aren’t a paying Medium member.)

Submitting this essay left me feel nervous beyond the typical nerves of submitting to a publication for the first time. First, entering an unfamiliar LGBTQ+ space as anything other than a mere ally gives me trepidation. My personal experience is that most LGBT spaces aren’t intended for aces or aros. Some of this is based on experiences over a decade ago, when LGBT organizers were far more unaware of asexuality. On the other hand, the small minority of LGBT people who are hostile towards aces and aros are more vocal today than ten years ago. If an LGBT space doesn’t clearly accept aces and aros in a way that’s easy for outsiders to see, my assumption is that it’s not a space intended to include aces or aros.

On top of all that, my piece included some criticism of something a Prism & Pen editor said. Criticizing the editor who chooses whether your essay gets published is a risky move. However, James Finn has shown before that he cares about showcasing a variety of views and not just works which confirm his own opinions, which is why I thought my piece still had a chance of getting accepted. And he accepted it for publication. This increases my trust in him as someone who values discussion among multiple viewpoints.

Though I’ve mentioned asexuality and aromanticism in writing intended for primarily allo audiences before, this is the first time I’ve written an essay primarily about asexuality and aromanticism for a predominantly allo audience. I feel out of my depth. What can I say to allos? What do they understand and not understand? Why would this be worth their reading time? Being out of my depth, however, means that I have a depth into which I can dive. If I write more essays about asexuality and/or aromanticism for a predominantly allo audience, it will stretch my writing skills in a good way.

Furthermore, writing to allos may be the best way to reach people who don’t consider themselves to be ace and/or aro but would conclude that they are ace and/or aro if they knew more about asexuality and/or aromanticism. The people who’ve never thought about whether they are ace or aro don’t read stuff aimed at ace and/or aro audiences.

I appreciate Prism & Pen because it’s a forum which allows me to learn more about lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and otherwise queer folk. That may be the best way to reach out, to exchange perspectives while bound by the mutual purpose of learning more about each other. Mutual purpose makes communication possible.

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