Ways Your Activism is Harmful To Ace and Aro People

In our quest for progress we must make sure that gains are not made at the expense of asexual and aromantic people.


Only by having important discussions can we really push for change. We must be willing to self examine as well as listen to others about how we can improve our activism. Still our spaces are often exclusionary or aphobic for ace and aro people.

Assuming sexual activity

A fundamental element to both the queer rights and sex workers’ rights movement is about body autonomy, as it should be. However, sometimes language descends into the idea that everybody is having sex or it’s normal to have sex and therefore it shouldn’t be policed. While nobody should ever be policed for whether they choose to have sex, we must not imply that everyone is having sex or that those who have sex are normal. This risks isolating and dehumanising those who don’t have sex. Asexual people who rarely, if ever, experience sexual attraction may understandably feel targeted by such language. Furthermore, by creating a society that believes having sex is normal and to be expected creates an environment where asexual people feel pressured to have sex. We must support ace people, whether they have sex or not.

Assuming no sexual activity or no romantic relationships 

In other words, just stop asking assumptions and keep language neutral. Some asexual people do have sex, some don’t, and some may even be sex workers despite what stereotypes people may believe. Aromantic people may also explore romantic relationships. These must be respected.

Prying

One of the biggest problems is the sense of entitlement people have around ace and aro identities. There’s a demand for explanations but ace and aro people shouldn’t have to justify their existence to anybody. It’s common for alloromantic partners or aromantic people to be asked how they could be with someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction. It’s invasive and demeaning. Let people have their relationships without prying. Their romantic lives or sex lives are none of your concern.

Pitting aro and ace people against each other

This is a sadly common practice. Whether it’s making ace and aro people fight over the one A that’s often given in the LGBTQPIA acronym (there’s two guys, seriously) or saying that ace and aro people aren’t compatible because they’re opposites. First of all, many ace people are also aro. Second of all, relationships are none of your business still. Thirdly and finally, ace people can date aro people and have fulfilling and meaningful relationships. Stop limiting people according to your own beliefs which are based on nothing more than prejudice.

Rewarding allies before acknowledging ace and aro people 

Queer awards often give out ally awards before they ever acknowledge ace and/or aro people. The A does not stand for allies. When people go out of their way to silence any chance of recognition for ace or aro people then it says that this movement isn’t safe for ace and aro people.

Dismissing the LGBTQPIAA acronym as a ‘alphabet soup’

This is a joke as tired as “so it’s free then?” when an item won’t scan on the till. It’s tired,  queerphobic and aphobic. So you don’t want to remember everyone’s identity yet still want your own respected? Take a seat and be quiet. Why should ace, aro, intersex and pansexuality/panromantic people not be included in the acronym? Why do some identities get to be allowed within the queer community but not others?

The fact is the LGBTQPIAA acronym is problematic – but because there aren’t enough letters. Our understanding of identities evolve over time, we develop new words all of the time. Any acronym that limits to single identities isn’t going to be fluid enough because inevitably, we’ll need to add more at some point (which is why we use “queer” but also support the use of “gender romantic sexual diversities” as they are more encompassing).

If you’re complaining about the acronyms because it is exclusionary to many queer people then, fine. If not, then you just sound like someone with immense privilege who doesn’t care to recognise how so many queer people are still facing hatred in society. So, which one is it?

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