Guide To Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week
What Is Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week?
While the asexual community has begun to see more attention and media representation in the past few years, the same can’t yet be said for the aromantic community. But if you are or know someone who is on the aromantic spectrum, you can help change that by celebrating Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week.
Happening on the first week after Valentine’s Day of each year – that’s February 21 to 27 – Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week is a time to bring more awareness to and show support for those who identify as aromantic.
What Does It Mean To Be Aromantic?
Most people assume that sexual and romantic attraction are one and the same, but there is a growing consensus that one’s sexual orientation can differ from one’s romantic orientation. This means that who you’re attracted to sexually (or whether you’re capable of feeling sexual attraction at all) is not necessarily tied to who you’re attracted to romantically.
With all that being said, an aromantic person is someone who does not feel or seek romantic attraction, much in the same way that an asexual person does not feel or seek physical intimacy or sexual desires. And like asexuality, aromanticism is often viewed as a spectrum – you can identify as strictly aromantic, which means you have no interest in romantic relationships whatsoever, or you can fall somewhere in between aromantic and romantic.
Some people consider themselves as “greyromantic”, which means that they’re capable of feeling romantic attraction, albeit rarely or in certain circumstances. Others may identify as demiromantic, which means that they can only experience romantic attraction once they develop a deep, emotional connection with another person.
Why We Celebrate Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week
In most cultures around the world, finding love and life-long companionship with another person is seen as one of the most important aspects of our lives. Just look at the weight we put on Valentine’s Day, engagements, weddings, and anniversaries!
But many aromantics don’t feel the need or desire to enter a romantic relationship. And as such, they can often feel alienated, misunderstood, and judged by those who don’t understand that they simply cannot choose to fall in love.
One of the prevailing myths about aromanticism is that they’re “afraid of commitment”. Another assumption that aromantics tend to face is that they are “cold-hearted”. But aromantic people can enjoy lifelong friendships and care deeply for their parents and relatives.
All that is why Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week (ASAW) exists. According to LGBTQ Nation, ASAW is not only an opportunity to introduce more people to aromanticism, but to give aromantics a time and space to come together and celebrate their experiences.
The week-long observance first began in November 2014 under the name Aromantic Awareness Week and was spearheaded by the creators of the Arospecawarenessweek blog on Tumblr. The following year, the event was moved to the week after Valentine’s Day and the name was changed in a bid to be more inclusive of all who identify within the aro spectrum.
Today, ASAW is organized by the Aromantic-spectrum Union for Recognition, Education, and Advocacy (AUREA), a volunteer-based initiative that aims to “assist in the growth of the aromantic community and advocated for its interests” and Aromantic-Official, a blog dedicated to raising awareness and organizing events and resources for the aro community.
How To Celebrate Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week
According to the official ASAW website, there are a bunch of ways you can get involved in the next Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, including:
- Educate yourself: AUREA and Aromantic-Official have tons of resources online about what it means to be aromantic, as well as personal testimonies and essay collections from members of the community.
- Use your voice: If you identify as aromantic or are coming to terms with the possibility that you might be, consider sharing your story through writing prompts and social media challenges so that more people can learn about your experiences.
- Find an event near you: Meet fellow aromantics in your area.
The Bottom Line
Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week is an opportunity to educate people on the aromantic spectrum. It’s also a chance for those who identify as aromantic or have friends and family members in this group to take the time to affirm your identities.