adventures of a non-binary little awesome trans*person in a binary world.
Everyone has a romantic orientation, just like everyone has a sexual orientation. A lot of people are not aware of the fact that romantic and sexual orientations can be completely different. Romantic orientations are important among the asexual community. Below are the various romantic orientations: (information found on Wikipedia)
- aromantic- no romantic attractive towards anyone
- biromantic/ambiromantic- romantic attraction towards both men and women
- heteroromantic- romantic attraction towards the opposite gender
- homoromantic- romantic attraction towards the same gender
- panromantic- romantic attraction towards any gender
- polyromantic- romantic attraction towards multiple, but not all, genders
- andromantic/gyneromantic/ambiromantic- romantic attraction towards those expressing masculinity, femininity, intersex/third gender-mixing without implying the gender of the individual experiencing the attraction (often used by asexuals with a non-binary gender identity.)
If you haven’t yet seen the six part featured series on asexuality at Huffington Post this week, you should definitely check it out (the comments section is littered with the usual negative commentary, fair warning).
But I want to take a second and consider what this article is helping us achieve as a community. I think we get a few big things from this article:
1. Increased visibility and awareness
We’ll start with the obvious: a featured series during Pride Month, two articles of which were featured above the proverbial fold, on a site as big and as well known as the Huffington Post is just massive. Asexual Awareness Week saw a giant jump in traffic on our website and a healthy boost of likes/followers on Facebook and Twitter. For years, people will be able to reference this article as the way that they found out about asexuality (whether they are ace or not). And if they read the entire series, they will have a comprehensive set of basic information about asexuality and more. That this series is not just another basic 101 piece on asexuality is a huge gift to our community.
2. Journalistic engagement
I was incredibly impressed with the journalist who wrote this series, Dominique Mosbergen. By the time we talked, she already had a detailed understanding of asexuality. At the end of the interview when I suggested others for her to talk to, she confirmed that she was already going to be talking to almost everyone I could think of. As the piece developed it went from being a one off article to a three part series to a five part series, and then grew again to the six parts that ran. She did what we’ve been asking for years, which is to engage us as a community rather than just write about us as an interesting fact-of-the-day.
3. Displaying our diversity
Because of the actual engagement done in preparation for this article, the series is one of the most inclusive looks at our community that I’ve ever seen. The article features several gender non conforming folk (including a couple of prominent trans/ace activists, Micah and Maddox), a variety of age ranges and romantic orientations, as well as across the ace spectrum, talking about demi, grey, and aromantic experiences too. And who can forget the ace spectrum infographic? Oh infographic, how you will be a tool for us for years to come.
4. Busting up stereotypes
In addition to the 1800 words of this series devoted to breaking down all sorts of myths, I thought that there seemed to be way more male identified people (both trans* and cis) quoted in this article. Usually media about asexuality either features a couple where one or both are asexual, or features a guy (often times David Jay) and one or more female identified folks. Having more male voices helps bust up the stereotype of asexuality being the “natural female condition” or whatever. Also, the aces interviewed were several different age ranges, which helps to break up the “just a phase” stereotype. The discussion about romantic attraction from several different romantic orientation perspectives — homoromantic, panromantic, aromantic — and the discussion of relationships like Issac and Katie help even more.
There is a lot to celebrate about this series and what it’s doing to help boost awareness in really positive ways. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s the best we’ve seen in quite some time.