Pride Month: Asexuality and the Aspectrum

BY THEA RICHINSON

What does ‘ace’ mean as an adjective? ‘Ace’ specifically means ‘asexual’, which is a term that describes someone who does not feel any or a very small amount of attraction to other people. Like heterosexual and homosexual are types of attractions, so is asexuality. One way I’ve found it described easily is to think of everyone you aren’t attracted to, and project it to everyone – that’s what a lack of physical attraction is like.

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The aspectrum includes asexuality, aromanticism, agenderism (pictured above respectively) – and all mean a lack of something. Aromanticism would be a lack of romantic attraction to people, or not having that feeling of wanting a romantic relationship with people, such as dating. Agenderism is not having a gender or not identifying with a gender. There are also terms that can add onto these first three – grey and demi. Grey refers to a grey area, represented on the flags in grey, where you’re sometimes asexual/aromantic, meaning that you don’t experience attraction to people often but still can. Demi refers to, in terms of orientation, needing a strong relationship with someone before being attracted to them physically or romantically, and in terms of gender, relating partially to the gender label that follows it, for example a demigirl would partially relate to being a girl, but not completely. This is represented by the black colours on the flags.

It’s important to understand that a-spec people are valid and that they can label themselves however they feel most comfortable. There’s a lot of stigma around a-spec people, like in case of ace/aro people being called ‘cold’, ‘broken’, ‘late bloomers’, or being asked if they’ve been traumatized by sexual assault. While some people who have been sexually assaulted may not want anything more to do with physically intimate situations, not every ace/aro person has had those experiences. Some people are just born without that attraction to others, just like some people are born with that attraction, and both are ok! I myself am asexual and I have never been abused or even bullied. I just do not feel any attraction to people.

Another thing to know is that if someone, for example, is asexual, they can also have a different romantic attraction. Using myself as an example, I am asexual, and I am also panromantic, meaning I am romantically attracted to people despite what gender they are. So even though I have no interest in people physically, I’d still be comfortable dating people, and that can be anyone because my attraction isn’t limited to one or two genders. At the same time, someone else could be asexual and also aromantic, meaning they aren’t attracted to anyone physically or romantically.

Overall, I hope you, dear reader, learned something new about gender, sexuality and how these individuals feel.

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