February 20th – 26th, 2022
Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week (ASAW) is an annual, international event meant to spread awareness and acceptance of aromantic spectrum identities and the issues they face, as well as making more people aware of their existence while celebrating it.
ASAW generally occurs the first full week (starting Sunday) following Valentine’s Day; it began in large part as a way for those in the aromantic community who had difficulty finding space for their experiences in such a universally romanticized event to come together and celebrate their own unique experiences.
What is Aromanticism?
Aromanticism is a type romantic orientation – that is, an identity that can describe a persons relationship to romance or patterns of romantic attraction or interest. Aromantic people’s experiences of romance (or the lack thereof) are often disconnected from normative societal expectations in some way. This can be due to experiencing little to no romantic attraction, due to feeling repulsed by romance, or due to being uninterested in romantic relationships.
Many aromantic people mention having trouble relating to the experience of “falling in love”, or of having romantic “crushes”. Many may pursue non-traditional forms of intimate relationships, or choose not to have formal “relationships” at all.
There is significant diversity in whether aromantic may or may not enjoy specific activities that are often coded as romantic (such as kissing), be uncomfortable with romance, be single or have a partner or be married – those are individual characteristics that vary widely from one aromantic person to another.
In addition, aromanticism also includes a whole range of related identities, often referred to as the “aromantic spectrum”, which include people who may not identify as strictly aromantic, but who find that the label is still a close fit and that they have a lot in common with the community. Some groups within the aromantic spectrum may also adopt new terms like grayromantic, demiromantic, lithromantic, quoiromantic, etc.
Be an Ally
Being aromantic means being part of a marginalized community, and like any marginalized community, having others know about and stick up for us helps us feel safe and included. Because an ally might have more privilege than the aromantics they support, their voice is a powerful tool for helping aromantics be heard.
- If someone comes out to you as aromantic, do believe them and thank them for telling you.
- Do your research. Inform yourself about aromantic identities and experiences.
- Do correct others when they make mistakes or false assumptions, even when there aren’t aromantic people present.
- Do amplify aromantic voices.
- Don’t assume that every aromantic person feels the same way.
- Don’t belittle aromantics by saying that others are “more oppressed” than they are.
- Don’t expect praise, being an ally isn’t about stroking your own ego.
- Don’t expect aromantics to always speak up for themselves. It is sometimes dangerous or exhausting to do so.
VPA is happy to recognize and celebrate the Aromantic community. To learn more about aromanticism and the whole aromantic spectrum, check out these FAQs and other resources.