AVENues: Winter 2022

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Hello Aces! Welcome! In this issue, we will be looking at Aromantic Intersectionality! We will be exploring Aromanticism, with a focus on the Aro identity as well as other identities shared by aromantics. Through the use of questions, we explore the identities that overlap with Aromanticism, what people can do to support Aromantics, and when readers discovered their Aromanticism. We also interview two of our aromantic staff members using a number of other questions related to aromanticism. I look forward to seeing how AVENues changes in the future. Keep sending in your artwork, creatives, articles, and other items! I know you are in good hands. A welcome to all that continue to read AVENues

Janus the Fox Editor in Chief

EDITING TEAM EDITOR IN CHIEF: Jan the Fox LAYOUT: rainbowbarfeverywhere CO-EDITORS: kikuka scarletlatitude BENEVOLENT PT OVERLORD: AceMissBehaving

CREATIVE TEAM kelico MichaelTannock ben8884 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS/ARTISTS scarletlatitude SPECIAL THANKS TO: Interview: LeChat 3

Follow AVENues on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/AVENuesAVEN/ Follow AVEN on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/AVENOfficial/


AROMANTICISM AND ASEXUALITY CAN OVERLAP, HOW DO THEY INTERSECT FOR YOU/HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY? Quoiromantic Asexual Robert I identify as aroace. For me, identifying as aro seemed to come naturally once I identified as asexual. Since I do not experience sexual attraction, I also do not experience romantic feelings by default. To me romance and sex go hand in hand, so if I do not want sex then I do not want romance either. Mary Asexual hetroromantic, but still unsure if the romanticism is gray. Jasmine van der Veen I primarily identify as AroAce/aromantic and asexual. I tend to identify with aromantic in a more strict or specific sense, where asexual I mainly identify with for convenience cause it’s close enough to true Anonymous I’ve known I was asexual for about 6 or 7 years. I just recently began to identify as aromantic as well. Danielle I identify as a sexual aromantic. Kev I think I’m panromantic, but thought I was aro for a long time because it was so hard to differentiate between platonic and romantic love. I still don’t think I could explain it. Learning I was ace gave me the opportunity to explore the meaning of attraction of all forms and helped me better understand myself. Anonymous I’m an aroace. Anonymous I am new to this community and discovering how I fit. After

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learning about the various types of attraction it became clear the my sexual attraction to others is non-existent; I am still exploring what my romantic attraction is to others. ExplorACEtion I am demiromantic(or somewhere else on the aromantic spectrum) panromantic and a sex-repulsed asexual. Anonymous I am Aro Ace. Emily I’m aro ace. Kris I’m grey romantic and greysexual, but I usually identify as aroace because that’s what’s relevant. Skyla Aromantic Asexual. Nick I am aromantic asexual. Justine Aroace. TormentDubz I am asexual and demi romantic, and they intersect on experience of not being conventionally attracted to people (in all types of attraction). Anonymous I am a married asexual romantic female. Within my relationship I have begun to have an aversion to romance because it always comes with an intention of sexual intimacy. Learning I am asexual means learning to set new boundaries around romance and sex in my marriage so that I can accept the romantic connection I long for. Anonymous Asexual demiromantic. Helena

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I identify as both aromantic and asexual. To me, this means that I feel no confusion about how I process/interpret my relationships IE they are all either platonic or familial, and that is more than enough for me. All of my relationships “live” in the same place in my mind, and the only difference is how close I feel to one person over another. Thomas I believe they do in a way, but not in the way you’d expect. When I figured out I was Asexual, upon diving into and digesting a lot of the resources the Asexuality community provided including attraction models, I realised that my understanding all this time was engrained from early years in the closet and church. Caroline Elisabeth Cull

WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO TO SUPPORT ARO PEOPLE? I think having a clear, specific, and consistent definition/ explanation of aromanticism would be helpful. Hearing “not interested in romantic relationships” as opposed to “doesn’t feel romantic attraction” leaves too much room for misinterpretation and inaccuracy. I do not see these as mutually inclusive and/or interchangeable statements. For example, cupioromantics do not feel romantic attraction, but they may still be interested in seeking out a romantic relationship. Robert Just be understanding. Don’t judge us and call us “weird,” “crazy,” or “in need of therapy.” Don’t try to change us by offering to set us up on a romantic date or saying that we just haven’t been romanced correctly. That gives the impression that you think our identity is not legitimate. Mary Not explain asexuals as people who “can still feel love so they are normal” because we all have hearts, just want different types of relationships. I think overall awareness is the most important

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thing. Jasmine van der Veen There’s two main things I can think of. First is learning to stop conflating love and romance, second is to stop treating romance as “basic human need/what makes us human”. There’s a lot of people who still assume without romantic. Anonymous People-particularly non-ace/aro people- can support aro people by accepting the fact that there is nothing to “fix” about our identities. People in general can support aro people by knowing that they don’t need to understand aromanticism to support it. Danielle Take no gracefully. Kev Don’t assume a happy ending is romance or marriage. It can be, but isn’t always. Anonymous Not pressurize them to the point that aros have to pretend to be straight. Anonymous I am new to this community and discovering how I fit. After learning about the various types of attraction it became clear the my sexual attraction to others is non-existent; I am still exploring what my romantic attraction is to others. ExplorACEtion Be less pushy about finding “the one,” and respect that not everyone needs or wants a romantic relationship. Anonymous Respect that they aren’t interested in relationships. Kris Unlearn the idea that romance is essential for a happy life, and that not falling in love/experiencing romantic attraction makes someone”bad” or “evil”. Skyla

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Get informed about aromanticism and accept it as a valid orientation, and stop trying to erase our identity with the “you just haven’t met the right person yet” or with the “you can’t be forever alone”. Nick Just educate themselves more on it and the split attraction model. Justine Quit idolizing romance TormentDubz Be more open to listening and be willing to detach from their preconceived notions. Anonymous Stop contributing to the narrative that sexual intimacy is a necessary and frequent component of a healthy relationship. Anonymous Raise awareness, representation in media (socials, books, movies,...), education (for example in sex ed). Helena By not questioning us we say that we aren’t attracted to people sexually or romantically. Our orientation doesn’t affect anyone other than us, and so questioning or doubting us only hurts our relationship with the other person doing the questioning. Also by understanding that close, platonic friendships are just as impactful and important as romantic or sexual relationships, even between people of different genders. Understand that we are not inherently lonely, depressed people. At least in my experience, when I realized my orientation it was rather liberating, in that I’ve found myself to generally be much happier and more hopeful for my life/future after embracing these parts of me. Thomas The best thing you can do to support people is not to expect them to be your teacher. Just because you don’t understand something, it doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to somebody explaining everything or making it digestible. We have the resources. You have Google. Explaining our orientation to almost every single

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person is exhausting. Caroline Elisabeth Cull

HOW CAN PEOPLE BETTER UNDERSTAND WHAT AROMANTICISM IS VS WHAT ASEXUALITY IS? I think more discourse regarding the decoupling of romantic and sexual orientations a good start. Robert Asexuality is a lack of sexual attraction but aromanticism is a lack of romantic attraction. A person can desire sex with someone but not want any sort of romantic relationship with them. And a person can want romantic relationships yet not want to have sex with the person they are in the relationship with (although this one is difficult for me to wrap my head around). Liam Pearse I’m not too sure. Every allosexual I’ve talked to struggles deeply to differentiate the types of attraction. Jasmine van der Veen Romantic attraction is non-physical. Sexual attraction is physical. Romantic relationships don’t require a sexual connection. Danielle Aro is for romantic attraction, like wanting to date people or being in a relationship with them. Aces arent sexually attracted to people. Anonymous Understanding sex doesn’t equal romantic love, and the two don’t have to go hand in hand. Anonymous The ro in aro stands for romantic and the sex in ace (asex)

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stands for sexual. Emily Learn about the different types of attraction and listen to all kinds of aspec people (e.g aromantic allosexual, asexual alloromantic, aromantic asexual). Skyla Explaining them that sexual attraction and romantic attraction are not the same. Nick Again, educate themselves and listen to a-spec people. Justine Discerning different types of attraction. TormentDubz Good question! Helena passion that go beyond what you would tell a friend or family member) A-SEXual = no sex (may or may not include sexual behaviours that are not penetrative sex) That’s probably not the best description, but it’s the best I could come up with. Thomas Discerning different types of attraction.There are tons of resources online you can read into. Caroline Elisabeth Cull

IF YOU’VE EXPERIENCED AROPHOBIA, WHAT WAS THIS EXPERIENCE LIKE? I’ve never experienced any direct arophobia, but feeling like I’m the only one who doesn’t feel the way everyone else feels can be

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intimidating, othering, and ultimately belittling. Robert Thankfully I have not. Mary I’ve never experienced external arophobia, but internalized stuff was something I dealt with for a long time and amatonormativity affected me greatly. I used to call it the “aro blues” because I was genuinely sad that I wouldn’t get a typical fairytale happy ending and thought my life would be miserable, not helped by people around me constantly asking me if I was dating anyone. It helped a lot to realize that my life would be more miserable if I forced myself to do something so incompatible with who I was. Anonymous “You just haven’t found the right person yet”- a childhood friend when we were in our early twenties. Danielle When I mentioned to a friend I wasn’t sure if I felt romantic attraction to others they asked if that meant I wasn’t able to love. I was taken aback at the suggestion, the suggestion that I could be a cold, callous person because I possibly don’t feel one ExplorACEtion I’ve been told I’m gay and don’t want to admit it. Anonymous No. Kris It was disappointing. I was telling my mom that I was not interested in relationships or marriage and she just laughed and said “yeah...of course. You will change your mind”, and that I can’t spend my life alone. Nick I have not experienced it personally just because I’m not out to many people. Justine

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I’ve felt invisible, like society doesn’t see me at all Anonymous I didn’t because I haven’t told anyone yet and online i am only in “safe” spaces with communities who experience similar things. Helena It was strangely infantilizing. I had the sense that the other person associated being in a relationship with being more “adult” or “mature” than a single person, and that the only people who had no desire to be in a relationship even passively were literal children. When I told them that in fact I was not lonely and genuinely preferred to be single, they didn’t believe me and thought I was lying to myself to save face. They full-on pathologized my own reality to me. Thankfully I didn’t see this person ever again, but their “I know you better than you know yourself despite having just met you” attitude was very off-putting. Thomas It was hard, because I had heard those words a million times in my own head before coming out of the closet. Caroline Elisabeth Cull

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: LECHAT Interview by Janus the Fox Janus: As an Aromantic, what other orientations, romantic, sexual or otherwise, do you identify with? LeChat: Just “asexual” because I haven’t felt a significant or often pull/attraction to others to call myself any other sexual or romantic orientation… Janus: How has your aromanticism affected your life? LeChat: I didn’t know about “asexuality” or “aromanticism” when I was growing up, so I worried that something was wrong with me, for not feeling the way my peers did. I feel much happier, now that I’m older and have learned to accept myself (and not concentrate or worry so much about fitting in and having the same life as others). Janus: How/when did you discover Aromanticism/when did you realize you were aro? LeChat: I think I first discovered “aromanticism” when I rejoined AVEN, almost five years ago. I wasn’t sure if I was “aromantic,” since I’d experienced a few crushes/infatuations, while growing up. So, I just kept waiting, to see if I might, eventually, experience romantic feelings for anyone. But, I’ve realized there’s no harm in choosing the label for myself, now, even if it might change, in the future.

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Janus: What would you say to somebody questioning if they are aro? I’d advise anyone who’s questioning if they’re “aro” that it’s okay for them to take their time; they don’t need to worry or stress out so much about finding a label or their identity, right away. Also, being “aro” doesn’t mean they’re doomed to live a sad or lonely life; it’s possible to find fulfillment, happiness, etc. in other ways (e.g. relationships with friends and/or family; volunteering in the community, etc.), if that’s what would make them happy. Some aromantics decide to have a platonic relationship/partnership with a friend(s). Janus: How can people be better allies to people who are aro? LeChat: I think, it’d be helpful for allies to try to listen to aromantic people when they come out or try to explain their experiences and what their identity means to them (e.g. not interrupt them with the ally’s personal opinions or theories about why an aromantic person doesn’t feel romantic attraction to others, or why they might not be interested in dating or being in a relationship with anyone).

Thanks, and good luck with the next issue of AVENues!

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: SCARLETLATITUDE Janus: As an Aromantic, what other orientations, romantic, sexual or otherwise, do you identify with? Scarlet: I’m ace and heteroromantic / aromantic. Janus: How has your aromanticism affected your life? Scarlet: It has been about the same impact as being asexual. It’s super hard to find someone else who is an ace, let alone someone who is ace and likes light romo activities. Beyond trying to find some kind of partner it hasn’t really impacted me, unless you include disliking romantic movies. Janus: How/when did you discover Aromanticism/when did you realize you were aro? Scarlet: I discovered it a few years ago. Definitely talking to other aces (on AVEN and elsewhere) has helped me to figure out my romantic orientation. I had to think about the possible romantic identities for a long while before I decided, and I’m still not 100% sure. Janus: What would you say to somebody questioning if they are aro? Talk to other aces/aros. Look up some information on being aro. Then you need to do some inward soul searching to figure out what fits you best. Janus: How can people be better allies to people who are aro? Accept them for who they are. Just like being asexual, being aro doesn’t mean you’re broken. If you have a friend who is aro, accept them and their identities.

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Physical Health Resources • PopSugar Fitness (https://www.youtube.com/user/ popsugartvfit) “POPSUGAR Fitness offers fresh fitness tutorials, workouts, and exercises that will help you on your road to healthy living, weight loss, and stress relief. Check out Class FitSugar, our do-it-along-withus real-time workout show to sweat alongside fitness experts and Hollywood’s hottest celebrity trainers. Class FitSugar regularly covers the most buzzed-about workout classes and trends, including the Victoria’s Secret workout, Tabata, P90X, Bar Method, and more.” • Yoga with Adriene (https://www.youtube.com/user/ yogawithadriene) “Our mission is to connect as many people as possible through high-quality free yoga videos. We welcome all levels, all bodies, all genders, all souls! Browse our library of free yoga videos to find a practice that suits your mood or start a journey toward healing.” • Body Project (https://www.youtube.com/c/ BodyProjectchallenge) “High energy, motivating workouts to do from home. We created Team Body Project to share our passion for exercise and excellent movement with others who want to feel good about their body and experience great health.”

P hysical H ealth R esources


Mental Health Resources *If you or someone you know is currently experiencing a mental health emergency, please call your local emergency services (911, 999, 000, etc.). International • Check Point (https://checkpointorg.com/global/) Websites and emergency contact numbers listed by country. •

7 Cups (https://www.7cups.com/)

Call or chat with a therapist for emotional support. USA • SAMHSA (https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/ national-helpline) “SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.” •

IMAlive (https://www.imalive.org/)

Online crisis help chat M ental H ealth R esources


UK •

Mental Health Foundation (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/)

Information and resources for mental health. •

Together UK (https://www.together-uk.org/)

Online and in person help Canada • Crisis Services Canada (https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/ en/) Call and text services in English and French. •

Canadian Mental Health Association (https://cmha.ca/)

Information and resources. You can look up information based on your location. Australia • Lifeline Australia (https://www.lifeline.org.au/) 24/7 crisis support through phone, text, and online chat. •

Kids Helpline Australia (https://kidshelpline.com.au/)

Resources for kids and adults.

M ental H ealth R esources



A sexy P uzzle


ACE SPOTLIGHT AVEN is not affiliated with or responsible for other websites listed here

“SIP, SOY ASEXUAL” (YUP, I’M ASEXUAL) A tumblr for all Spanish speaking aces to feel welcomed and loved! https://adivinaquienesasexual.tumblr.com/

KITTEN KOMFORTS - LGBTQIA+ SOAPS For every ace flag bar of soap sold, we’re donating $1 to ace organizations! This includes AVEN, Asexual Outreach, and local groups. On top of that, for every aro themed bar of of sold, we’re donating $1 to an aro organization called AUREA. I can ship to North America and Europe right now. If you want to order soap and don’t see your country listed as an option, get in touch with Heart via PM on AVEN or use the “Contact Us” page on the website and I’ll figure it out! https://kittenforts.square.site/shop/lgbtqia-/6


For our 52nd issue, we will be exploring the efforts of Asexual Activisim around the world. We be looking at how well Asexuality is understood in various continents and countries! Fill out our questions of the month form here: https:// forms.gle/NJS14NdMvjR4DYvZ8


To submit creative works, please go here: https://goo.gl/forms/QQqfdfOR69niJFoP2

Send us your asexy jokes and puns here: https://goo.gl/forms/Rg4vlY6XZ7c17bNJ3

For larger submissions, please email us at avenues.submissions@gmail.com

You may also send a private message to any of the AVENues staff on AVEN