Why I’m romo aro, NOT greyromantic.
We all know the push at the start of last year. We wanted to be recognized. We wanted to be talked about. We wanted to be taken seriously. We helped change the popular definition of aromantic to be “little to no romantic attraction” to include more people. But at the beginning of last year, there was another push. A push to push aros who have romantic attraction out of their labels.
It started off pretty small. Individuals getting sick and tired of “aros and arospecs” but getting told they were using arospec wrong when they claimed this identity for themselves. “Arospec is for anyone who is on the aromantic spectrum! Including aromantic people!” Then why are you calling us that. Then why are you using it to distance us from your community.
I am using that word because you called us that, to make us seem like we aren’t one of you. You gave us a label, thank you. But also, fuck you for trying to take it away. I get told again I can’t use it that way. I give up, I have no label, and I feel isolated.
The argument continues. I call myself aro. I get told that the word only means no attraction ever. I get told it’s not my word. It’s not my word. I get told I don’t belong under that identity. I get told to use arospec. I dont want to use arospec, you told me I was using it wrong. I start hearing things you dont realize you are saying.
“Arospec is for the whole community, use that if you want to talk about the community as a whole. You aren’t aro. Don’t call yourself that. Aro is not an umbrella term, and arospec doesn’t mean you. It’s not your word. You have no language. The common language we use to refer to ourselves and you isn’t for you. It’s not yours. You can’t call yourself what we’re calling you, and you can’t use the only word we use to talk about the community.”
Again, I have no label, I feel isolated. But this time, I get angry. I get PISSED. I stand my ground, and I defend us. I flip the script, aros get pissed, and then… And then. The post. The damn fucking post.
A word lost to discourse: greyromantic. “This is what you are.” This damn post was sent to me every time I talked about being shoved out of the aromantic community. “Look! There is a word for you!” This damn post was sent to me every time I talked about being told my language was wrong. “You can use this word instead! No need to use ours.” This damn post was sent to me any time I brought up the treatment of partnering and sometimes-romo aros. “Why don’t you just use this word instead? See? We’re listening to and supporting you.” This damn post was used again and again and again by people who HAVE NO PLACE to tell me what my identity can be.
This post specifically was used to talk over me. This post was used to silence my voice. OUR voices. This post was used, primarily by aros who have never experienced romantic attraction, primarily by aros who will never fall under this umbrella, to tell me what I am. To tell me what I can and cannot be. To tell me that my language was wrong and I cannot use the language I had been using for myself.
and I won’t fucking use that label.
So what labels do I use? What label do I like? Why do I like them?
I go by romo aro. It was a private word me and my microcommunity had been using this whole time, that by the end I started promoting and making content for. This is my favorite and preferred label, because it can cover anyone who fits outside of the stereotypical aro alignment. Sometimes-romo, romo favorable, partnering, polyaff/polyam, queerplatonic aros, aros who enjoy romo content. and Anyone who would’ve been shoved under that “arospec” umbrella instead of aro. This word is inclusive, this word is radical, and this word can mean me, no matter what that means for me in that moment.
I use this word mostly because it is the only label that no one else forced onto me, and I will never force it onto anyone else. I prefer it because it is, and always has been, mine. I always had a choice, and it never belonged to anyone else. This word is mine, and I will not let anyone take it away from me.
I also use aro. While people kept arguing against me, for I while I just dropped talking about my identity as a romo aro altogether. I went by aro because it was easier and because it can be an umbrella term. The definition started shifting to mean “little to no romantic attraction” and I am forever grateful. This is a word I’ll keep, because no one forced it on me, and because people told me I couldn’t. Using this word was an act of defiance, and using this word was an act of belonging and assimilation. And now people recognize that this word can also belong to me.
And finally… I use arospec. It took me months (and by months i mean about 7 to be able to comfortably use it again) but this word was the first word I identified with. Public perception of this word has shifted, and people recognize that it can mean multiple things. People recognize that arospecs are allowed to talk about their experiences under this label, including how aros have wronged them. Slowly, people are able to recognize that this was a word used for aros to distance us from themselves, and that this was the first word a lot of us had. This word is a good label, and while it started as a reclamation, now it’s solid identity that people can recognize as being separate and different from the umbrella term. And that’s really really good.
I want to say I don’t hate the creator of that post. I don’t hate aros and greyros. But you NEED to start listening to romo aros and arospecs. When we say something is hurting us, people need to believe us and learn to start recognizing damaging language. And there CANNOT be tolerance in the aromantic community for people who will talk over people- especially aromantic minorities. And the aromantic community as a whole HAS to shut down and learn to STOP telling people if their identity and label is valid or not. I HAVE to stop seeing people in my notifications saying that my words are wrong. It HAS to stop. There was a mass exodus of arospecs last year around this time. My whole microcommunity is gone, and a huge portion of the community is missing, with most aros not even noticing. We HAVE to fix things for them. We NEED to make sure that will never happen again. We NEED to make sure that arospecs of all sorts belong.
This community does not have the time or space or numbers to be exclusionary and perpetuating erasure. It’s needs to stop. It’s time to start listening to arospecs. It’s time to start respecting people who have long since been ignored. It’s time the aro community takes a stand with us.
The aro community has grown, but it’s time to start doing more than what passive little it has recently learned to do. It’s time. Grow more. Take a stand.