I’m glad I haven’t recently encountered much in the way of people dividing asexual people by romantic orientation. What bothers me most about people doing that is that it leaves me completely uncertain about where I stand. None of the few most popular labels for romantic orientation – heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, or aromantic – seems to apply to me satisfactorily, and I don’t think I can ever unreservedly choose one of them. When asked about it I tentatively describe myself as grey-panromantic. But the truth is that I don’t know, nor do I think I’ll ever know, what romance or romantic attraction is, or whether those are things that I experience. And I’m in a relationship that people sometimes assume is romantic from our behaviour, but just what parts of our relationship appear romantic I’m not sure.
It’s especially frustrating when someone makes a clear dividing line between homoromantic, biromantic, and panromantic asexual people on one side and heteroromantic and aromantic aces on the other, to claim that, say, people in the former category can claim to possess a queer orientation while people in the latter category cannot. Because then there’s a Schrödinger’s cat sort of phenomenon whereby if I count as panromantic, then my orientation passes some test of queerness, but if I count as aromantic, there’s nothing queer about me, and since I don’t know and probably never will know whether I count as panromantic or aromantic, I have to conclude that my orientation is simultaneously queer and not queer.* But in my actual day-to-day life, whether or not I can call my orientation queer has little bearing on the way I actually experience things. Either way my passing as straight relies on me concealing certain aspects of my relationship with my partner. Either way it’s really awkward for me when someone assumes that I have a sexual interest in women (and usually also that said interest is among my top concerns). Either way I spent my adolescence and the first years of my young adulthood completely baffled about my sexuality.
* In practice, I avoid referring to myself or my orientation as queer, partly because of my perpetual uncertainty about whether it’s a word I can claim for myself and partly because I want no part of any debate over the precise demarcation of the community of people it describes.