What's the 'A' Stand For?

Being a minority is hard. As a teenager in America who is African American, female identifying, aromantic, and asexual, I can speak to that.

In general, being a black girl is hard enough. Constantly being under represented in media, or stereotyped, or being considered “not black enough” has always been an issue for me. My entire life, I was classified as “acting white” because of how well I did in school and how I spoke and carried myself, especially when I went to my first public school. But that was the easy part. Now that I'm in high school, being different—in the ways previously talked about, at least—is okay. You can be a black girl who loves reading and writing and is your typical Marvel nerd in a high school environment. However, I began to discover that acceptance only goes so far.

Over the summer between freshman and sophomore year, I started to come to terms with my sexuality and romantic orientation. When I say this, I don't mean I realized I liked girls. No, that's not it at all. I didn't stumble across a change in attraction, I found the lack of attraction whatsoever. After discovering the word “aromantic”—which means little to no romantic attraction to anyone, no matter what type of identifier they use—my life got a little clearer. I was able to understand small parts about myself that seemed to not fit with the norm, and that was the reason why. I also, at a later time, began to identify loosely with the term asexual, meaning little to no sexual attraction to someone.

So, sophomore year rolls around, and I join my school's Pride Club (which you may know as GSA). Everyone knows the acronym, which is LGBTQA+, and everyone (thinks they know) knows what each letter stands for. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning and….NO, THE A IS NOT FOR ALLY. The A in the increasingly famous acronym for the non-cishet population stands for agender, aromantic, asexual, etc. Anything that uses the prefix a- which is to mean without. For example, anarchy means lack of government, atheist means not a theist or believer in religion, and asexual means without any sexual gestures, feelings, or associations. For those in the back who need an example: Hank's friend placed her hand on his shoulder in a friendly, asexual manner. Either way, the pride club was symbolic of every letter in that acronym except for the A. It was a-asexual and a-aromantic, you could say.  Anyway, I was the only consistent ace and aro member of the club, and until I said that everyone assumed I was the ally that the club needed to truly not be a gay fest (which it still is ft. me on the side).

This article was meant to expose some sort of feeling regarding under representation of black women and also of aromantics and asexuals in any kind of meaning. It kind of turned into a rant, but that point still (kinda) stands. This lack of representation (a-representation haha...is it getting old?) has made a drastic change to my self confidence and how I feel about myself. The knowledge of how I identify used to make me feel like I had finally taken a step in the right direction, towards discovering myself and who I really am. As you can probably predict, that is no longer the case. Nearing the end of sophomore year now, I have stopped deliberately pointing out my ace/aro-ness and most people assume I'm a Normal Straight Girl™ anyway. I only have a few friends who truly respect and understand me, and I've stopped complaining about the uneven keel on which I live. Hopefully it'll settle when I go off to college.