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A-spec, or the a spectrum, is an umbrella term that encompasses both the asexual and aromantic spectrums and the many sexual and romantic orientations that are part of them. These orientations involve conditional attractions or experiencing no attraction. It can also be used as an identity term for people who do not differentiate their experiences of conditional or no attraction into separate labels.[1]

Etymology

The term a-spec is short for a spectrum.[1]

Tumblr user historicallyace speculates that the term "a-spec" may have been used to describe the asexual spectrum in late 2015 or early 2016.[2]

Community

Identities under the umbrella

Asexual spectrum

Asexual Spectrum Flag

The asexual spectrum flag.

The asexual spectrum (abbreviated as acespec, ace spec, or ace-spec)[3] refers to sexual orientations that are asexual or are closely related to asexuality. Identities under the asexual umbrella are closely connected as part of a broad community.[3][4][5]


Aromantic spectrum

Aromantic Spectrum Flag

The aromantic spectrum flag.

The aromantic spectrum, abbreviated as arospec[1] or aro-spec[3], refers to romantic orientations that are aromantic or are closely related to aromanticism when placed on a spectrum ranging from aromantic to alloromantic.[1][3][5]

It is also used by people whose aromantic identities are conditional, unreliable, or atypical to societal expectations, and by people who simply do not wish to label it further.[1] Identities under the aromantic umbrella are closely connected as part of a broad community.

Aromantic asexual

Aroace Flag

The aromantic asexual, or aroace, flag.

Aromantic asexual, also known by the abbreviation aroace, means people who are both aromantic (aro) and asexual (ace)[1] or on the aromantic spectrum (aro-spec) and the asexual spectrum (ace-spec).[3][5]

As terms for specific identities, aromantic refers to someone who experiences little to no romantic attraction and asexual means someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction.[1][6]Aromantic asexual people may or may not feel other forms of attraction that are neither romantic nor sexual.[3][5] Some aromantic, asexual, or aromantic asexual people may also feel romantic or sexual attraction for others, but don't feel a need to act on their attraction.[7] They may also only see this attraction as fantasy, which is why some don't feel a need to act on it.[8]

Flags

Tumblr user the-moon-is-aroace created the a-spec flag on March 25th, 2019. The compass rose in the middle symbolises how individuals all experience romantic and sexual attraction in different ways, if at all. The green and purple are on opposite sides of the quadrant to show that asexuality and aromanticism are separate and independent identities, with the black and grey quadrants connecting them. Black represents the aroace community, and grey represents grey communities.[9]

A-spec aloe vera flag

Another a-spec flag, featuring an aloe vera plant.

Tumblr users sapphic-squirrel and hetaces, with help from the Inclusionist Discord Server, designed the aloe vera a-spec flag, posted on November 17th, 2019. It was designed to mimic the sapphic, achillean, diamoric, and pluralian flags with three stripes and one plant. Green represents aromantic individuals, purple represents asexual individuals, and grey represents the area between "a-" and "allo-" identities.[10]

Controversy

There is some controversy around the term "a-spec" allegedly being appropriated from the autistic community.[2][11]

The term is sometimes more broadly used to include other identities with the "a-" prefix, such as agender.[12][13][14] However, there have also been discussions on how "a-spec" should only cover the asexual and aromantic spectrums.[15]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "All Aromantic Terms" by AUREA on AUREA - Aromantic-spectrum Union for Recognition, Education, and Advocacy(Archived on 2022-01-29)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Do you, per chance, know when asexuals first started using the term 'aspec'?" by lee (enbyhulk) on Aceing History. Published 2017-06-06. (Archived on 2022-01-23)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Ace and Aro Journeys: A Guide to Embracing Your Asexual or Aromantic Identity by The Ace and Aro Advocacy Project. Published 2023 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 9781839976384.
  4. "General FAQ" by The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) on The Asexual Visibility and Education Network(Archived on 2024-05-03)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Amazing Ace, Awesome Aro: An Illustrated Exploration by Victoria Barron. Published 2023 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 9781839977145.
  6. The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze by Morgan Lev Edward Holleb. Published 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 9781785923425 (paperback), ISBN 9781784506636 (eBook)
  7. "Asexual, or ace (SO)" on <itgetsbetter.org>. Published by It Gets Better Project. (Archived on 2023-05-15)
  8. "LGBTQ Definitions Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation" on <refinery29.com>. Published 2018-06-1 by Refinery29. (Archived on 2023-05-22)
  9. "A new flag for the aspec community" by the-moon-is-aroace on If You Believe, We Put A Man on the Moon(Archived on 2022-01-27)
  10. "Hello Everyone! I want to present a community flag for the A-spec community!" by squirreltastic on Sapphic Squirrel Shenanigans. Published 2019-11-17. (Archived on 2022-01-24)
  11. "Aspec does not and has never meant ‘Autism spectrum’." by Apersnicketylemon on The Lemon Void. Published 2019-11-20. (Archived on 2022-01-24)
  12. "Somewhere on the A-Spectrum: Agender, aromantic and asexual people face misconceptions, aggression" by Hannah Moulton on <utdailybeacon.com>. Published 2015-10-08 by Daily Beacon. (Archived on 2021-11-01)
  13. "The [A] stands for ... what?" by seaburs on <abloggingseaburr.wordpress.com>. Published 2015-02-12. (Archived on 2016-08-11)
  14. "Explore the spectrum: Guide to finding your ace community" by Morgan Pasquier on <glaad.org>. Published 2018-10-27 by GLAAD. (Archived on 2022-03-24)
  15. "What is the "a-spectrum"?" on <arocalypse.com>(Archived on 2022-01-21)
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