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A-spec, or the a spectrum, is an umbrella term that encompasses both the asexual and aromantic spectra 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]

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Etymology

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

On Tumblr, an Aceing History blog speculates that the term "aspec" may have been used to describe the asexual spectrum in late 2015 or early 2016.[2]

Community

Identities under the umbrella

Asexual spectrum

The asexual spectrum flag.

The asexual spectrum, abbreviated as acespec,[1] 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]

Aromantic spectrum

The aromantic spectrum flag.

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

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

The aromantic asexual, or aroace, flag.

Aromantic asexual, also known by the abbreviations aroace[1] and acearo, is a term for someone who does not experience romantic or sexual attraction, making them both aromantic and asexual.[4]

Flag

The a-spec flag was created by Tumblr user The-Moon-Is-Aroace on March 25, 2019. The compass rose in the middle is a symbol of 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 their own separate and independent identities, with the black and gray quadrants connecting them. Black represents the aroace community and gray represents gray communities.[5]

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

The aloe vera a-spec flag was designed by Tumblr users Sapphic-Squirrel and Hetaces with help from the Inclusionist Discord Server and was posted on November 17, 2019. It was designed to mimic the sapphic, achillean, diamoric, and pluralian flags with three stripes and one plant. The green is for aromantics, the purple for asexuals, and gray for the area between a- and allo- identities.[6]

Controversy

There is some controversy around the term "aspec" allegedly being appropriated from the autistic community.[2][7]

The term is sometimes more broadly used to include other identities with the 'a-' prefix, such as agender,[8][9][10] though there have also been discussions on how "aspec" should only cover the asexual and aromantic spectra.[11]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 AUREA: "All Aromantic Terms". AUREA - Aromantic-spectrum Union for Recognition, Education, and Advocacy. (Archived on January 29, 2022).
  2. 2.0 2.1 lee (enbyhulk): "Do you, per chance, know when asexuals first started using the term 'aspec'?" (2017-06-06). Aceing History. (Archived on January 23, 2022).
  3. Asexual Visibility and Education Network: "General FAQ". Asexual Visibility and Education Network. (Archived on January 8, 2022).
  4. Holleb, Morgan Lev Edward. The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. ISBN 9781784506636.
  5. the-moon-is-aroace: "A new flag for the aspec community". If You Believe, We Put A Man on the Moon. (Archived on January 27, 2022).
  6. squirreltastic: "Hello Everyone! I want to present a community flag for the A-spec community!" (2019-11-17). Sapphic Squirrel Shenanigans. (Archived on January 24, 2022).
  7. Apersnicketylemon: "Aspec does not and has never meant ‘Autism spectrum’." (2019-11-20). The Lemon Void. (Archived on January 24, 2022).
  8. Hannah Moulton: "Somewhere on the A-Spectrum: Agender, aromantic and asexual people face misconceptions, aggression" (2015-10-08). utdailybeacon.com. Daily Beacon. (Archived on November 1, 2021).
  9. seaburs: "The [A] stands for ... what?" (2015-02-12). abloggingseaburr.wordpress.com. (Archived on August 11, 2016).
  10. Morgan Pasquier: "Explore the spectrum: Guide to finding your ace community" (2018-10-27). glaad.org. GLAAD. (Archived on March 24, 2022).
  11. "What is the "a-spectrum"?". arocalypse.com. (Archived on January 21, 2022).
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