I chose this month’s Carnival of Aces theme because I’ve had a bunch of thoughts about symbols of identity lately, and wanted to force myself to write them down. So here they are, in no particular order.
1. I started wearing a black ring this Fall, and I love it. I barely take it off, and it’s really become a part of me. (It’s silicone, so I don’t have to take it off for anything, and very light, so it’s barely noticeable. It also makes a great fidget toy…) But I have a dilemma. I’m not out to my mom, and I’m not ready to have that conversation. I’m afraid she’ll see it and ask about it when we’re on holiday together in a few weeks, and I don’t want to lie about it either. I didn’t wear it when I was home for Christmas, but I don’t really want to do that this time. So I’m not sure what to do.
2. I have my black ring for asexuality and a rainbow zipper pull on my backpack for queerness, but I don’t have a symbol for being aro-spec. Part of that is because I’m in the “classifying attraction as romantic or not romantic doesn’t really work for me” part of the aromantic spectrum, so I don’t fully feel comfortable using the aromantic flag as my symbol, and there doesn’t seem to be much else. I’d really like something more subtle, like the black ring. I’m totally fine with using the rainbow flag and having anyone see it and identify me as queer, but I’d rather be quieter about my aspec identities, and I feel like anything with an obvious pride flag striped design invites notice. I’ve looked at aro themed jewelry, but I’m not really a jewelry person, and nothing has jumped out at me.
3. What I really want most is something—a button, a keychain, a piece of jewelry, etc.—that combines all three of my identities in one item. My identities are separate enough that I want something to represent all of them, but intertwined enough that I want a single item.
4. A while ago I came across a tweet, which I didn’t save, but the gist of it was that “ace symbols and community culture, unlike those of other queer identities, are just about being silly and making jokes.” I didn’t respond on twitter, because I’m not interested in inviting these people in my life. But what I wanted to say was that ace culture is about a whole lot more than just “lol cake.” It’s about community. Sharing silly cake memes is a way to say “it’s you and me against the world” instead of feeling like “it’s me alone wondering what’s wrong with me.” The black ring is a constant reminder of self acceptance and of existence in a unaccepting world that mostly doesn’t know we exist. Flying a flag is about being proud of who you are.
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This was a really good post and i really appreciate and relate to plenty of aspects of your perspective. The symbols aren’t just a joke or silly. Also the reason I’ve been doing so much pan and Aro stuff is bedside aro flags by themselves feels similarly not quite right to me for my quoiromantic adjacent identity
I keep telling myself I’d probably identify as pan-something if there was the right something to put there that wasn’t -sexual or -romantic, but I hadn’t considered incorporating pan symbolism. I’ll have to think about that. Hmm.
I actually have not written anywhere or told anyone this yet really even at in-person meetups but the more I hung out on Coyote’s arocalypse threads about orientation the more I realized maybe I should really just not say I’m gray-panromantic but instead say I’m pan-alterous or some other pan term because -romantic just feels like the incorrect suffix for my pan-ness lol… But. Alas. Idk. I’m certainly quite attached to all the symbolism right now so i don’t think being something pan and something aro, both of those, is going anywhere lol? I feel petty settled until my identities.
*into my identities
I totally get this. If there was a suffix that meant attraction without saying anything about the type of attraction… I don’t know, maybe there is, I haven’t actually gone looking. I’m pretty comfortable with just saying I’m aro-spec and not really having a word, even if it’s a bit unwieldy at times. So even if I found a word that was a good fit, I might not want to use it, just like you say. I’ve just gone with queer instead of pan-something, I guess.
Your way totally works too!
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