I've noticed a pattern in a lot of the "supportive" messaging I recieve from neurotypical people as an autistic person. It's genuinely well-intentioned, but also deeply ableist. They think autism is an obstacle to be overcome, not who I am.
The worst damage amatonormativity inflicted on my life happened before I came to terms with my aro identity. Amatonormativity prescribed a future for me that always felt intangible, because it was never really what I wanted in the first place.
Sometimes explaining my identity to non-queer folks means giving definitions that aren't entirely accurate—little white lies that make coming out easier. And I sometimes wonder if these half-truths amount to a betrayal of the community.
I find I tend to use different language to describe my identity depending on who I'm talking to. There are "layers" of specificity and detail I will use depending on whether I'm talking to another aspec person, another queer person, or a non-queer person.
It's hard to understate how pivotal the Asexual Visibility and Education Network was in shaping the modern asexual community, including much of the language aces use to describe their identity. But what about before AVEN? What did it mean to be asexual? This essay is my attempt at tracing the history of the usage of the term "asexual."