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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPRM chapter.

Words like Valentine’s Day can elicit a lot of reactions and emotions on various amounts of people. For some it’s the time of the year to impress and perhaps make their first nerve-wrecking move on that one person they love; others look to impress because they have messed up on a prior engagement and are looking to make it up to that significant partner. Others most certainly use this occasion for friendly or otherwise to show their devotion to that “special” someone.

But, what about those of us that aren’t allosexual Or alloromantic? What about us that may take a little while to feel this connection and just can’t do it at the moment and can’t really make time for it? Can you time love? If so, how?

Valentine’s Day as a person that falls under Ace and Aro spectrum puts me in a very interesting position to be in, in relation to the expected way to act. I personally can’t find myself behaving in the sort of pattern that many others may find themselves in, and I suppose that is quite it. I notice a pattern and it has a name. Amatonormativity which is defined as the assumption that all people pursue love or romance and that is often thought as a monogamous long term, it was coined by Elizabeth Brake, after many years of feeling out of place and honestly still feeling that sort of sting on these occasions I could never find myself able to express it perfectly well. I found that this was able to describe some aspects of this normativity we give to love and how one should love.

But first let’s start defining things for the people that might not know too much about Aro/Ace community.

Aro from Aromantic is feeling little to no romantic attraction. It is certainly not that people that are “cold hearted” or people that may have commitment issues as it usually brought up in my experience. People in this community can really love romance as a concept and like how it is but never get to experience it, that is the core of what the word and identity tries to convey, not being to experience Romantic love.

Ace from asexual is feeling little to no sexual attraction. It is not people being prude, and it should not be confused with celibacy as I was asked a few times when I came out as Ace.

Those people that don’t feel sexual attraction or romantic attraction are known as, respectively, Allosexual and Alloromantic. So why the need for these ideas? For what reason do these classifications and identity can help us?

Having defined the most affected group of people being the Aro/Ace community and the thing that is affecting it being Amatonormativity, now we can start talking and asking questions on way one loves and is expected to love and what they should love. This is not just a thing that affects our community, many people nowadays aren’t really being able to satisfy that expectation as well women are still expected to be in the role of caregivers, to perform a certain type of femininity and to fit into the mold the patriarchy has for us.

Ideas such as one true love, boy meets girl, love triangles, or forbidden love in some cases are one of the ways that we can examine and see how Amatonormativity affects us in the media. One should be able to question why story tropes exist, why do we like them, why do we push for these things? And when it comes to interacting with others, especially in family settings, comments like “and the boyfriend/girlfriend?” or any inquiry of that nature will assume the person being asked is a person that experiences romantic feelings and it is an erasure of our experiences that also makes us uncomfortable and many of us grow up thinking we’re lacking something that supposedly made us human.

One question that always stays with me as part of this community is, why is my love for my friends lesser than the so-called romantic love? Am I less because I do not experience this? Why am I so different and near unlovable if I do not want to have sex?

Do people only want me for my body?

This is certainly not a question exclusive to us, but we also experience this rejection, this phobia and on this valentines, I just wish to remind folks within LGBT community and outside that we exist, we are out here.

Now that we’ve heard from the Aro/Ace community from someone who is a part of it, I’d like to add my two cents as someone from an outside perspective. With concepts such as allosexual, alloromantic, and amatonormativity defined, let us throw heteronormativity into the mix. Heteronormativity is the idea that the default is straight or heterosexual couples. This is a social construct we’ve been indoctrinated into since birth, and it’s something that affects the entire LGBT community. However, what happens when we mix heteronormativity with amatonormativity, and how does it specifically harm Aro/Ace people?

Society holds a standard for us of finding our soulmates, getting married, and eventually having kids. That’s the societal definition of an accomplished life. For those of us who can feel romantically towards other people, this isn’t necessarily a problem as we aspire to find true love and live a happy life with our partners. Yet, have we sat down to consider those who can’t feel the same way we do towards love? The answer is probably not, because we’re used to this norm.

Our society also places romantic relationships at a higher level than any other for the same reasons mentioned before. Since very early on, we have been shown couples, specifically straight couples, all over the media. These are presented as the center or most important relationships in our lives, even beyond those with family and friends. If this is all we ever see, who wouldn’t think this is the only or right option? Thankfully, as of recently, there’s more representation, but it’s not nearly enough, and it’ll take more than that to repair the damage already done.

Even if we aren’t part of the Aro/Ace community, it’s our duty as humans to make the world one that is welcoming and safe for all kinds of people. We can start by evaluating holidays such as Valentine’s Day and how we can make them more inclusive to those who experience little to no romantic or sexual attraction. 

First, we should begin by deconstructing the hierarchy we’ve built between relationships. Romantic relationships shouldn’t be above or below platonic ones; both can hold the same amount of importance and respect. More precisely, let’s begin to emphasize platonic love and acts of friendly devotion because it’s normal to feel deeply about our friends without implying romanticism. As well as this, we have to be open to exploring the possibility of there being other forms of love yet to be identified or labeled.

Particularly when discussing the Ace spectrum, we need to stop making relationships all about sex. We must normalize not wanting or needing to have sex in order to be with someone. Society has already begun normalizing people choosing not to have kids; let’s take it further and do the same with couples deciding not to have sex.

Aro/Ace people can go beyond that line of normativity society has drawn, and there shouldn’t be any hate thrown their way. If anything, the fact they continue to persevere in a place that is not yet entirely welcoming to them shows how brave and beautiful their experiences are. So, on this Valentine’s Day and every other time of the year, let’s start being more considerate by applying these things, but also continuing to educate ourselves.

The newest trans writer of her campus UPRM Chapter writing about the experiences as trans woman and exposing the personal experiences of the trans life and documents and shines a light on trans issues on the campus and beyond. Marceline studies bachelors in Arts, works as Social media manager for the Association CINEMATHQUE, and project SIEMPREVIVAS as well working Community reach worker in the Student Association of Theory of Art, and as well as Student Association of the Artistic Workshop, and she is an active member in Amnesty international for her concern for human rights In her free time Marceline engages in poetry and brings forth her most artistic side and what she has learn her time in her Bachelors degree by creating traditional art pieces as well as graphic designs with special interest in Inkwork, her poetry focuses on the transgender experience and her own relationship with her body
Jaimylee Feliberty Padilla is a dedicated writer at the Her Campus chapter at UPRM, where she brings her unique perspective to the world of entertainment. Her writing primarily focuses on literature, music, and films, showing a deep understanding of these areas. Jaimylee is known for her insightful analysis of artistic works, providing new perspectives to readers. Currently a second-year student at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez, Jaimylee is pursuing a major in English Literature with a minor in Writing and Communication in English. Her academic journey doesn't stop there; she is also working towards a film certificate and a teaching license. Her goal is to make a difference in the worlds of literature and education. Outside the classroom and her writing endeavors, Jaimylee enjoys a variety of hobbies. She loves reading romance and fantasy books, listening to artists like Taylor Swift and Conan Gray, and watching TV shows, movies, and playing video games. As a fan of the Marauders, she follows her favorite streamers and content creators, finding both joy and inspiration in their work. These activities not only relax her but also spark her creativity and influence her writing.