Activist Yasmin Benoit all things aromantic to celebrate aromantic awareness week which takes place from 19-25 February.
Aromanticism is an umbrella term for people who generally do not feel any or have limited romantic attraction and feelings to others.
Yasmin Benoit is an aromantic and asexual activist who launched the UK’s first asexual rights initiative, the Stonewall x Yasmin Benoit Ace Project, and co-founded Asexuaility Day (6 April) alongside being a model and writer.
Benoit describes her aromanticism as having no desire to have romantic relationships and therefore she does not date instead prioritises platonic relationships and non-romantic forms of love.
However many aromantics do still date despite the lack of romantic attraction as the orientation is not a one size fits all and will vary depending on the person.
Benoit when asked about the common misconceptions about the orientation said: “That being aromantic means you’re incapable of feeling any kind of love, or having intimate relationships or living a fulfilling life.
“You can be perfectly happy and complete without having a romantic relationship or experiencing romantic love.”
Aromanticism is not to be confused with asexuality , this orientation which paired with aromanticism makes up the A in the LGBTQIA+ community means that a person feels no or has limited sexual feelings and desires.
Many struggle to see aromanticism as apart of the LGBTQIA+ community including the community itself.
Benoit said:“I’ve received a lot of hate online for being aromantic and asexual from people within the LGBTQIA+ community, usually those who are against anything that falls beyond the B.”
The disregard of the orientation continues beyond the screen with the Government Equalities Office not acknowledging all LGBTQ+ orientations shown with the National LGBT Survey:Summary Report, from 2018 which has yet to be updated, labelling aromanticism as ‘other.’
Orientations such as homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality and pansexuality alongside gender representations get named unlike aromanticism.
Aromantic awarness week is important as “a lot of people don’t know what being aromantic is. They don’t know the difference between romantic and sexual orientations, they don’t know about the challenges the aromantic community faces or the joys of being aromantic.
“They don’t know that aromantic people exist. Having an awareness week helps to change that and allow aromantic people to feel more empowered at the same time.”Benoit added.
People can educate themselves on aromanticism in numerous ways through talking to people apart of the orientation to conducting research online.
For more information on aromanticism visit aromanticism.org.
Featured image credit: Yasmin Benoit