We aim to create a space that is welcoming and inclusive to all members of the ace and/or aro communities, and to proactively create a space that is welcoming and inclusive of ace community members who are often left out or othered in ace spaces.
We welcome everyone on the asexual spectrum (ace people), as well as people who are questioning their a/sexuality and/or their a/romanticism, and aromantic spectrum people who are not ace. We expect all participants to be ace-friendly and aro-friendly.
We are committed to learning about and addressing the needs of our diverse ace and/or aro communities. Our effort is a work in progress.
We recognise that social context matters, and from in our perspective in Ontario, Canada we acknowledge and oppose many systemic barriers and forces of oppression including:
- Racism, White Supremacy and Colonialism
- Class and Poverty
- Sexism and Misogyny
- Ciscenterism1 and Transmisogyny
- Legal / citizenship status-related marginalisation
- Body size-related marginalisation
- Age-related marginalisation
We also acknowledge that this is not an exhaustive list.
We recognise that these forces operate not only through individual actions but also through the way society is structured to centre certain dominant perspectives while devaluing marginalised ones (e.g., White-centering as racism).
Consequently, differently marginalised aces have different access to aceness, and ace communities often ignore ace-related issues specifically linked to these systems of marginalisation.
We do not expect everyone to agree with these politics but we do expect everyone to adhere to our Respect Guidelines.
Rather than trying to define asexuality or the asexual spectrum, we acknowledge asexuality to be a complex concept that different people experience differently, perhaps as an identity or an orientation.
We broadly define ace community to include people who feel a personal resonance with asexuality and the asexual spectrum, perhaps because of their experiences relating somehow to:
- sexual attraction
- sexual desire
- sexual contact & relationships
We recognise that the ace community is diverse and includes aces who experience their aceness as inborn, as an identity choice, as a result of trauma or experience, or as emerging later in life.
The ace community includes aces who are either repulsed, neutral, open, or positive about the idea of participating in sexual contact, and aces who have changing feelings. It includes aces who are sexually active, aces who do not participate in sexual contact, and aces with other experiences.
The ace community includes a diversity of romantic orientations such as aces who both do and do not experience romantic attraction (to people of particular genders), aces who sometimes or partially experience it, and aces for whom the concept of romantic attraction is unclear, confusing, or unhelpful.
Rather than trying to define the aromantic spectrum we acknowledge that different people relate to it differently, perhaps in terms of identity or orientation, as a way of doing relationships, or because of how arospec people feel or do not feel attraction. We recognise that people come to the aromantic spectrum through many different experiences.
For more about asexuality and/or aromanticism, check out out Education & Outreach materials.
Amatonormativity & Compulsory Sexuality
We reject the normalised prioritising of romantic relationships above all other kinds of relationships and we recognise that there are diverse legitimate ways of doing intimacy. We recognise that no type of relationship, including romantic relationship, is inherently sexual.
We aim to actively resist the social attitudes, ideologies and institutions that enforce compulsory sexuality. Compulsory sexuality undermines consent; this disproportionately affects aces’ decisions about participating or not participating in sex, and has a particularly detrimental impact on sex-repulsed aces. Compulsory sexuality promotes sexual coercion and ace-related violence.
Be mindful that our members come from diverse experiences and include:
- Autistic or otherwise neurodivergent people
- Mad and/or mentally ill people
- Disabled people and/or people with disabilities
- Racialised people and/or people of Colour
- Trans, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming people
- Survivors of sexual and/or other violence
- People with disability-related speech/language barriers
- People with limited access to English
Please assume that these experiences are present in our community spaces and be respectful.
Specifically this means…
- Avoid things like racism, disableism, heterosexism, transphobia, transmisogyny, ciscentrism1, sexism, sizeism, ageism, and/or gender policing, etc.
- Respect everyone’s self-described identities and pronouns (including the choice not to have or disclose them)
- Avoid asking questions about others’ bodies
- Speak from your own experience
- do not make assumptions about other people’s experiences, particularly about people in groups that you are not part of
- be mindful that there are groups of people with shared collective experiences (of marginalisation) and remember that no single person can fully represent a group with diverse experiences
- Be open to input and suggestions about how you can help to keep the space safer for everyone.
As a group, we are always looking for ways to improve.
— Toronto Aces & Aros Collective (formerly the Ace Toronto Collective)
(Respect Guidelines Updated: March 2017)
1. Ciscentrism is a sum total of social expectations and ideologies, institutions, practices, etc. that treat being “cis” as the default or the “norm” or superior way of being, or as not requiring an explanation, while assuming that trans and other non-cis experiences do require an explanation.
Note: “cisgender” means “having a gender identity that straightforwardly matches the gender you were assigned at birth”↩