Round-Up: Education

Round Up of Submissions

Welcome to the round-up of submissions on the topic of ‘Education.’ You can see the call for submissions here: Thank you to everyone who participated! We had three responses, from students at Smith College.



  1. I generally don’t feel comfortable talking about my identity in class, and with most of the classes I’ve taken, it’s not relevant. The exceptions for me have been language and literature classes. The college Chinese classes that I’ve taken have included sections on future plans, stuff like having a family, money management, (re)marriage. Those were awkward due to the relatively amatonormative environment, but I never brought up asexuality or aromanticism, and just selectively chose the questions that I could answer comfortably. There was also the factor that I’m not entirely confident my language instructors would have understood either the word “asexuality” or “无性恋.”

My literature courses have mostly been the same deal. In the first one, my professor and some of my classmates were quite focused on sexual imagery they thought was obvious in the texts. I didn’t think so, but the experience turned me off discussing asexuality and aromanticism without knowing how accepting the environment would be. Since then, in my literature classes, I’ve been trying to avoid the sexuality and gender questions to the best of my ability.

The literature class that I’m taking this semester has been a bit different. One time, another student brought up stereotypes that asexual characters often fall into during the class discussion. I didn’t say anything, but I was internally agreeing with her. Then one day last week I was really frustrated with the readings because of how one of them connected non-sexual experiences, disability, and government sterilization programs and how the other assumed common romantic experiences. I told myself that I wouldn’t force myself to participate, but I ended up making a few comments about how uncomfortable the stories were. When one of my classmates asked if I am aroace, I said yes.


2. My decision to minor in the study of women and gender (SWAG) in college has meant that there were many times when asexuality was relevant to class discussion, but I’m the only student who ever brought it up, even when it seemed glaringly obvious to me. I have, twice now, had professors who actually mentioned asexuality in class, but both times it was more of a passing thought or a suggestion of something to look into on our own.

My confidence in bringing up asexuality (or aromanticism, or allonormativity and amatonormativity) has grown over the years. I remember the first two SWAG classes I took, there were times when I desperately wanted to point out how what we were discussing so clearly pertained to asexuality, but was too afraid to do so. I feared the professor would tell me it wasn’t relevant, or I would be accused of derailing the conversation and bringing up perspectives that weren’t “queer enough.” Finally, however, I spoke up and pointed out that an essay on pervasive sexuality (and not just heterosexuality) in our society was basically just talking about allonormativity. From there, I gained confidence, and was able to start bringing in not just ace knowledge but an ace perspective. I now feel confident talking about my own asexuality, brining the ace/aro/aspec community into conversations about sexual liberation, and again and again have called out amatonormativity as the issue at hand when we’re talking about the privileging of partnered, monogamous, romantic and sexual relationships in capitalist society.

My greatest success, however, has been to convince a professor to incorporate ace literature into her SWAG 101 syllabus. I didn’t make it my mission for this to happen, but by taking a different class with her in which I continually started conversations about asexuality and aromanticism, something must have clicked for her that this was a relevant and necessary topic to add to her curriculum. Thus, one day, she happily informed me that she was adding some ace readings to her syllabus because of me, and it was the most magical feeling in the world to know that I was the cause of that positive change.


3. In most of the classes I’ve taken about queerness, asexuality has been mentioned. It generally stays at the definition level though. I suppose it’s because that’s not what people think about when they are planning a course on queerness; you have to really go looking to find much about asexuality, so if it’s not your priority, it doesn’t come up. But I wish I could learn about asexuality in class outside of open-ended projects, and that not only I but also my classmates could learn about asexuality. Yet, compared to aromanticism, asexuality is a common topic. I’ve never had a class even mention aromanticism outside of whatever brief mention of asexuality is offered. Sometimes I write about aromanticism in reflections or other assignments for those courses, and my professors always seem excited to have it mentioned, but it’s never mentioned in the classroom.

In my queer-focused classes, there is at least awareness of asexuality, if not always aromanticism. In my other classes, there is not even that. In literature and language classes, I’m tired of readings focused on romance, and being expected to analyze these romance scenes and inevitably struggling to because I don’t get it. I wish that professors were more open to not everyone enjoying or being excited about romantic scenes. I’m tired of scenes that don’t seem to be about romance, yet there is some hint somewhere I do not see that sends my classmates into headcanoning a relationship that need not be there – why can they not be friends? I only know that there’s supposed to be romance because others said so and yet sometimes I’m expected to write reflection about that romance. I wish that when I said I didn’t empathize with the character in love that I wasn’t told I needed to try harder. I wish people were more open to other interpretations. I wish that when my classes studied relationships between religious ascetics, that it was acknowledged that that could have been friendship or a queerplatonic relationship – that it didn’t have to be forbidden romance.