Monday, February 20, 2017

We Have Got to Stop Apologizing

I've seen this over and over.

Ace/aro-spec spectrum person says "this is who I am".

Aphobe replies: "stop claiming you're oppressed!"

Ace/aro-spec person replies: "I'm not claiming I'm oppressed!"

Aphobe replies: [the exact same freaking thing as before]

Also this:

Ace/aro-spec spectrum person says "this is who I am".

Aphobe replies: "you're just trying to be special!"

Ace/aro-spec person replies: "I'm not trying to be special"

Aphobe replies: [the exact same freaking thing as before]

And this:

Ace/aro-spec spectrum person says "this is who I am".

Aphobe replies: "stop claiming you're better than us!"

Ace/aro-spec person replies: "I'm not claiming I'm better than anyone!"

Aphobe replies: [the exact same freaking thing as before]

And of course this:

Ace/aro-spec person says: "the difference between ace/aro people and [insert term for people who are not on the ace/aro spectrum] is..."

Aphobe replies: "You're oppressing me by applying a label to this characteristic I have!"

Ace/aro-spec person asks: "OK, what term would you prefer?

Aphobe replies: "Just shut up, you privileged cishet!" [Note: it literally doesn't matter if the aro/ace person has any het identity, or even if they have an LGBT identity, we're all targets]

This has to stop. We have to stop apologizing to aphobes for our voices and our existence. Transphobes don't get to ban the term cisgender, or police what gender identities are worthy of discussion, much as they'd like to.

The list of terms for non-asexual people out there is truly ridiculous, and it's because aphobes couldn't accept us using any word at all for that concept. Terms like lithsexual get attacked for being appropriative, because apparently if you invent a concept you get to own it forevermore. Even the freaking moon is apparently owned by aphobes already!

We are oppressed. Everyone who attacks us for claiming oppression only proves our point. So stop apologizing to our oppressors. They will never let up. Fight back, and we can win our place in society. It won't be easy, but it's a lot easier than lying down.

[Note: I wrote this because it was burning in my mind, before checking today's prompt for aro-spec awareness week. But it fits:

Write about some of the complications you’ve come across as identifiying or existing on the aromantic spectrum. You can include ways you’ve worked out problems that occur, or things you might still be struggling- it’s all up to you. Feel free to give advice to other people participating if you have any, as long as it’s okay with that tumblr user!]

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How I Discovered I'm Aromantic

This post is for Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, which takes place the week after Valentine's Day. I will try to post something aromantic-related every day during this week. (No promises, my executive dysfunction means I very well might fail.)

For this purpose, I'll be using this list of prompts, unless I have another idea for one of the days. The prompt for today is:

Write about what your aromantic / aro spec identity means to you. This can include your experience finding the identity that feels the most right to you, and can absolutely involve disclosing what your identity is (though, of course, that is not required).
OK, so I'm comfortable disclosing my identity. I identify as cupioromantic and aromantic. How I came to describing myself that way is a complicated story.

When I first identified as asexual, I didn't see a distinction between sexual and romantic orientation. In fact, one of my first posts on this blog about romantic attraction was speculating if romantic asexuals were confusing touch hunger for a desire for romance.

One of the comments on that post, by Seth Nicholson, actually gave me the first clear hints that romantic attraction is more than just 'wanting to be very, very close to someone and also have sex with them'. He (if I got the pronoun wrong, I apologize) pointed me to the concept of limerence. At the time, I read it, thought it sounded strange and unlikely, and set it aside. I continued to treat asexuality and aromanticism as equivalent, though I stopped openly casting doubt on romantic orientations.

Around the same time, I heard the "if you don't get what romantic attraction is, you probably don't feel it" claim, often said to people who are trying to figure out what romantic attraction is, and quite frankly, it really annoyed me. Firstly, how do you know I'm not feeling romantic attraction if I don't know what it is? (I know a lesbian who, as a teenager, apparently mistook non-sexual/non-romantic feelings for guys as being sexual & romantic, and made the opposite mistake about her feelings towards other girls. So allos can very much be confused about whether or not they're feeling attraction, too.) And secondly, that still does nothing to answer what romantic attraction is, or if it even exists.

But shortly after that, a moderator on an LGBT forum accused me of "trying to push asexuality on others" because I'd suggested it to a couple people who were questioning their orientation and seemed to meet the definition. He told me asexuality wasn't ''scientifically validated" and refused to even read the several peer-reviewed studies I found on asexuality. He was my first encounter with an acephobic LGBT person (as best I recall, he was a cis gay man), and his actions, as well as the fact that he was a moderator and none of the other moderators seemed to see any problem with him harassing me, led me to abandon that forum and essentially the entire LGBT+ community. I was so burned by this that even hearing mentions of LGBT people upset me - for example, I couldn't read one of my favourite series of books because they had a bisexual vampire and a gay wizard as major characters. So I shelved the whole question for a long time.

Just recently, I went to my town's first-ever Pride parade, and had a wonderful time. This sparked off a renewed interest in sexuality, which led me back to asexuality and aromanticism.

I was watching Ashley's Mardell's wonderful video series The ABCs of LGBT, specifically her episode Everything Asexual and Aromantic, when I thought "am I greyromantic? Is greyromantic a thing?" So I went to look into romantic orientations some more.

I think part of me knew I wasn't greyromantic, because that requires feeling at least some vaguely romanticish feelings, and nothing about romantic attraction sounded like me. (The Ace of Hearts series, featuring a homoromantic asexual, helped clarify that - while Allister's sudden crush on Rhys is adorable,  it's also an experience I find completely foreign.) And yet, when I read many aromantic people describing their attitudes towards romance, I didn't relate to that either, mainly because I'm not romance-repulsed. I knew I could probably be happy being in a romance, as long as we never, ever have sex.

When I came across cupioromantic, I thought "maybe that's me". But the first thing I found when searching for it was The Thinking Asexual's critique (which is now marked private, for some reason, but you can find further thoughts on the same topic by them here). And while I didn't agree with their critique, it still put me off the term a bit. So I gave the whole thing careful thought, including asking people on Arocalypse about it (the thread is here), and those wonderful people were the ones who convinced me that I really could be comfortable calling myself cupioromantic. And of course, cupioromantic implies I'm also aromantic, though I still wasn't completely comfortable calling myself aromantic because I'm romance-favourable.

Ironically, what made my finally, firmly claim the aromantic identity was reading arophobic and acephobic comments by a commenter on this blog, and deciding to claim "cis aroace" as a descriptor for myself mainly out of sheer defiance. Like Alyssa Hillary, I'm a bit of an imp when it comes to stigmatized identities that apply to me. And if someone tries to bully me into not acting a certain way, my first instinct is to do it even more. Especially if I have absolutely no respect for them as an individual.

Since then, I've also figured out that aromanticism affects my life more than asexuality does, and I have thrown myself wholeheartedly into advocacy around aromantic and asexual issues. Including doing this aromantic spectrum awareness week thing!

And now, my brother really wants to play Age of Empires with me, so I'm signing off.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Grey Area Rape

Content warning, obviously.

Some people talk about the concept of 'grey area' rape. Other people insist there is no grey area, rape is always rape.

To make things more complicated, the standards for what counts as grey area vary. In this Reddit thread, for example, a woman describes her own experience as follows:
As a woman who has been on the rape-end of the 'grey area' I'd say that I'm unclear as to whether that area actually exists. It seems like this should be determined by the victim.
My experience was with a guy who was, by then, my ex-boyfriend (though we still communicated a bit.) His role in the relationship was manipulative by nature. The evening of the event, his friend called me at 1am asking me to pick up my ex who was too drunk and 'emotional' to walk home safely. I obliged. I took him home and we sat talking in his garage for a while while he sobbed vehemently begging me to be with him, saying he just wanted to feel "like someone loved him." He started coming on to me physically and I remember telling him repeatedly that I didn't want to, that I wanted him to stop, that I wanted to go home. But physically, I let him do it. I laid there and let him finish because I wanted it to be over, I felt numb, and only knew that I didn't want to be there.
But I could never fully admit to myself that it was rape because I didn't stand up for myself as strongly as I should have. I didn't 'fight'. I didn't get angry in the moment. I just turned off, went numb, and waited for it to be over. Six years later I'm still struggling to feel like a whole human being; to convince myself that I am strong enough, rather than torture myself for not being strong enough in that moment.
That event changed my life and who I am as a person. But I've never known if I could call it 'rape'. I never reported it and have only told a select few very close people, mostly because I was afraid of their reactions; that they'd judge me for not standing up for myself, that my experience wasn't as traumatic as I made it out to be, that he would invariably defend himself and lie about my 'consent.'

Clearly, that's not a grey area rape. She said no. What's more, she said it repeatedly and in multiple ways. The fact that she didn't physically fight back indicates absolutely nothing about her level of consent.

People like this woman are probably the main reason that supporters of rape victims want to deny the existence of grey rape, because they know many victims will inaccurately classify clear-cut rapes as grey area rapes, and that this misclassification involves self-directed victim blaming. In addition, others use genuinely grey area rapes as an excuse to blame the victim for not communicating clearly enough.

However, none of that means that grey area rape doesn't exist. It does, and it should be recognized.

Grey area rape is when one party genuinely believes the sex is consensual, meanwhile the other party isn't actually consenting or is only consenting under duress.

For example, many asexuals, especially asexual women, are grey raped before they realize they're asexual. They know they don't really want to have sex, but they don't know why. They're afraid of hurting their partner's feelings or driving their partner away if they keep refusing, or they believe that if they just make themselves do it, they'll find out that they like it. As a result, they indicate consent to sex they really don't want, which is emotionally damaging.

Sometimes grey rape comes from a faulty model of consent - using the 'no means no' model instead of the 'yes means yes' model. Under the 'no means no' model, in order to avoid nonconsensual sex, all you need to do is stop if they say 'no'. Usually this model also says that someone who is clearly incapable of saying no should be assumed to be nonconsenting. But it doesn't acknowledge how hard it can be to actually tell if someone can say no.

For example, take a child sexual abuse survivor, who has learnt from many experiences that saying no is ineffective and dangerous. They may not realize, when a partner asks for sex, that they're operating under completely different rules from the abusers. They don't realize their partner will actually listen to a 'no', and so they don't give one.

Or what about someone who experience a seizure while having sex? Not all seizures are obvious. The person might simply go on with what they were doing in an automatic fashion, or else just get pause and become unresponsive. In the post-ictal state, they might not be fully conscious, or they may be temporarily mute. They can't say no, and their partner may not realize they can't.

Or what about the freeze reaction? This is part of the fight-or-flight reaction, where the individual freezes with fear, and is unable to move. They may also be unable to speak. Many clear-cut rapes elicit a freeze response (the woman quoted above described one when she 'turned off'), but grey area rapes can also result from a freeze response, especially if it happens during consensual sex. For example, a survivor of sexual violence may be enjoying sex until suddenly they are reminded of their trauma and freeze. If their partner fails to check in, that consensual activity could turn into a grey area rape.

This is why it's so important that consent education go beyond 'no means no' and 'unable to speak means no'. Consent should involve checking in regularly during sex, and looking for enthusiastic consent rather than passive assent.

But certainly many sexual encounters fail to follow these practices without becoming nonconsensual, just like many people ride in cars without seatbelts and don't get thrown from the car. If a parent didn't make sure their child was wearing a seatbelt, and the child got thrown from the car and killed, we wouldn't call that parent a murderer. The child is just as dead, but the parent's wrong is clearly less severe. Similarly, if a sexual partner fails to check in and winds up doing something their partner didn't want but couldn't say no to, we shouldn't call them a rapist. But their partner is just as much a victim.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Activism as Self-Care

This is going to be submitted for the February 2017 Carnival of Aces, hosted at Asexual Agenda. The topic is Resistance, Activism and Self-Care, motivated by the US Election. However, they explicitly made it open for non-US participants as well.

For me, I've been needing more self-care than usual, too. And it has nothing to do with the US election (though the results were a disappointment for me), or with any political events in Canada (Justin Trudeau wasn't my choice, but he's turning out pretty good). No, I'm needing self-care for a much more personal reason. And it doesn't even have anything to do with my orientation.

I just got kicked out of counseling.

In the intake assessment, many months ago, I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to work on was yelling. I've been discussing times that I yelled all along. And yet it never seemed to occur to anyone to warn me what would happen if I yelled at my counselor. Which is exactly what I did, a couple weeks ago. I got upset, I yelled, and then I calmed down and we scheduled our next session.

And then, a couple days later, I got a call telling me that I'm kicked out of counseling. No warning, no second chances, no consideration that 'hey, this is actually one of the reasons this person was in counseling to begin with'. The director has even claimed that she 'doesn't work with psychiatric conditions', even though that's exactly what the definition of her job is!

So, yes, I'm upset. I've been having suicidal thoughts, and everything has kind of fallen to pieces for me. And I'm angry. The idea of kicking someone out of counseling for showing symptoms of the very thing they need counseling for is just ridiculous and terrible and wrong on so many levels.

But I'm reading a lot about asexuality and aromanticism, and LGBT+ issues in general. And I'm planning to go to Positive Space Network training, and maybe be a camp counselor for trans kids later this year.

And this is a deliberate strategy. I need connection with my people. I need to think about an issue that doesn't trigger me, and an aspect of my identity that I'm actually proud of.

I'm doing other self-care things, too. I'm setting aside things that are too much for me, and avoiding places and activities that trigger me until the pain eases a bit. I'm getting plenty of cuddles and spending time doing things I find comforting and calming, and completing daily tasks on my list so I feel like I'm accomplishing stuff.

But the activism is a major piece of my self-care, too. I can dive into the topic that's an obsessive interest for me right now, I can try to find connection with others through it, and I can feel that maybe, possibly, I'm doing something good for someone else. I can find things to say about myself that are good, and make me feel good.

And I really need that right now.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Interview with Untamed Heart: Lithromantic

OK, so I really meant to get this published quicker, but my Mom is starting a family business and things have been very busy. But finally, here's my interview with Untamed Heart about her identity as lithromantic.

What do you identify as?

Lithromantic , greyromantic.

What does lithromantic mean to you?
I find it very difficult to maintain romantic feelings, especially when reciprocated, and there's never a tangible reason for that. I've felt weird about romance since I was about 15, and that's got stronger as I've got older. It's become something fairly important to me over the last few months, because until I found out, nobody could understand what I meant when I tried to explain how I felt about crushes/relationships, and I wondered why I only felt insane and even ill when I "liked" someone or was involved with them, but was totally fine being single. Finding out I wasn't alone - or insane - was a relief, it explained a lot of my past feelings, and hopefully I can now approach my future with more positivity and self understanding.

Does lithromantic have any synonyms or overlapping terms? What umbrella terms include lithromantic?
Frayromantic is similar in that feelings fade in what I'd consider a non-typical way when looking at romantic relationships in a broader sense - I don't think most people would expect you to lose feelings for someone as you got to know them better, on a consistent basis, nor would they expect you to lose feelings when they're reciprocated. Lithromantic has a few synonyms as it was considered appropriative of lesbian culture. One of the ones I really like is Akoiromantic, as it makes me think of koi carps (mostly because they're very colourful fish and you can even find them in colours that match the lithro/akoi flag). This can also be spelt akoineromantic.
I also consider it part of the grey romantic umbrella as there is initial attraction involved (which an aro person wouldn't experience), but it fades or becomes uncomfortable if reciprocated.

Why do you identify as lithromantic rather than as a synonym or umbrella term?
Because my symptoms seem quite specific and more or less consistent, and I found I can relate to what other lithromantics have experienced. I've noticed that I get strong crushes on people sometimes, but if I've got with them, I stop feeling so attracted and start wondering what I do feel and where those feelings went. I wonder if I really like the other person enough to be with them, after only a few days or even hours, even though nothing's actually changed in between being asked out and agreeing to date them.

Are you out as lithromantic? How did you come out, and what response have you gotten?
I'm out to a small group of people who matter to me and who knew about my last boyfriend - as they were surprised I'd let him go - and the response has been generally positive. I told them in privately, in person.

What would your ideal relationship look like?
I prefer to be single as I'm introverted and quite independent, but if I wanted a relationship in future, I think I'd like a 'more than friends but not quite lovers' type thing, or maybe me being the romantic partner with an aromantic person, if we had the right dynamics. Monogamy/exclusivity would be strongly preferred, and I need a fair amount of time/space to myself.

Have you ever had sexual, romantic or queerplatonic relationships, and how did being lithromantic affect them?
I've had a number of romantic relationships, with only my last one being also sexual. My very first relationship was actually the longest, and I've now put it down to us being more like passionate best friends, and long distance. We did meet once, and I'm sure if we'd been able to date in person it would have been different for me.
Other boyfriends since then seem to have noticed the weird disconnect between us, even though I tried to hide how I felt, thinking the whole "ugh-ness" would eventually lift, but I have experienced guys cutting contact without explaining why a few times.
I can sometimes feel like I'm saying things I don't truly mean, or performing 'fake' actions towards the other person, almost like carrying out instructions in a movie script. 
I was more honest about how I felt with my last boyfriend, though I still didn't understand why I felt so bad. Towards the end it got really difficult to even pack a bag to go to the art group we'd met at, and I had a few instances of romance repulsion out of the blue. I ended up feeling really distant, wishing I could just feel something like I had before. 

Do you experience any romantic attraction? What does romantic attraction mean to you?
I do, but rarely. The last two people I fancied before my ex were over 5 and 8 years ago! I enjoy it sometimes, but there's usually a limited window before I either feel uncomfortable or need to do something about it, if I know the person is attainable. If it looks like they're definitely off the table (gay, married, another girl is interested - because I really don't want to fight for them), that kind of helps for me. 
I think it's meant to be an indicator for potentially appropriate/compatible mates, but I'm an absolute crazy mess when it comes to romantic feelings in general so I wish I never felt it.

Would you be open to questions about being lithromantic?
If so, how should the readers contact you?
Not at this time, but thanks for asking.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Magical and Alien Diversity

One trope I see a lot in speculative fiction is using magical and/or nonhuman characters as analogues for real-life diversity. I'm not talking about the trope of fantastic racism, where a difference with no real-life equivalent gets treated with discrimination modeled after real life. No, I'm talking about having the character, for all intents and purposes, match the real life definition for a marginalized group, but with that trait explicitly attributed to their magical or nonhuman status. The genderless alien race, the autistic robot, the magically blinded character, you get the picture. The person meets the features of a real-life marginalized group (usually either disabled or LGBT+), but this trait is explicitly linked to their magical or nonhuman status.

This trope has often been criticized, and rightly so. Partly, this can be problematic because readers hoping for representation get faced with a character who's magical or nonhuman being the only one like them in so many stories, which is frustrating and alienating. It also often comes from a place of cowardice for the writer - many writers use magical or nonhuman analogues because they're afraid of misrepresenting the real-life characteristic, or because they don't want to face the true challenges faced by mundane humans with that characteristic. And lastly, it can be linked to the desire to make every 'nonstandard' character trait be plot important - you can't just have a minor character who happens to be having a psychotic episode, instead, they have to be psychic so their bizarre ramblings are plot important.

I agree with those issues, and would love to see more characters in speculative fiction who's minority identities have nothing to do with whether they're human or not or what magical features they have (like Nora and Mary Lou in Vampire Diaries, who are both vampire siphon-witches who just happen to also be lesbians). But even so, I still like the magical and nonhuman portrayals of human forms of diversity. There are some interesting things that can be done when you explicitly link a particular feature with a magical or nonhuman category.

First, it makes it easy to explore the idea of a society where that trait is the norm. The easiest way to explain having a culture where everyone is intersexed and/or agender, for example, is to simply introduce aliens who reproduce in a non-gender-dependant manner. A species of blind underground trolls could be used to explore how a society is built without sight.

Secondly, while deciding to avoid the real-life equivalent so you can avoid getting stuff wrong can be cowardice, it can also be quite practical. If your story requires something to happen that we don't know how to do in real life, or that physically can't happen in real life, making them a fantastic analogue avoids the fridge logic moments for those who know how these things work, and can avoid getting your readers derailed by controversial discussions that you'd rather not get involved in. (An example would be the story idea I had for some kind of magical event causing the majority of children born shortly afterwards to turn out gay.) It can also lessen the risk that your story will become dated when new research changes our understanding of a minority group's characteristics.

Thirdly, stories with fantastic analogues might draw in more prejudiced readers who would never have read that story if the character was seen as part of a real-life group they dislike. While we certainly shouldn't censor all of our stories for the sensibilities of prejudiced people, a story about a shapeshifting race with no true gender might get read by someone who has no desire to read a story about a non-binary human character. What's more, a children's story with these creatures might find its way into the hands of a child who has no access to representation of realistic non-binary characters, because such characters are seen as unsuitable for children by the adults responsible for them. Fiction can have a great power to open people's minds, especially if it's not obviously intended to communicate a message.

And there are many interesting things you can do with this trope. One Star Trek episode I saw focused on an alien race where most members were non-binary, and the few who had binary genders were subjected to reparative therapy to force them to conform to the norm. I'm currently working on a story setting with vampires who are aromantic asexual but feel what can best be described as 'parental attraction' towards people that they want to turn into new vampires. I also wrote a short story once about a species in which children were universally psychopaths until they hit puberty, allowing me to explore how a parent would guide a child through the experience of feeling empathy for the very first time. None of those stories would have worked if the characters were actually members of the real-life minority they were designed to resemble.

And lastly, in a setting where non-marginalized traits are fair game for being linked to magical or nonhuman characters, why not have marginalized traits be treated the same way? In a setting that has aliens who can assume any form and spend most of their time mindlinked to each other, it would be unfortunate if the creators felt that making a species genderless or mute was out of bounds.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Do Asexuals And Aromantics Have Heterosexual Privilege?

I just came across a list of heterosexual privileges. I've heard acephobic/arophobic people claim that heterosexual aromantics, heteroromantic asexuals and aromantic asexuals have heterosexual privilege. So, let's look at the list.

Having  role  models  of  your  gender  and sexual  orientation [edit: and romantic orientation]

This definitely doesn't apply to any aromantic and/or asexual people. It's easier to find gay or bisexual role models than asexual or aromantic ones. In mainstream media, asexuality is represented by problematic fiction suggesting we can be cured or are lying, and the occasional interview with asexuals. Aromantics have even less representation - especially allosexual aromantics.

Learning  about  romance and relationships  from  fiction,  movies,  and  television

Again, not true for aromantic or asexual people. Although not all romances show the characters having sex, the vast majority imply that they eventually will want to do so. And models of how to discuss asexuality and negotiate ace/allo mixed relationships are not found in mainstream fiction at all.
And as for aromantics, while there are certainly characters who don't seek out romance, or who are in a relationship that could be interpreted as a QPR, I can't think of any work of fiction I've seen that explicitly describes a character as wanting deep personal connection without romance. And portrayals of characters who want sex without romance are frequently negative and colored by slut-shaming - especially if the character is female.

Living with  your  partner  and  doing  so openly to all 

This is probably not a big issue for hetero aces, assuming that they can actually find a suitable partner. But for aromantics, QPRs tend to confuse people, often being mistaken for romance (which is especially problematic for a romance-repulsed aromantic) or else treated as 'just' friendship.
QPRs are also more likely to involve individuals who don't have a compatible sexual orientation (so a heterosexual aromantic could easily have a same-sex QPR). And siblings can be QPRs. Lastly, many people seek out multiple QPRs. If a QPR is mistaken for romance, they could be targeted with homophobia, anti-incest sentiments or anti-polyamorous sentiments.
On the legal side, unless a QPR choose to get married, they lack the legal rights to care for each other in sickness, help their QPP immigrate, or share custody of a child.
And speaking of immigration, both romantic aces and aromantics could easily run afoul of the procedures for detecting immigration fraud marriages. A marriage that doesn't involve sex or where the partners don't have all the trappings of romance with each other (eg don't live together, don't sleep together, have sex with other people, or just generally don't have the right body language around each other) could be mistaken for a marriage purely for immigration purposes.

Talking  about  your relationship  and  the projects,  vacations,  and  family  planning steps  you  and  your  partner  are  working  on.

As an asexual, aromantic prospective single parent, I've found that my discussions of my plans for motherhood often get detailed with questions about whether I'm married, how I plan to get pregnant, and so forth. I also feel afraid to explain my situation fully with people who may be opposed to single parenthood or ART. An aromantic person who is coparenting may have difficulty explaining the nature of their relationship with the other parent(s), or why their relationship doesn't have the trappings of romance. For example if their coparent lives in another residence, or has another partner, they can either let people assume a divorce or breakup is involved or else have a lot of complicated explanation.
A heteroromantic asexual in a relationship would have a more superficially typical situation than me, but if their relationship is sexless or has very infrequent sex, this complicates family planning. They may need to do at-home artificial insemination, or have sex more often than they'd like during the female partner's fertile period. The asexual partner could suffer feelings of burnout or frustration with how frequently they are having sex. All of this issues would be very difficult to discuss without having to get into explanations about asexuality.

Expressing pain when a  relationship  ends, and  having others  notice  and  attend  to  your pain

This is a tremendous issue for aromantic people. The end of a QPR can cause grief on par with losing a romantic relationship, and yet QPRs are frequently mistaken for friendships - even by the QPPs!
The situation of one person (usually aromantic) viewing a relationship as a QPR while the other one (usually alloromantic) sees it as a typical friendship is very common, and can easily lead to hurt feelings for the one who feels more strongly about the relationship.
Many aromantics grieve when a 'friend' (who they have a one-sided QPR with) announces that they're romantically involved or getting married, because it's generally expected that a person in a romantic relationship will devote less to their friendships. Expressing this grief can lead to perceptions that they're romantically attracted to that person.

Not  having to lie  about attending  LGBTQIA social  activities,  or  having  friends  in  that community

So far I haven't heard of people getting verbally or physically attacked for their connection to the aromantic/asexual community, except by aro/acephobic LGBT people. However, more subtle discrimination probably occurs. I know of a person who had her work with asexual visibility on her resume while applying for jobs, and applied for many jobs without any offers. When she deleted mention of her advocacy work, she was hired almost immediately.

Kissing/hugging/being  affectionate  in public  without  threat  or  punishment

This is definitely an issue for people with QPRs that would be stigmatized or unacceptable romances. My brother and I are very close, and I consider us to be in a QPR, and someone at our church put in an anonymous call to the police claiming my brother was sexually abusing me. It was cleared up fairly easily, but it really frightened us. My best guess is that she took our hugging, cuddling and general comfort with touching each other as a sign that we were romantically and sexually involved. (The fact that she assumed my younger brother was a sexual perpetrator, as opposed to me being a perpetrator or us having a mutual relationship, is clearly sexism at work.)

Dating  the  person  of  the  gender  you  desire in  your  teen  years

Dating is a big challenge for both asexuals and aromantics, even if they're attracted to the opposite sex. For romantic asexuals, dating frequently involves being pressured to have sex they don't want, or feeling inadequate because their partner detects and is bothered by their lack of enthusiasm.
Many aromantics are romance-repulsed, and being in a romantic relationship makes them feel trapped or suffocated. A break-up feels relieving. Before discovering aromanticism, they often have a string of short-lived relationships, all ending because they weren't romantic enough or rejected romantic overtures from their partner.
In seeking friendships, many aromantic people described getting 'romance-zoned' when a friend gets romantically interested in them and can no longer see them as just a friend. This often leads to the end of the friendship.

Dressing  without  worrying  what  it  might represent  to  someone  else

I don't know if this is more of an ace or aro issue, but as a sex-repulsed aroace, I consciously try to pick clothing that doesn't show off my body, to reduce the likelihood that someone will be attracted to me.

Increased  possibilities  for  getting  a  job  or being  promoted

As described above, I know of a person who feels that she was hired in part because she'd removed the mention of her asexual advocacy work. I also know of a sex-repulsed ace who was fired for being unsociable to her coworkers because their constant discussion of sex made her uncomfortable. (Particularly her one coworker who liked to brag about her boyfriend's penis size.)

Receiving validation  from  your  religious community,  and  being  able  to  hold  positions in  your  religious  leadership  ranks

As I described in my post on asexuality and religious prejudice, someone who doesn't have a 'proper' sexual marriage can experience negative judgment from many Protestant conservative churches.
Aromantic allosexuals have it even worse, because they tend to prefer friends with benefits or other non-romantic sexual relationships, which are very much frowned upon by most conservative churches, especially for female aro-allos.

Adopting or foster parenting children 

Aros are more likely to be single parents if they choose to be parents at all. Single prospective parents are at a disadvantage for fostering and adoption, especially prospective single fathers. In international adoption, many countries have explicit rules against single parent adoption or single father adoption. In US and Canada there are no explicit rules against single parent adoption or fostering, but private adoption is subject to the prejudices of the birthmothers, and the foster care system appears to place greater scrutiny on single foster parents - again, especially for single foster fathers.

Being employed as a K-12  teacher without fear of  being fired for “corrupting  children”

I have not heard of aces or aros having issues with this. Please let me know if you have.

Raising children  without  threats  of  state intervention

Single fathers, especially of girls, are at a higher risk of being accused or suspected of sexual abuse. When you look at lists of signs of a pedophile, lack of interest or difficulty with dating adults is often listed as a sign. Ace or aro men are therefore more likely to be seen as potential pedophiles than het-het men.

Receiving equal  benefits  for  you  and  your partner

QPRs are not legally recognized, so aromantic people either have to get married to a non-romantic partner (if they can) or else miss out on benefits.

Legal marriage, which includes:
Public recognition and support of your relationship
Joint child custody  
Sharing insurance policies at  reduced rates Access to a hospitalized loved one 
Social expectations of longevity and stability for  your relationship 

A QPR has none of those rights, unless it can be disguised as a marriage.

So, out of 16 privileges, heteroromantic aces can access 7 of them, aromantic heterosexuals have access to 3 of them, and aromantic asexuals have only one of these privileges. So clearly, aromantic and asexual people don't have heterosexual privilege.

The biggest surprise for me was the realization that aromantic heterosexuals have it worse than heteroromantic asexuals. We tend to focus more on sexual than romantic orientation, but romantic orientation clearly makes a bigger difference to people's lives, and the prejudice they face. For an asexual person, being heteroromantic instead of aromantic nets them 6 different privileges. For an aromantic, being heterosexual nets them only two more privileges.

And this is a list intended for comparing straight people to LGB people. There may be other privileges het-het people have over aces and/or aros, which are not listed here.