This thesis explores the experiences of ten asexual and aromantic college students at Oregon State University and the strategies they used to navigate their sexualized and romanticized campuses. The questions that guided this research were about belonging, resilience, kinship, and worldview. Did they feel they belonged to anyone or mattered to anyone at the university, were they resilient and what helped them be resilient, where and how did they find community and how did they view the world through their identities? Photovoice research was used as the methodology in this study, using photography to make visible asexual and aromantic students who have been treated as invisible (MacNeela & Murphy, 2015). This research was collaborative with the participants, they were viewed as co-researchers and they made meaning of their lives and identities together (Wang & Burris, 1997). Study data illuminated a hostile campus environment for asexual and aromantic students, where they felt excluded and othered by society, friends, family, classmates, and professors. Yet despite their invisibility they practiced resilience and found belonging and kinship as strategies to be successful in college.
Keywords: asexuality, aromanticism, college students, student affairs, LGBTQIA+, compulsory sexuality, amatonormativity.