"Beyond Gay Marriage"
Here’s another in the recent spate of articles on the attention that polyamory is getting in the gay/queer worlds. It’s from New York’s Village Voice (issue of June 20, 2006).
Watch the news reports on gay marriage and you’d think the queer community had magically morphed into a Noah’s Ark of same-sex couples -- all conveniently packaged two by two. . . .
Now consider this proverbial wrench: a Brooklyn-based group of lesbian, gay, transgender, and straight friends who hang out, make out, and uphold an anything-goes policy on who gets with whom. A lesbian can kiss a gay man, a transgender can sleep with a straight woman -- without fear of the reproach they might receive elsewhere from members of the queer and straight communities alike.
“A lot of queer culture can be hung up on identity,” confesses Jude River Allan, 25, a sweet, cuddly cub who used to bartend at the Hole, where many of the friends first met. “Dykes can be hung up on other dykes if they have sex with men. Fags can be hung up on other fags if they have sex with women. Dykes and fags can be transphobic when there are trannies around.”
In this crew, which is tantamount to a “subculture within a subculture,” explains River, “you can do whatever you want, and none of us are going to have issue with it.”
Several members of the group are quoted at length, including this person who gets polyamory spot-on:
River: Polyamory is something I’ve been really committed to being for about nine years. For me, being polyamorous is about being committed to a different kind of family structure. You really push yourself, and push your lovers. Being in poly relationships has required a lot more as far as trust, communication, and willingness to experience things than in any monogamous relationship I was in. In Philadelphia, I lived in a house with four lovers and four people committed to being polyamorous. And the relationship we formed with each other -- there was more love in that house than I’d ever felt before. We were all there for each other, and truly loved each other.
I feel like the human heart has so much potential for opening up and embracing as many people and as many experiences as it can -- and I feel like being polyamorous is a big part of that.
The process of coming out poly is a lot harder than coming out queer because it’s not in the media, because it’s not looked about highly. It’s seen as corny people wanting to have sex, and it’s not about that, at least not for me. Usually when I see anything that has to do with polyamory, it’s always straight -- a lot of time it’s swingers -- and it’s usually focused around sex and not around commitment and love. To have polyamory be overlooked or misrepresented by the queer community, it’s very odd. Especially by a community that’s been so misrepresented itself. . . .
Read the whole article.
Anita Wagner of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom notes that she is "delighted" to see growing references to polyamory by GLBTs. "For a long time GLBT media remained generally silent on the subject," she writes, "I imagine so as to avoid the wrath of the crafters of same-sex marriage movement strategy who, in order to defend against the slippery slope argument, chose to deny deny deny. Don't know what has changed exactly, but changed it has.
"The following two paragraphs are taken from an article on the Canadian GLBT website/magazine Xtra.ca. It's also great advocacy for coming out as poly:"
Gay liberation (remember that word?) should be focussed on pressuring fundamentalists, right-wingers and every conservative mom and pop, to think about their own prejudices. The only way to do that is the way the old gay liberationists did it by flaunting our gender play (male femininity and female masculinity) in their faces, proudly reminding them of the sexual acts which we enjoy (and they hate) and teaching everyone the value of alternative relationships polyamory, promiscuity and open relationships.
If you're a gay guy, looking granny in the eye and telling her you like to wear dresses may do more to fight homophobia than demanding an apology from the Knights Of Columbus, Margaret Somerville or Ryerson University. If you're a dyke, having a frank discussion of your polyamorous relationship with some straight friends will do more to open minds than a marriage ceremony. Just flaunt it!
You can read the entire Xtra article here.