Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.



March 20, 2012

"Poly-Baiting: Why We Need a More Inclusive LGBT Movement"

Equal Writes (Princeton U.)
Huffington Post Gay Voices

The gay world is gradually coming to terms with the fact that yes, gays are more non-monogamous than straights, and yes, it's okay to talk about it, and no, gay-rights campaigners should not be spooked into denying it, throwing allies under the bus, and carrying water for the right wing.

From a student publication at Princeton, picked up by Huffington Post Gay Voices:


Poly-Baiting: Why We Need a More Inclusive LGBT Movement

By Vivienne Chen

Anti-LGBTQ campaigners have often used the issue of polyamory — or rather, a twisted media presentation of "polygamy," which is distinct from ethical nonmonogamy and polyamory — as a slippery-slope argument against LGBTQ equality, particularly when it comes to marriage.

The worse thing about this? LGBTQ activists left and right take the bait.

Just take a minute and watch this short video (TRIGGER WARNING: Rick Santorum):



Notice the crowd's reaction to his statements:

Santorum: Are we saying that everyone has the right to marry?
Crowd: Yes!
Santorum: So anyone can marry anybody else?
Crowd: Yes!
Santorum: So anybody can marry several people?
Crowd: [Mutterings and incoherent babbles of "No!"]

Cut to Santorum getting booed off the stage.

The problem is Santorum is right....

He's right in the sense that once we realize it's stupid to keep any two loving, consenting adults apart, we may start wondering whether it's equally stupid to keep three or more loving, consenting adults apart....

...If LGBTQ activists continue to say that relationships are really about committing to the people we love regardless of gender, race, creed, etc., then maybe society should allow us to commit to the people (plural) we love....

The fact is that the struggles of the poly/NM [nonmonogamy] community are not unfamiliar to the LGBTQ world. Couples in open relationships have lost their jobs and even custody of their children after people around them outed them as polyamorous. Sound familiar?

By distancing themselves and trying to divorce their struggle from the struggle of the poly/NM community, LGBTQ progressives end up throwing another sexual minority — indeed, a minority within their own minority — under the bus (a significant contingent of the poly/NM community is queer/bi and vice versa)....


Read the whole article (Mar. 20, 2012). It originally appeared on Equal Writes, "Feminism and Gender Issues at Princeton University" (Feb. 25, 2012).

As I've said before: If you accept the framing of civil rights and social acceptance as a slippery slope down, you've lost the debate before you open your mouth. Slipping on a slope is a painful accident that leads downward. Instead, reframe it as a stairway up. Each step is a deliberate, effortful, carefully chosen advance toward a more humane, just, enlightened world.

With that framing, you can consider which steps are upward, and which steps to take.

Or as Tree of Polycamp Northwest fame once put it, awkwardly,


Giving blacks the vote, women the vote, contraception — it's all a slippery slope to a place of better social justice and acceptance.


Whether legal recognition of complex marriages would make sense is a different, knottier problem from a purely practical standpoint, as I've described here.

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6 Comments:

Blogger ManKitten said...

He's not a very likeable man, is he? This Rick Scrotum guy, I mean. To be honest I don't know much about him as I'm not American and haven't been following the election stuff there at all, but from what I've seen he appears... a bit... unpleasant.

March 20, 2012 9:13 PM  
Anonymous RobR919 said...

This was a good article. I put it on my facebook wall and forwarded it to all my LGBT and to my poly friends as well.
Sometimes two groups you think would be "natural allies" need to be reminded of it.

March 21, 2012 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I'd picked up a SANTORUM sign when they were still available. Long after his candidacy is forgotten the word will still mean a frothy mix, and the sign could be a useful novelty item.

March 21, 2012 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

‎"The gay world is gradually coming to terms with the fact that yes, gays are more non-monogamous than straights..." Don't you think "more [OPENLY] non-monogamous" is really the truth?

March 22, 2012 12:27 PM  
Blogger Jessica Prescott said...

Thank you! Ms Chen did a great job on her article, and thank you for sharing it. As someone who is bisexual, it was odd to me that when first entering the gay community and visiting Pride events, that I didn't feel more welcome. Over the years, things have improved (or I've met more people more to my liking). But still, non-heteronormitive people often have the most trouble with my polyamoury. It's as if I'm only allowed to be one type of different at a time.

When discussing polyamoury, many of the same phrases come up as when I was coming out at bisexual. "You can't make up your mind. You just want everything. You're obviously a slut. How will you ever be able to settle down or find true love?" In some ways, recognizing my bisexuality did help me to realize and embrace my polyamoury. The way I answer all those questions now is the same as I answered them when I was 15: Love has no limits.

March 24, 2012 10:44 PM  
Anonymous SweetB said...

Please ... the last thing the LGBTIQQAA/SGL "movement" needs is one more letter in the confusing alphabet soup!

Do I want to see polyamory be more accepted instead of monogamy being the normative mode? Oh hell yes!

Could the alphabet people and poly folk be allies in some situations? yep.

But let's please not try to attach ourselves to the ever-growing LGBTIQQAA/SGL (and probably more by the time you read this) bunch.

And ....
‎"The gay world is gradually coming to terms with the fact that yes, gays are more non-monogamous than straights..."
Really? What could be behind that. Could it possibly be that gays (what about bi's, lesbians, etc?), by being denied common social support and the legitimacy of marriage, have been left with no good role models for lasting monogamous relationships?

Fyi ... I think of poly and mono as different ends of a spectrum. Some people are very firmly at one end or the other and ought to simply BE there. For others, the spectrum might be more fluid and they could be happy and fulfilled in an array of relationship types.

Signed ... a poly rad fem lesbian who due to circumstances has mostly participated in serial monogamy

March 31, 2012 1:19 AM  

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