"What the 2012 Election Means for Sexual Freedom"
My wife Sparkle Moose first met Kyrsten Sinema, the out bisexual state legislator who was just elected Arizona's newest congresswoman, when they both spoke at the 2009 American Humanist Association convention in Tempe, Arizona. Sinema, a pro-science rationalist Democrat, has squeaked out a victory against a Tea Partier to join the well over 100 openly gay candidates elected Tuesday at federal, state and local levels. She will be the first openly bi member of Congress.
Last week's election marked an unexpected sea change — not so much in Obama's continuance in office, or the only slightly changed numbers in Congress — but in the kinds of Democrats who won and Republicans who lost, and in the breakthrough ballot questions that passed, and in the kinds of voters (increasingly millennial-generation and nonwhite) who made it happen.
Sierra Black, whom you may remember leading her poly network's stellar appearance on ABC's "20-20" news program last April, writes at Huffington Post Gay Voices about what all this means for polys:
What the 2012 Election Means for Sexual Freedom
By Sierra Black
Congratulations to Kyrsten Sinema, the newly elected congresswoman from Arizona's 9th district. Sinema is the first openly bisexual person to be elected to office at a national level.
Congratulations are also due, of course, to Tammy Baldwin. The new Wisconsin senator is, as you have surely heard by now, the first openly gay or lesbian senator to be sent to Washington.
A huge thank you, as well, to the people of Maine, Maryland and Washington who all voted this week to grant marriage rights to their LGBT citizens. [Also, Minnesota voters rejected a state constitutional amendment against gay marriage, the first time that's happened too. —Ed.]
It's a good day to be queer in America. More than that, it's a good day to be human in America, as we're seeing fundamental rights expanded to more people.
The wins for the LGBT community at the ballot this year don't stop with the historic bullet points I just covered. The history being made by these women and the people who voted for them is real. But it points at something bigger: a changing landscape of social norms in which being gay or lesbian or bisexual isn't the most important feature of someone running for office.
That's good news for me. I don't have any plans to marry my girlfriend. We're both happily married to other people. We're not like the monogamous gay and lesbian couples Obama praised when he came out in favor of gay marriage on the campaign trail. We're on the polyamorous fringe no mainstream politician is ready to defend.
But I feel the world is a safer, friendlier place for me and mine as the march towards full civil rights for LGBT people advances. It's a better place for my daughters to grow up and discover who they want to be and who they want to love without facing bigotry and stigma for their choices.
...While I'm partying for Kyrsten and Tammy and all the couples newly allowed to marry, I'm also aware that the advances for queer rights in this election have made my sexual identity as a polyamorous woman more of a target. In the Washington Examiner, Gregory Kane takes explicit aim at polyamorous people and the transgender community.
"I'm all for gays and lesbians climbing aboard the equal rights train," he writes. "It's who they're bringing with them I have a problem with." [When Fairness Goes Too Far, Nov. 7, 2012.]
It seems clear he's trying to stir up fear and distrust, pointing to my family and community as the scary monsters in the closet who will be turned loose should voters allow same-sex couples to marry.
...Those of us who are polyamorous or transgender or otherwise outside the embrace of what the mainstream seems as normal aren't shadowy figures trying to ride the coattails of the gay and lesbian rights movement. We're allies and friends and in many cases queer people ourselves. We are faces of the movement for gender rights and sexual freedom, just as much as a monogamous gay couple is.
...As the center shifts towards a saner, more inclusive and humane take on gay rights, it makes all kinds of sexual orientations and identities more visible. If there's no longer one right way to do things, there's more room in the discussion for a plethora of right ways.
...I'm bracing myself for what comes next: the toxic response of a conservative machine that sees itself losing ground and will work to generate fear and hostility in an effort to stop progress.
I'm sure we'll see more articles like Kane's, attempting to divide those of us outside the box of traditional heteronormative relationships into "good" minorities and "bad" minorities [Kane himself is a member of the black minority. —Ed.], creating imaginary in-groups and out-groups.
We'll also see more days like this one, where the world is suddenly dramatically better for the many people whose desires and relationships don't fit the fairy tale model of romance. So let's celebrate today, and be ready for the long, slow work of change to come.
Read the whole article (Nov. 9, 2012).
And this long view comes from the website of the NBC-TV affiliate in Chicago:
Obama Is Now An Historic President
By Edward McClelland
By winning re-election on Tuesday, Barack Obama graduated from president to historic president — far beyond the fact of his being the first African-American to hold that office. Obama will turn out to be as important a figure to the 21st Century as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan were to the 20th....
...But most importantly, Obama — the first president of non-European descent — has destroyed the Anglo-Saxon, Protestant assumptions on which American government has been based since 1776. This, more than anything, is why his opponents hate and fear him, and why Mitt Romney won a near-record percentage of the white vote. Obama embodies the multi-cultural America that will make whites a minority by 2050. The America of the cowboy, of the frontier, of the pioneer — that America is history. Obama’s coalition — black, Latino, Asian, Native American, union, liberal — is made up of cultures defined more by communal cooperation than rugged individualism. Obama’s America will be a more socialistic country than we’ve known — although, ironically, that will make us resemble modern-day England more than we would have if the Anglo-Saxon Romney had won. Predicts Michael Lind in Salon:
By the mid-21st century, an increasingly multiracial and mixed-race U.S. is likely to be far more “European” than today’s America — much less religious and far more secular, with a majority or plurality of all races born out of wedlock, and a much bigger middle-class welfare state, mostly for the elderly, financed by European methods, including a value-added tax. There will still be a right and a left in the United States of 2050. But the right will be calling for a VAT on marijuana of 15 percent instead of 18 percent. And the conservatives of tomorrow will insist, against progressive champions of polyamory, that the law should recognize only marriage between two individuals, not among three or more.
Read the whole article (Nov. 9, 2012). And the one in Salon: The Final Defeat of Backlash Politics (Nov. 9, 2012).
Also: At Modern Poly, here's Jessica Karels' post-election "Victories For Family Equality and Preparing For The Future":
We share common ground with advocates for same-sex marriage. While not all polyamorists seek marriage, we do share the desire to end discrimination based on family structure and relationship choice. Rather than continue to allow those who oppose equality to continue to divide us, we need to reach out and build bridges with our potential allies. To that end, Modern Poly is launching two great projects today....