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

April 28, 2012

Gay poly documentary stirs heated reactions

The sight of an all-male poly relationship sometimes upsets gays more than straights. Stirring this pot is a new 6-minute documentary film, Polyamorous Relationships in New York City, by producers Nilo Tabrizy and Suvro Banerji. It follows a closed, polyfi triad of three men in New York's Chelsea neighborhood. Watch here:

An article about it is up on Gay.net:

Polyamorous Relationship in New York

By Joe Thompson

With all the discussion about marriage equality right now, and an intense desire by the mainstream gay community to be seen as equal to straight couples, two types of gay relationships have been quietly moved into the shadows: open and polyamorous relationships.

Open relationships are the ones most gay men speak about. The types vary.... On the other side, polyamorous couples are made of three or more committed partners. You often hear about that kind of thing among heterosexual Mormons living outside of the mainstream Latter Day Saints Mormon Church, but not as much among gay men. That, however, could change.

...Some gays are simply uncomfortable with this notion — much like many heterosexuals — and either don't understand the concept or simply reject it. Others in the LGBT community get angered when they hear about these relationships, thinking it's politically bad for gay people and reinforces stereotypes that we're a deviant subculture. Still other gay men have a "live and let live" philosophy towards polyamory, or feel that because we're already considered outsiders and sexual outlaws in mainstream society that we have the right and responsibility to not play by society's rules....

Read the whole story (April 26, 2012) and the comments.

The filmmakers themselves have an article in Out Magazine. Much of it is a transcript from the video:

How To Make a Male Polyamorous Relationship Work

By Nilo Tabrizy and Suvro Banerji

"I could never do that," is usually the first thing a bystander will state when he finds out someone is in a three-person or more relationship. But why do some people seem to thrive in such an arrangement?

Franco DiLuzio and Mark Lander met while working at G-Lounge, a club in the in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood. Five years later, they were married. But two months after their wedding, everything changed for the happily married couple.

After a few chats online via a male dating site, Franco met Vinny Vega, a 24-year-old fashion photography student at the Fashion Institute of Technology. What went from a casual hook up turned into a serious, closed polyamorous relationship. Franco, Mark, and Vinny have been together for two years.

“I talk about my boyfriends proudly," Vega explains. "I know it’s hard for people to accept. I don’t really care if people accept me or not."...

While this relationship works for the three of them, there have been critics along the way. Lander admits that most people have a negative opinion about them.

“I find that gay men have the most problem with it. Whereas my straight friends look at it and say, ‘oh, there’s three of you now!’ And the gay friends were more wanting to have that traditional guideline,” DiLuzio says, explaining that their gay friends often looked up to his relationship with Lander as an example of a strong, monogamous relationship....

Read the whole article (April 26, 2012).

In both places, the reader comments are revealing. Some gays do have problems with queers being queer.


Similarly, this appeared at So So Gay in England:

Be My Valentines

Today, I had a nightmare in Tesco trying to buy Valentine Day cards. I had to face a pink and red wall screaming ‘Be Mine!’ at me. In the end, I went for blank cards, to be able to convey my own message and represent myself and my relationships on my own terms.

...Once the preserve of hessian-wearing hippies, polyamory today is a growing movement of sexual liberty. Arguably one of the last remaining societal taboos, Western culture largely doesn’t seem to mind if two consenting adults of any gender hook up, but if outside of that relationship there are others? Unthinkable!

Greg, a 24 year old working in retail has been with his two male partners for 2 years and 18 months respectively. The first of his partners, although not polyamorous is ‘Open-minded’ about the situation. and they both feel ‘equally valued, but most importantly, separate.’

...The myth of there being ‘The One’ who is going to sweep you off your feet can be demoralising for people who feel fulfilled in some ways within a relationship, but not in others. For those who it works for, polyamory is simply a way of getting the most out of life with those who are right for you.

TBird, a 26-year-old arts employee explains ‘For me, my polyamory starts with a relationship with myself, and everyone else I get involved with is joining in with that. The only way poly works is if you talk about it, communication is constant; you don’t play games or rely on body language. I love being in a polyamorous relationship as it relies on proper communication, and I can negotiate a relationship, rather than be under the pressure of slotting into one...."

...The rights of those willing and able to juggle equally committed partnerships simultaneously may well become a major civil rights issue during our lifetime....

The whole article (February 17, 2012).


Next magazine picks up the subject and quotes Justen Michael Bennett-Maccubbin, founder of Polyamorous NYC, a one-of-a-kind gay poly organization that puts on the Poly Pride Picnic & Rally in Central Park each fall:

In defense of polyamorous men

By Justin Lockwood

For some gay men the term “polyamory” calls up a host of negative images.... For every Dan Savage — the sex columnist who has long championed “monogamish” relationships for gays and straights alike — there’s a bitter Betty waiting to pooh-pooh unconventional gay relationships.

Sanjay, a 29-year-old with a fiancé who’s been involved with triad relationships and even a quad with another couple, has encountered a lot of hostility. “We’ve been accused of damaging the gay rights movement,” he says. “I thought the original point of any civil rights movement was to make sure the group [involved] can make their own choices without having to stand up to other people’s standards.’”

Matt, who’s been with his partner for 15 years (the bulk of which have been polyamorous), likens revealing his relationship status to a second coming out. “I had to come out already, but now there’s this new thing that’s not really socially acceptable”....

Even potential partners are sometimes resistant to the idea of a polyamorous love affair. Sanjay says he’s had interest from guys who would be down for “a typical cheating situation without knowledge to [my fiancé] Colin, but not if I was being honest and above board....

This odd dichotomy could be attributed to the rise of gay marriage and its accompanying push for a more socially acceptable gay face. Justen Michael Bennett-Maccubbin, founder of Polyamorous NYC, declares that “There’s this assimilationist movement, but the truth is there’s a huge portion of the gay community that isn’t just like everyone else.” These men have to deal with shame and suspicion from their fellow gays, as with the triads Justen has met since starting the organization, the only one of its kind in the nation. “I’ve known some that have lasted over a decade,” he reveals. “One has been together for fifteen years. Most triads have to keep a very low profile, though. A lot of people are very close minded; it’s hard to find support for their kind of relationship.”

Matt and Sanjay both attend Polyamorous NYC meetings, and the group provides a welcome respite from all the negativity. “Being gay and being poly, it’s so valuable to go someplace where those things are accepted and even celebrated,” Sanjay states. Matt is similarly inspired: “It can be really affirming to know you’re not the only one out there looking for this kind of love.”...

Read the whole article (March 20, 2012). (Ads are NSFW.)

As a counterpoint to all this, I've helped run a literature booth under a "Polyamory!" poster at the Boston Pride Festival for the past several years, and we've never had anything but positive reactions from the crowd.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's as predictable as the sunrise-- when a discriminated-against group finally gets allowed into the castle, the first thing some of them want to do is pull up the drawbridge against the next discriminated-against group. Look up the history of English vs German vs Irish vs Italian vs Jewish vs Hispanic immigrants, for instance.

April 30, 2012 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Robert919 said...

Alan, I too am going to man a polyamory booth/table this coming Saturday at "Out-Raleigh", an lgbt festival in downtown Raleigh, NC. I hope our experience is similarly positive as yours...wish us luck. (But with the anti-marriage amendment on the ballot, I'm sure we'll get a few dirty looks from people thinking we're contrary to marriage.)
We shall see.

April 30, 2012 5:41 PM  
Blogger Gay Poly Trio said...

I know this is an old post but I can completely relate to the trio in the video as I am also in a stable, closed three-way relationship with two men. We have not experienced any rejection from any of our gay friends which I find very fortunate and very few of our straight friends have ever seems to have issue or seem uncomfortable around us.

The narrator hit the nail right on the head when he mentioned how difficult it is to maintain a polyamorous relationship when even a monogamous relationship can be so tricky. The challenges of establishing the comfort level for everyone involved in polyamorous relationships are challenging to say the very least. The largest hurdle being trust. There was an author, that I unfortunately I'm not able to remember, said "the greatest way to destroy a polyamorous relationship is to keep secrets."

April 05, 2013 11:17 AM  
Blogger chet miller said...

i'm one of the gay men that could never wrap my head around polyamory. to me it is simple, there are already too many people infected with STD's and it's hard enough to find one person without STD's, much less three or more in one relationship. besides that, i believe polyamory invites at least one or more of the partners to participate in on-the-side cheating that again results in more possibilities of all involved to get STD's. back in the early 80's, when the words HIV or AIDS were barely even known, i was involved in a polyamorous relationship, but it was very short-lived and jealousy reared it's ugly head. i just thank God i never got and STD's out of that situation, as i had the good sense to get out before it went too far.

August 24, 2013 11:09 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home