Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk!
Okay, I’m going to write more than that. A lot of people feel that polyamory doesn’t belong at Pride. I was reminded of this in the comments section of a beautiful artistic version of the polyamory pride flag on Facebook. I know, I know, my mistake – never read the comments.
A lot of people feel that polyamory doesn’t belong at Pride because heterosexual people can be polyamorous. I understand where they’re coming from. To many people, Pride is a celebration of sexuality that isn’t heterosexual, after all. However, I’d like to explain why I feel that it does belong at Pride.
Pride is more than just “Let’s celebrate same-sex attraction/relationships”. That’s an extremely limited view, and leads to excluding a variety of people that Pride is meant to support including the asexual spectrum and sometimes even trans people and non-binary individuals, despite having been started by trans women. Pride is about fighting for and celebrating sexual and gender identity that is historically repressed and punished by society. It’s about celebrating love and relationships that have been denied. This is one reason that I actually prefer the acronyms GSRM or GSRD (Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minorities/Diversity) to refer to the community, but LGBT (and +/Q/Q+/QIA/QIA+ variations) are more popular and require less explanation.
Monogamy is the standard form love takes in our (western) society, much like heterosexuality is the assumed standard sexual orientation. Deviation from the standard is punished if not legally, then socially. Polyamory is called “cheating with extra steps”. It’s often considered immoral, especially if a woman rather than a man has more than one partner, though men can be viewed negatively for it as well. It’s extremely difficult, and impossible in most places, to have more than two people on a birth certificate for a child, even if a triad considers them all family. Being openly polyamorous can garner scorn from coworkers and even bosses, leading to professional difficulty. It is not legally protected, and as such you can be fired for being openly polyamorous or have it used against you in child custody situations. Your family can disown you for being openly polyamorous. These situations may all sound familiar to LGBT+ individuals because they’re the same barriers and discrimination that have plagued the LGBT+ community for ages.
Like sexual orientation, there are many people who feel their polyamory is part of who they are. It’s a part of their sexuality, how they’re programmed, and the kind of relationships that make them happy. I remember being in second grade and asking if it was okay for someone to marry two husbands, being in middle school and feeling tortured that I couldn’t choose which crush I liked the most. Monogamy vs. polyamory, to me, is a part of sexual identity and orientation.
We live in a world where it was easier for me to come out as bisexual than it was to come out as polyamorous. I still haven’t made any “I’m here, I’m polyamorous, get used to it!” posts on my main social media with family and friends, despite brazenly shouting about my bisexuality, because I’m afraid of 100% stepping out of that closet. Having a place, a community, where all aspects of my sexuality and relationships are respected is an amazing concept. I am a polyamorous, bisexual woman and I and my polyamorous straight husband (and my husband’s bisexual girlfriend who is also my ex and my straight Dom and my Dom’s two girlfriends and anyone those two girlfriends are dating) belong at Pride.
So, let’s not gatekeep. Love is love and deserves respect or at least tolerance, even if it doesn’t look the way you expect it to.
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