I’m a bit confused, since I said nothing in that post about gay marriage. Jo went on to say,
“ I am so, so sick of hearing this. It really makes me mad. You aren't gay, so quit comparing yourself to people who are.”
Does being bisexual count? (Small grin.)
“The other day, I attended a gay rally, and a goth girl showed up wearing a collar with spikes 2 inches long. She was riding a bike (I wonder if you know her?) “
Wait! Is this one of those assumptions people make along the lines of, "Hey, you're from Tennessee? (Population 6,000,000) My uncle lives in Tennessee - do you know him???"
The visible polyamory community is pretty small and incredibly far flung, so I very much doubt that I do. Also, many people live poly lives whose social circles do not encompass the polyamory community itself, especially polys who are gay, lesbian and/or kinky. Some of their communities make space for them as poly people and as a community subset, and they are content with that.
“On one side was a sign that read, ‘Lesbian bed death - in your face – Polyamory’ and the other side read, ‘Queer as f* - High Femme - Kiss my a**’ It ticked me off, but it was nothing I hadn't seen before!”
“When polyamorists direct such offensive language to 'monogamists' as you label those of us who believe in two-person relationships- the first time I've ever actually been offended by a label- can you guess what the reaction is?”
How horrid of me! How dare I?!?! (Sorry, but I just can't help poking a little fun at Jo's assumptions - s/he speaks as if s/he really believes that all polyamorists are determined to make sure same sex couples can't marry.)
As to the term "monogamist", Microsoft Word’s spellcheck doesn’t even blink at it – I think that means it’s a common term and mine was fair use of it. Mirriam-Webster agrees:
Date: 1651 : one who practices or upholds monogamy
“Can you guess what I wanted to scrawl on her sign with the cans of spray paint sitting so temptingly nearby? It's incredibly offensive, and 'lesbian bed death' is also completely untrue. It makes me mad. I don't know why 'polyamorous bed death', 3 or 4 people who are bored with each other, isn't an equally possible scenario, or how poly is somehow a 'cure' to a bad 2-person relationship. It's utterly ridiculous.”
No poly activist I know says anything remotely like what is assumed here, i.e. that polyamory can be a cure for a troubled dyadic relationship. I would never and have never recommended such a thing. I've never heard of poly bed death, but I expect that it exists for some poly people, just like it does for the rest of the population, gay, bi, trans and straight.
I did use the term “monogamist” in the Identity Poly-tics post, in which I was discussing how some polyamorists don’t want to be referred to as such. I said that *to me* the term “polyamorist” is a simple term which I use to describe one of the two sorts of people who engage in long-term, committed intimate relationships. The others are indeed monogamists, and the dictionaries clearly agree. I didn’t imply that one is better than the other, but that’s what Jo heard nevertheless. And Jo is certainly not the first person I’ve encountered who gets hot under the collar at the perception that someone is trying to label them.
What I don’t think I said but will happily say now is that I do not consider polyamory to be any better than monogamy – it’s just different. Monogamy works for many people, and so does polyamory.
“To my mind, this little goth girl's definition of polyamory is polygamy, or "swinging". I'm sort of thinking it is your definition, too.”
I've not had much luck with trying to get an accurate impression of someone's personal definition of polyamory as they practice it by reading their t-shirt and noting their style of dress. And though I don't identify as a swinger, I fully support swinging as a legitimate form of sexual expression, and I've spent enough time socializing with swingers to have a pretty good idea that there aren't too many goth girls hanging out with them. Neither have I noticed signs of goth culture invading mormon polygamous compounds - if it has, it's their secret! We do see a bit of gothness here and there in the polyamory community, and lots more of it in the BDSM/kink community, where there are also lots of polyfolk.
I do make references to being sex-positive in my 6 June post, which some people hear as code for promiscuous. For the record, I do not identify as a polygamist nor a swinger. I support polygamists (when all partners are adults and have equal power of choice) and as I said above, I also support swingers as well, each in their preferred method of partnering. I believe that theirs are valid forms of intimate relationships, too.
“Anyway, everyone in the Universe now except for most gays is lumping polyamory in with gay marriage, and it has me steamed. Do me a favor and quit trying to tie yourself to me and drag down my chances of getting gay marriages formally recognized in the US as they should be under our Constitution.”
Ah, so now we get to the heart of the matter and what has Jo so steamed. In my next post I’ll elaborate on the history of the conflation of same sex-marriage and polyamory, by whom, and how hostility between same-sex marriage proponents and polyamorists is exactly what the enemies we share hope will happen.