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-   -   Two possible closets avoided! (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=98)

River 03-12-2009 06:44 PM

Two possible closets avoided!
Being a bisexual guy--leaning somewhat toward favoring guys--, I grew up deep in the closet because no other real option was available to me in those dark days of Wonder Bread Suburbia, where everyone conforms to the Normality Code. Closets, I can tell you, totally suck. And now I've had just a little actual experience with polyamory, and would you believe it?, now I have yet another closet to escape! That is, we poly folk are not much appreciated by the Normality Police, either!

Me?: I'm a writer/researcher/thinker/feeler and dreamer.... I love to work and play and mix the two up. I also enjoy cooking, gardening and passionate kisses.

Each day drawing breath is a good day; but some are just plain difficult, anyway.

avena333 03-13-2009 04:29 PM

Hey River,

I can identify with the feeling of having too many closets! I need to get a t-shirt that says Everything I Want to Do is Illegal.

Well, maybe not illegal, but certainly Frowned Upon. Deep within me there is something that has always striven to be normal. I want to fit, I'm not trying to constantly challenge everyone's comfort zones. I just do. Now I'm beginning to see it is part of my power.

Goodness I could have so many labels if I chose to revel in them. Bisexual, psychic, poly, bipolar, borderline, attachment parent, breastfeeder, raw milk-drinker, home-birther, pothead, massage therapist, healer.

All those and many more are labels I feel pressed upon me from this label-hungry world. But you know what? They don't tell the story. I am a person with astronomical amounts of love to give, who can hold energy and connect others to Spirit. I may seem crazy, but I simply refuse to allow others' definitions of the universe to hold me in.

I'm coming to a place of acceptance in this. I still hold fear about what my mom would say if only she knew the depths of my weirdness. Ah well.

River 03-13-2009 05:11 PM

most folks live in closets

I feel-think it likely that there may well be endless lessons associated with closets and their escape. For one, its all a matter of degree, it seems. Most folks live in some closet or another, or several, to varying degrees of closetedness. The term entered popular vocabulary in reference to so-called "homosexuals", but there are clearly a lot of closets to choose from. Anyone who will likely experience social rejection for "coming out" has a closet to contend with. "Shall I stay or shall I go?" ... "In or out?"

Shortly after Stonewall, queers were admonished, "Out of the closets and into the streets!" It was queer invisibility which allowed the severe homophobia and heterosexism of the culture to persist without evaluation and investigation. Visibility would be the key to liberation.

I predict that the next big closet to be challenged is the poly- closet. Again, the key to liberation is visibility. Most poly folk are not terribly visible. For this reason, the monogamy expectation goes unevaluated and uninvestigated by the whole 'mainstream' culture.

But there are so many other ways we, most of us, choose to remain silent or invisible. They all have to do with the truth of who we are and whether we can expect to be treated with contempt or with kindness when we "come out".

AutumnalTone 03-16-2009 05:28 PM

Welcome to the boards!

Heh. The normality police are quite afraid of the rest of us. They should be, for I suspect we outnumber them, if truth be told. The number of nonconventional folk and those who would ally with us is growing quickly, which means the number of rigidly "normal" and unfriendly to those who aren't folk is dropping.

River 03-17-2009 10:53 PM

"I suspect we outnumber them" (the Normality Police)

I also suspect the same. However, as it was with challenging the "homosexual" closet, there is (and was) a need for "coming out of the [fill-in-the-blank] closet". Every time any of us "non-conventionals" "comes out" we provide courage and strength for others to do the same. If we outnumber the "Normals" the whole notion of normality comes undone--since it is a statistical notion to begin with.

Whatever is truly ethical cannot be wrong!

Courage, everyone!

Olives 03-18-2009 04:27 AM

Hi, welcome : ) I'm new here too.

Regarding the closets...for me, coming out to those I loved about being attracted to all sorts of people, regardless of gender, was liberating and important.

But my poly lifestyle isn't something that I feel comfortable "coming out" about. This is primarily because I feel that it is harder to explain to the society I live in than it is to keep private. I don't go out of my way to hide my family, but it's not something I broadcast either. Not out of embarrassment, but out of a desire to not cause discomfort that I feel is unnecessary. That is to say, I don't think it's anyone's business.

I wonder though, the challenges my children might face as they age. I know that for me, (though I love my family dearly), growing up with an unconventional family structure left me faced with a lot of judgement as a child.

River 03-18-2009 02:22 PM


Originally Posted by Olives (Post 298)
But my poly lifestyle isn't something that I feel comfortable "coming out" about.


May I ask, in what way the family you grew up within was unconventional?

I agree that it is no one's business what sort of family you choose to assemble, or join with. But I would urge you to worry a little less about causing "discomfort" coming out as poly. I say this with full knolwedge of the challenge involved. But, as they used to say back in the 60s-70s, "the personal is political". The politics I speak of isn't one that involves a lot of political party activity or pushing for legislative action. Rather, it is the politics of acceptance of diversity and of social attitudes. We poly folk know that the poly option is as valid and good as the mono option, if not better--and so we owe it to the the social world to inform it of this which we know. We owe it to each other.

One day polyamory will be as visible, socially understood, and accepted as, say, being gay. Gay people weren't particularly visible -- out -- until after Stonewall. It was a coming out party. It's a shame that when Oprah had a show about non-monogamous folks there was no mention of the term 'polyamory' (if I remember right). But if all of the poly folk in this country formed a network and we all hit her with a pile of mail on the same day, that would be our coming out party! One simple letter would be the effort of an individual, but the combined impact would be overwhelming.

riciecup 03-20-2009 01:35 AM

I am proud of my family
I will proudly point to my family. My two mothers and my father were the most loving and gentle folk anyone ever came across. The rest of my many family ties were deep and loving. I hope that one day everyone will realize that being culturally different if just as fabulous as being mono.

It is my hope that committed relationships of poly familys will one day be recognized as legal and binding.

River 03-21-2009 12:17 AM

More important to me than legal issues, marriage, that sort of thing, is social acceptance. Not that I would let non-social acceptance get in the way. It's just that it is ever so much easier not to fear exposure of the truth.

AutumnalTone 03-30-2009 10:28 PM

Well, yeah. My mother still hasn't come to terms with anything remotely nonmonogamous, despite my first marriage many, many years ago being open to outside flings. I learned then just not to talk to her about my relationships. I don't hide anything, I just don't talk about it with her.

Some of the folks I work with know we're poly. I still don't mention it in general conversation as I'm uncertain as to whether it would cause any problems. It's not that I love my job--I don't and I don't expect to be in the position on anything approaching a permanent basis--I'd just rather leave it by choice rather than having had problems with coworkers or management over how I live my life.

It's also why I don't discuss religion most places and so forth. I have enough difficulties as it is, I don't need to create any I can simply avoid.

Once poly gets to be known and accepted more widely, then I'll discuss it more openly with more people in more settings. We can work out legal entanglements slowly and I won't fret. I'd really like social acceptance much more quickly.

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