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Old 08-11-2009, 04:26 PM
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Default Polyamory activism

I have been doing lots of reading about polyamory online- searching for what I can find of all aspects of the lifestyle. One thing I have noticed and seen mentioned is that polys are slow to be political/vocal/public with their views, beliefs and life situations.

I wonder why this is.

Is it just that polys are too busy/happy/self-actualized to get on a soapbox and make their lifestyle known, or is it something more sinister, like fear or shame? Perhaps it is a lack of organization and leadership.

Do we not feel a need to take our place in literature/culture/media/history because it is needless or because there is no precedent in our current society?

Is this a sign of oppression from the outside or an intentional secret/closed society mindset on our part?

Polys are a very complex minority, based on sexual preference. I know there are many of us out there, but I wonder how many there are who have never been informed and will therefore never identify with this term because it is not very publicly touted as legitimate and deserving of tolerance.

What effect does this secrecy/stigma have on our society? What is our role to bring this beautiful concept into the light to encourage understanding, tolerance and debate?
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:49 PM
Mark1npt Mark1npt is offline
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I think it's a complex vs. simple issue IMO......society is still grappling with the rather simple issue of gay vs. straight...now you throw poly into the mix with all of it's combinations/derivations and I think it's a bit overwhelming for most people in society to comprehend/deal with. Maybe in 100 years when some of the simple issues are settled and commonplace, society will be able to grasp and absorb poly more seemlessly? Just a thought.....
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:50 PM
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There are activist polyamorists, but these appear to be a small minority.

It's important to realize that the term "polyamory" is of quite recent vintage, although people have been practicing polyamory for millennia. And there is now a sort of "movement" growing up around this term. The movement is also pretty recent in vintage, and I think it is probably growing rapidly. The "movement" is mainly geared at reducing social stigmatization of "ethical non-monogamy," and educating people about this valid relationship style option (let me know if you come up with a better word than "style") -- and therefore isn't particularly "political" in the usual sense. "The usual sense" being seeking legislative action. But I suspect some legislative action is very much called for when it comes to parental / child cusody rights -- as, apparently, parental polyamory has been used to defeat parents in child custody battles.

We had an active topic here at www.polyamory.com on the subject of a National/International Poly Coming Out Day proposal. It eventually fizzled out. I don't know why.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:54 PM
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Coming Out Day (Topic)

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showt...ghlight=coming
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:59 PM
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Good questions!

Have you looked into Anarchists and Poly?

When I used to hang out with Anarchists they and I called it Non-monogamy. Now I hang out with a couple and they see it as a very politcial stance. I wonder if Pacifists do to? Hmmm. I would be interested to hear what you come up with.

I think its busyness on my part. Although I live it and am as open as I can be.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rarechild View Post
Polys are a very complex minority, based on sexual preference. I know there are many of us out there, but I wonder how many there are who have never been informed and will therefore never identify with this term because it is not very publicly touted as legitimate and deserving of tolerance.
You don't need to have a label for it to live it.
My hubby and I have lived the poly lifestyle for 8 years, but only recently stumbled upon the term "polyamory". Knowing the name hasn't changed anything about how we live our lives.

For us, we are open about our lifestyle to anyone who asks. And we are happy to explain how we feel about it or how we work our relationship. Perhaps I am wrong, but I don't feel I have to go out there and "preach" about the lifestyle, we simply have to show by example.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rarechild View Post
Is it just that polys are too busy/happy/self-actualized to get on a soapbox and make their lifestyle known, or is it something more sinister, like fear or shame?

Perhaps it is a lack of organization and leadership.?
I am always baffled that people need to declare aspects of their life so publicly. I don't require societal recognition to be happy so I find it hard to sympathize with this concept. Why not direct that energy inwards. I think it is the vocal contingents that are the ones who truly need to feel accepted and therefore have feelings of guilt or shame.

Why any love style would require organization or leadership is beyond me. It is this type of self isolation that makes people wonder about the people involved in movements. Who cares if you can love more than one person or can love only one? I don't see a coalition for the rights of swingers or BDSM, so what is the poly communities need to be recognized and accepted by society as a whole?

Is polyamory seeking legal rights similar to those available to traditional relationships? We'll have to provide some well documented and numerous poly relationships that have proven the test of time before that happens. The administration alone for all the types of declared relationships would be staggering. Not to mention they are so fluid in many cases, the system couldn't keep up.

Get off your soap boxes and just live and love. Stop taking yourself so seriously and trying to spread the word like missionaries and just be.

Last edited by MonoVCPHG; 08-11-2009 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Ricavaler View Post
Perhaps I am wrong, but I don't feel I have to go out there and "preach" about the lifestyle, we simply have to show by example.
I'm with you Ricavaler. Who cares what you call it or even about the word polyamory? The word isn't special, relationships are.

People hung up on words and labels annoy me to crap..find a better way to direct your energy. We're nothing special, complex or a new age movement. The hippies were practicing polyamory way before the word became so mainstream. We're just people. Just like the white picket fence neighbors a lot of us have.

Last edited by MonoVCPHG; 08-11-2009 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:40 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
I am always baffled that people need to declare aspects of their life so publicly. I don't require societal recognition to be happy so I find it hard to sympathize with this concept. Why not direct that energy inwards. I think it is the vocal contingents that are the ones who truly need to feel accepted and therefore have feelings of guilt or shame.

This; and it really isn't anyone else's business.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricavaler View Post
You don't need to have a label for it to live it.
My hubby and I have lived the poly lifestyle for 8 years, but only recently stumbled upon the term "polyamory". Knowing the name hasn't changed anything about how we live our lives.
I feel you. I am not talking about labels per se- I am talking about education and tolerance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
I am always baffled that people need to declare aspects of their life so publicly. I don't require societal recognition to be happy so I find it hard to sympathize with this concept. Why not direct that energy inwards. I think it is the vocal contingents that are the ones who truly need to feel accepted and therefore have feelings of guilt or shame.
.....
Get off your soap boxes and just live and love. Stop taking yourself so seriously and trying to spread the word like missionaries and just be.
My motivation for this posting was to further educate myself on the issues surrounding the lifestyle and to hear how others feel about the secrecy that most polys have to maintain to live in peace.

I have noticed many threads on here discussing "coming out" to friends and family, and the difficulty in doing so, mostly due to social stigma and lack of understanding- like any predjudice, violent or damaging reactions to poly are largely based on fear and ignorance of the meaning involved in such a life decision.

For my own part, I have talked to a few friends about my thoughts and feelings on the subject, and have had to do so with much patience, caution and myth-busting, if you will.

I certainly don't want to broadcast my sexual endeavors to the public in order to validate them- I just cringe at the fact that from what I'm hearing, most of us have to be very clandestine for the benefit of others who would misunderstand or judge. Is that fair or just how it is currently?

There is also the fact that had I understood polyamory in the context of my own life as a legitimate, respectable life choice, I could have saved myself some difficult and painful personal conflicts.

I wonder why I never realized the pure and simple fact that poly is an available choice for those who choose it- I think the answer , for me, is that I had a lot of preconceived notions, social norms I felt tied to, and no community or available information from which to learn that this is, in fact, a beautiful way to live for those who choose it, and not some deviant, threatening fantasy.

I also think that poly-minded people have many very valuable lessons to teach that have nothing to do with sex or sexual choice, that have to do with evolved and honest human relationships in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post

Why any love style would require organization or leadership is beyond me. It is this type of self isolation that makes people wonder about the people involved in movements. Who cares if you can love more than one person or can love only one? I don't see a coalition for the rights of swingers or BDSM, so what is the poly communities need to be recognized and accepted by society as a whole?

Is polyamory seeking legal rights similar to those available to traditional relationships? We'll have to provide some well documented and numerous poly relationships that have proven the test of time before that happens. The administration alone for all the types of declared relationships would be staggering. Not to mention they are so fluid in many cases, the system couldn't keep up.
On the leadership- I think that it is a needed thing to defeat stigma and discrimination, and also to provide good information to people seeking to understand choices different from their own. I started thinking about this when there was a debate on whether or not to post the Newsweek article on Facebook-my own trepidation as well as others- and thought it was kind of sad that poly is so unacceptable that we have to keep it hidden from our friends and family in even the smallest ways.

One of the most precious things to me about poly is the open, honest value system- and I don't want to achieve that in my private life only to set myself up to be part of another secret I don't feel I can share for fear of loss in my public life.

As to the legal issues- the nature of marriage as it relates to domestic partnerships/custody rights/health care issues in general is being re-evaluated and debated from many standpoints-why not ours? Why would we have to wait 100 years to be open about who we are and not be penalized for it?

These are all questions that will be answered by each individual according to their convictions.

Maybe "activism" is too loaded a term. Perhaps I should have named the thread "Polyamory Education" or something less threatening such as "Own your own Poly."

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