Thursday, May 14, 2009


Part of the discussion on "coming out" at group this week went into the idea that the poly community should hold back on increasing visibility within the larger society to allow the gay and lesbian movement to achieve their goals without "muddying up the waters" of public opinion with our polyamory issues.

This got me to thinking about what I've heard from people within the gay community about poly. One of the common opinions that have been shared with me on more than one occasion is the idea that poly people are just flat out greedy! "We're just trying to get equal rights, you people want something special!" This is very similar to the concern with bisexuals who enjoy the societal rights and privileges of straight life, but also get to indulge their less conventional gay inclinations as well. Double dipping.

So, are we in fact, just flat out greedy? Maybe. The portion of that word that I take issue with is a sense of entitlement. That being poly gives us "rights" to anything in particular. This is sort of silly. As far as I can tell, being poly gives us the right to put a lot of conscious energy into building communication and relationship skills. That's about it.

However, within poly, there is a feeling that might be considered greedy by the estimation of many. The idea that I'm putting this much effort in to earn the "right" to be just like all the other people that are sleepwalking their way through life is ludicrous! I want WAY more for myself and my partners than what passes for normal in our society! That's why I'm doing this. It isn't to be average, it's to be exemplary. It's not to have the same rights as everyone else, it's to carve out special territory that isn't available to those who don't pay their dues. The status quo isn't enough. I want my life and loves to be exceptional, not merely acceptable.

Yep, I guess I'm greedy. I want more than what the gay community is working towards. Settling for being just like the conventional herd beast, passing for normal, isn't what I'm shooting for. The strength of the poly community is in our diversity, and that means being different from the run of the mill. Broad acceptance isn't something that anyone else is ever going to hand us. There will be no societal sanction for those who dream and live big. So I'll be "greedy" and enjoy a life that many won't even know enough to dream of.


livingtotears said...

wow. maybe i don't get out enough?... i've never heard that poly visibility should wait until the gay and lesbian movement is further along. what a concept!

i've heard "greed" used about polyamory in context of trying to have our cake and eat it too. and i've heard that it's greedy and greatly manipulative to convince two men to both settle for half a wife. (wtf?!)

but i haven't heard greed in the context of taking turns for visibility. it twists my head to try to grok that.

i hope that most people try to live with intention ~ whether they are polyamorous or not. although i'm choosing a path that allows more love to be freely given and freely received (i *love* your clarifying words about that, PF!), it comes with more work, more potential benefits, *and* more potential risks. i don't think that makes me any more or less exemplary, but that might connect to intent. people might or might not consider me to be exemplary, but i'm not aiming to be exemplary. it's a possible result of how i live, but not my goal.

(but... i'm currently in an epiphany stage where it really crystallized for me that my words and actions might contribute to people thinking well or ill of me, but mostly, i have no control of what other people will think, so perceptions aren't "buy-able" regardless of how much i might want people to think well of me and how hard i might try for that.)

for me, i'm not looking for any special rights or entitlements, but whether i opt for polyamory or monogamy or some other thing, i'm going to work and earn what i have in my life by striving to always be the best me that i can be... to live in a way that i like the girl who looks back at me in the mirror by living in alignment with concepts that are important to me, and in ways that enable positive communications and connections that fit my views of individuals giving and receiving love as freely as possible. trying to live up to one of my favorite-ever quotes: the highest art is to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way.

while i'm not looking for special rights or entitlements, i don't think that living my life, sharing about it as i choose to, and being as visible or as closeted as i wish to be needs to connect to or be limited by how visible, sharing, or closeted some other person or group wishes to be. although i can see that some things really might improve more effectively by following a particular sequence, i don't see that living my real life and others living their real lives needs to be a taking-turns sort of thing.

i think i'd have piles to say about that, if only i could unscramble my brain about the concept. it twists my brain! wondering... what i am missing...?!

lynelle ~ off to garden! hands in dirt, sunshine, flowers smiling at me... brain unscrambling goodness... beautiful day-ness...

brandy-Faire_lady_brandy said...

to both Lynnelle and PolyFulcrum, thank you for your Fabulous words today on my 19th year of sobriety.I Should be celebrating with my poly partner/bestfriend and playpartner, but unfortunately hy is knee deep in his own mess and I am taking a stand for my Own sanity and wellness.That part makes me very sad, but I am very elated about my own milestone.What does this have to do with what either of you said?lol..not much I guess but the words were extreemly Empowering and that is what I full of today on both a sweet and difficult day..and I Thank you both bunches!

Léo said...

"greed" connotes only taking care of my own wants and needs and being totally careless with regard to the impact on others and apathetic to the needs of those outside my own neat, comfortable circle . When I make conscious choices, insist upon my right to live the fullest expression of myself and still maintain compassion for others I am far from greedy.
Fighting for my right to exist, nay, for my right to pursue living fully, a creative life, a passionate life of my own design with all that entails, inherently includes fighting for that right for anyone.

polyfulcrum said...

LTT- Half a wife? Wow...that's a new one on me. Too amusing. I think I probably work best as a "time share" anyways. Not to mention that they both enjoy having more flexibility for outside activities and connections.

Yes, I don't think that gay rights and poly visibility are mutually exclusive concepts. It does seem like there is a potential to muck up the landscape with poly concerns. "We just got them to consider two men living together as not totally icky. Now, you want to toss men and women in multiples into the pot???" I can see where it would be easier to just handle one thing at a time, but personally, I like multitasking. ;)

Brandy! Congrats on your sobriety anniversary. Celebrations are in order. I hope things have settled down with your partner in the interim. It sounds like a good use of time, taking care of yourself and honoring your accomplishment!

Le'o- Yes, I don't define "greed" the way it was presented here either.

For me, it makes sense to band together with others that are also outside the box. Spending time on the idea that we need to differentiate on a level of: "Gay rights are great, but those poly people are nuts." seems just as silly as poly people that slam swingers for being sex positive, although they have a different take on emotional relationships.

Together we can accomplish more than as separate units, even if we maintain our own community or individual identity.

Léo said...

If all of us keep at it, challenging the world to really look, someday all of us will see there never was a box.

Was there Marcel?