Alexandra Caldwell, who is bisexual and polyamorous, wrote a great piece on polyamory and how it is painted by others, including some in the LGBT community. This was published in July 2010. How does it hold up today, with awareness of polyamory rising?
While being bisexual, lesbian or gay seem to be slowly gaining acceptance in “mainstream” America, there is one part of my life that still begets misunderstanding or hostility from even those within the LGBT community.
It is a shame when people from a community that has been persecuted stand by and allow others to be persecuted, or even join in the persecution. One example of this is when some of those seeking same-sex marriage throw people seeking polygamy or consanguineous marriage under the bus.
She writes about her awakening...
I hadn’t thought of people loving more than one person at the same time, everyone knowing about it and being okay with it. But when my husband mentioned it, it seemed both so natural and obvious that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.
Also, the timing seemed right. I had just figured out that I wanted to kiss girls. Initially, it had seemed I’d only had two choices: I could stay married and try to ignore this new, huge part of me or I could get divorced so I could exclusively pursue relationships with women. All of a sudden there was an appealing option three: I remain married AND I date girls - either together with my husband or separately. For me, the last choice was by far the best option.
Happiness all around instead the misery of fighting and divorce. Isn’t that better?
Polyamory is not spouse-swapping or about casual, fleeting sexual encounters. It is an actual relationship, just like any other romantic relationship, just with more than one person. These relationships take work and commitment, and you have to feed the relationship - all branches of it - just as you have to with any successful relationship. It is not about one-night stands or casual threesomes or swinging.
A polyamorous couple, triad, or quad may or may not engage in those things too.
That I am polyamorous does not mean that I am easy.
Do you see that, bigots?
Polyamory does not threaten monogamous relationships - for either straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual relationships. We in the LGBT community validly argue that our homosexual relationships (and our desire for marriage) do not endanger heterosexual relationships and marriages. They are separate but the same - we all are just two people who love each other and want to share our lives together. The same goes for polyamory - we are just a group of people in various combinations who love each other and want to share our lives together.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.