Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Importance of Visibility

Your presence is appreciated.

So here is the dilemma.

I completely understand and support people who feel like they need to stay in the closet, especially if the love they share as adults can get them fired, imprisoned, or worse. After all, the people in the polycule that was my original inspiration for this blog continue to carefully guard their own privacy. That polyamorous consanguineous marriage is not only not legal, but is criminal in many places.

But I also support and want to see more people who are personally prevented from having the freedom to marry to come out, at least online or with family. Why? Because visibility, or mere presence, has been changing minds.

We have seen this with the freedom to (monogamous, nonconsanguineous) same-sex marriage, parenting, or simply couplehood.

There has been a shift in public opinion about those things. The majority of people in the US now support this limited same-sex freedom to marry, which is a big change from not that long ago.


Here’s my take.

Many of the people who used to be counted as against same-sex marriage or same-sex parenting hadn't given it much thought before. They tended to think in strictly heterosexual terms. When presented with the idea or same-sex marriage or parenting, they had a knee-jerk reaction picturing the most outlandish stereotypes. You know, men dressed poorly in drag, speaking with bad lisps and swishing, getting married by a Cher impersonator and then topping it off with an orgy reception. (I don't think that is necessarily wrong if someone really is that way, but the thought it being done as a farce made conservative vanilla straights have negative thoughts). Or they assumed gay men are pedophiles and that's the only way they'd want children. Or that two lesbians are somehow incapable of raising children.

These people have now thought more about it and, very importantly, have seen real examples of same-sex parents and couples, including people they know who came out of the closet. And so they now support equality, at least for same-sex couples, because they’ve seen the reality for themselves. This was no doubt aided by Loving v. Virginia, meaning most same-sex couples no longer had to fear prosecution simply for loving each other.

There will always be the bitter haters who won’t change their opinions, or relent from their drive to force their personal beliefs on everyone else. They can't stand anyone different from them, and they try to force everyone to be like them.

The good news is that we don’t need those people to join the 21st century in order to reach full marriage equality. What we need is all of those usually reasonable people who have assumed the stereotype that polygamy means someone abusive older man using a different religion than them to force young girls to be his child brides, and the stereotype that incest must mean a predatory older man molesting or raping children and producing babies with birth defects as a result… we need those people to understand that there are adults consenting to loving, beautiful polyamorous relationships, polygamous relationships, and consanguinamorous relationships, and they shouldn’t be denied their rights to love, sex, and marriage. These people who are being denied the right to marry are often good citizens, good employees, good friends, good public servants. They are everywhere, but haven't been so visible, at least not yet.

More polyamorous and consanguinamorous people will come of out of the closet, whether just to those around them or to the world, and it will help. It would very much help if some admired celebrity, whether in the arts, business, academia, or somewhere else, would come out as consanguinamorous, and challenge the bigots. A lot of the bigots won’t change their minds, but their inability to explain what the problem is will help change the minds of others.

For now, I recommend getting involved online. Tell me your story (fullmarriageequality at yahoo dot com), or join us on Facebook and at Incestuous Lovers Forum. See How You Can Help.
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