Wednesday, June 1, 2011

SLC’s City Weekly Features Local Polyamorists

Jim Catano, a polyamorist himself, has a relatively lengthy article about polyamorists in Utah. He begins with some very basic explanations about polyamory.

They (we, really, since I’ve been polyamorous since 2004) reject the long-held social norm that a loving, meaningful, romantic, ethical relationship must involve only two people. They even strive for something that at first blush seems overly optimistic—to feel good about the satisfaction their partners experience through their “other love” relationships. It’s a mindset they call “compersion”—the flip side of jealousy.

Utah’s polyamorists come in all sexual orientations—straight, same-sex, bisexual—and their sexual practices span the spectrum: one-on-one or “vanilla” (probably the majority), group, kink. The Smiths/Joneses form what’s known in the poly community as a “quad”—two couples with each individual able to share some sexual intimacy with any of the others. In a “simple, basic, or hetero quad,” only opposite-gendered partners are sexually involved.

I’d like to point out that a polycule can also involve consanguineous connections.

The Smith/Jones quad is also “open,” meaning partners can have additional outside lovers, if desired. Other polyamorists practice “polyfidelity,” where sexual intimacy occurs exclusively within the group. Others may be “fluid bonded”—using condoms or other safer sex practices with outsiders.

He moves on to the people and how they actually live.

There’s no suggestive art on the walls or mirrors on the ceiling, and nobody’s likely to be lounging around in sexy lingerie. This is a family of generally serious folk who spend more time reading books from their large library than they do partying. Some might say they’re a bit geeky, with interests in things both techie and sci-fi.

Monogamists and others who assume they don’t know any polyamorists need to know that polyamorists live among them. You pass them by when walking somewhere, you deal with them in your job. They are in your schools. Many of them lead lives no different than yours, aside from the structure of their relationships.



How did they vault the cultural fence and become polyamorists? Celine reports, “I was raised pagan, so being strange was never a big deal, but my big problem when I was young was that I fell in love with all my friends.”

Liz experimented with polyamory since her teens, but not without challenges. “I dated people of both genders in high school,” she says. “One relationship ended suddenly when I announced I was non-monogamous.”

Joe claims, “I was wired polyamorous from the womb. In second grade, I was in love with two girls. In high school, my girlfriend said, ‘We’ll never get an STD because we’re monogamous,’ but I knew I wasn’t. From then on, I only got involved in noncommitted relationships, so I didn’t feel trapped.” Celine mentored her husband, Fred, into the lifestyle.

Some people are polyamorist as who they are. Even if they aren’t seeing anyone or are only seeing one person at the moment; they are polyamorist as much as they are male or female.

The adults go on to explain in the article how their polycule helps in parenting.

The prejudiced law rears its ugly head…

Utah, due to the LDS Church’s 180-degree flip on plural marriage beginning in 1890, has statutes that strongly challenge non-monogamous arrangements. “Technically,” Celine laments, “we’re in violation of Utah’s cohabitation law [as part of Utah’s anti-bigamy statute], so we stay below the radar.” To add to that, this state’s “at-will” employment law further drives polyamorists into secrecy, knowing most employers could terminate a suspected or an outed poly employee without cause even for just believing the employee’s lifestyle might be problematic. And more than one polyamorist has lost a child-custody battle because their “questionable moral character” made them unfit parents in the eyes of the law.

Yes, a lack of equality harms.

One who does assist society’s fringe types is Midvale attorney Andrew McCullough, who believes polyamorists enjoy broad protections stemming from the 2003 Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas. “It basically tells government to stay out of our bedrooms,” says McCullough, who opines that if kids aren’t subjected to behavior any more salacious than what they’d see in the typical home, “it shouldn’t matter how many ‘parents’ they have.”

Thank you, Andrew McCullough.

The article touches on issues of solidarity

This is the 16th year that “UPS” has hosted a booth at Salt Lake City’s Pride Festival, but some Pride organizers and attendees feel that any form of nonmonogamy detracts from their efforts to establish the social acceptance of long-term, same-sex, monogamous couplings.

Why? I mean, I know some LGBT people are strictly monogamous and dislike the false assumption that all LGBT people sleep with anyone, but some of those who aren’t on board with the same-sex freedom to marry will never change their minds. They won’t care if it is three men or two men who want to marry. But others need to be confronted with the fact that many supposedly monogamous heterosexual couples aren’t monogamous in practice, and consensual polygamy or polyamory should not be denied for anyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

Polyamorists, in general, though, are received favorably by Utah’s queer community, since both find common cause opposing state and national “defense of marriage” legislation, which narrowly defines marriage as an arrangement between only one man and only one woman.

…who aren’t closely related. Good to know that there is solidarity in Utah. Hetero poly people should be supporting LGBT people, and monogamous LGBT people should be supporting poly people.

The article goes on to look at a variety of poly relationships, and at the end there is list of poly resources. Good job, Jim Catano!

Adults should be free to pursue polyamory, including a polygamous marriage, if that is what they want. And they should be able to do so regardless of gender or relation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

To prevent spam, comments will have to be approved, so your comment may not appear for several hours. Feedback is welcome, including disagreement. I only delete/reject/mark as spam: spam, vulgar or hateful attacks, repeated spouting of bigotry from the same person that does not add to the discussion, and the like. I will not reject comments based on disagreement, but if you don't think consenting adults should be free to love each other, then I do not consent to have you repeatedly spout hate on my blog without adding anything to the discourse.

If you want to write to me privately, then either contact me on Facebook, email me at fullmarriageequality at yahoo dot com, or tell me in your comment that you do NOT want it published. Otherwise, anything you write here is fair game to be used in a subsequent entry. If you want to be anonymous, that is fine.

IT IS OK TO TALK ABOUT SEX IN YOUR COMMENTS, BUT PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY AS I WANT THIS BLOG TO BE AS "SAFE FOR WORK" AS POSSIBLE.