Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Polyamorous People Should Not Have to Hide

Anonymous wrote in response to a recent entry

A better question might be why do polyamorous individuals internalize the condemnation of society and the state? Why do they fret upon it when it is so easily avoided? Demanding acceptance from others betrays a lack of self acceptance without which no level of external validation will ever be enough.

While I agree that relationships should stand or fall on their own merits, and that to a certain extent individuals must believe in themselves regardless of what others say, it is recognized that discrimination, harassment, slurs, and bullying are injurious to people. Anyone who has faced these things on account of who they are or the person(s) they love can vouch for this. This is why in many places, including where I live, when someone is treated unfairly or is subject to negative comments in the workplace because of their race or a disability (to name just two), the law doesn’t say “Get over it.” No, the law often sees to it that they are protected and, perhaps compensated.

In many places, these protections are not yet extended to polyamorous or polygamous relationships, though they may be extended to same-sex monogamous relationships. The law does not recognize and in some cases criminalizes polyamory, providing needless burdens and obstacles and inequality in treatment, let alone failing to protect against discrimination and bullying.

It is a matter of civil rights. Throughout the history of the struggle for civil rights, those who have been mistreated could have accepted their lot in life rather than working for change. Women could have accepted that they couldn’t vote. African-Americans could have accepted that they had to go to inferior schools, drink from a different fountain, and give up their seat in the front of the bus. But they didn’t, and we’re all better off for it. We are all going to be better off when an adult can share love, sex, and marriage with any consenting adults, as fewer people will be frustrated, cheating, or hiding, and more people will be happy and have the stability they want.

This is about freedom and equality. Every person should have it.
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