Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Using Expected Questions to Gently Come Out

More and more people are becoming familiar with polyamory and understanding that it is a good thing, not something to fear. omapäinen tyttö has a blog called Willful Girl. In the first posting, from this past January, she writes…

I'm a recently 28 year old lady from the Chicago area. I'm in an open marriage and involved in the BDSM scene (as a switch). I identify as "queer." I value honesty… I'm mostly happy with where I am, although I still struggle quite a bit with how I got here and how I appreciate this happiness based on previous unhappiness.

In a recent entry, “Polyandry,” she writes…

All that being said, I've started telling people at work when I spend time with "my other boyfriends." (For any of them that are actually reading this, yes, I know that's a bit more committed than we actually are. Don't worry. I'm not pushing for that terminology. It just happens to be a term I've found that makes straight people's forehead's wrinkle less than things like "f--- buddy" or "friends with benefits" or "guy I occasionally date/have sex with." And since I am also a fan of brevity, I go with what words are already there.)

For example, if I'm sending texts with one of said other boyfriends and somebody asks me what I'm smiling about, I'll say, "oh, just one of my other boyfriends saying something funny." It's a momentary pause where they try to figure out whether I'm being serious or facetious (it's honestly a fine line sometimes with me, I can be quite the smart-ass), but then usually there are no follow-up questions, no awkward "but you're also married! That can't be possible" type discussions. Just, "oh, you have other boyfriends" and then move on.

There’s always a risk in coming out that someone will respond with bigotry, whether with insults, rumors, rejection, even physical attacks. Family may disinherit you. Neighbors may shun you. Coworkers and employers may get you fired or ostracized. Sometimes there’s just no avoiding that. Other times, how coming out is handled can make a difference. When we gently help people to drop their prejudices, rather than taking an approach that causes them to cling tightly to their position as a knee-jerk response, they can benefit even more than we do. Being bigoted is not a good way to live.
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