Okay, so, I gotta chat about something that’s kind of fucking me up recently. For some goddamn reason, across a few major online communities and support groups in my home province of Saskatchewan, Canada, a big divide has formed.
And that divide, unfortunately, is all about *GASP* those dang polyamorists!!!
Yep, you read that right. Polyamory and polyamorous people, according to a surprising amount of queer and trans individuals in Saskatchewan centric support groups on Facebook, are NOT to be “officially” counted as part of the LGBTQ+ community and are NOT to speak over “real, actual” LGBTQ+ people. Especially if they are cishet!
But yes lets totally make space for, welcome, and wholeheartedly embrace all the OTHER cishet monogamous allies with their often conditional support for cis monogamous lesbian and gay people, and MAYBE the passing binary trans folks too.
Now obviously discussion about the danger of abusive cishet men unicorn hunting for their manic pixie queer girl to fuck, and cishet folks claiming membership so that they can party but not actively challenge all the cisnormative, homonormative, pinkwashing, white feminism bullshit is not okay and certainly a continuous problem to be vigilant about. But we’re being vigilant about that all the time and not mass dismissing or uninviting all allies, or men, or other people as a whole who may or may not be problematic, so why polyamorous folks?
What isn’t worth ANY fucking discussion or entertaining though is all the reductive, regressive, gatekeeping garbage “opinions” being thrown around. Shit like: “Being polyamorous isn’t an orientation!”, “Nobody is oppressed for being polyamorous!”, “You can choose to be polyamorous but you can’t choose to be queer!”, and blah blah blah.
From what I can gather, the crux of it is that because some cishet folks can be polyamorous, then being polyamorous is not queer and it’s not an orientation. It’s a choice, apparently. And if we were to accept polyamory as part of the LGTBQ+ umbrella then it opens the doors to a massive influx of cishets who will destroy us from the inside and undo all that we’ve done and… are you seeing the similarities here to past years yet?
If it sounds familiar it’s because it is. It’s literally the same gatekeeping rhetoric of “their inclusion is dangerous to us!” and “they’re not queer enough!” that has been historically levied against the likes of trans folks, non-binary individuals, two-spirit people, bisexuals, pansexuals, asexuals, aromatics, and any others deemed to somehow be more of a threat to the overall acceptance of queerness than the fucking politicians, businesses, sponsors, churches, allies, etc. we excuse for their money and temporary acceptance.
I really wish this wasn’t fucking happening, but there it is and here we go again.
For those of you who don’t want polyamory visible or discussed during Pride, who don’t believe it’s a romantic orientation, and who don’t think that people experience any form of worrisome discrimination or ostracization for being polyamorous, I know that there’s nothing I or any other polyamorous person could say to show you that maybe, just maybe, you’re wrong.
You’re not actually interested in learning about how one of my partners has been accepted for their queerness, and the other would likely be as well, but BOTH would be outright disowned for being polyamorous because their families think its perverse, unhealthy, and immoral.
You’re not really going to think that it’s a devastating experience to worry everyday about how our love for each other, and our wonderful relationship, would absolutely be weaponized by an ex for custody of our daughter if they ever found out. Or how one of my partner’s careers would come crashing down around them if all the God-fearing monogamous families she served learned about her non-traditional queer personal life.
Whether you like it or not though, my romantic orientation of being polyamorus IS as innately a part of my queerness as me being pan and non-binary is too. So, eat me.
What I want to do now though is speak directly to all the polyam peeps feeling really discouraged, hurt, alienated, and/or upset by what they’ve been reading in these online spaces or hearing around safe spaces in Saskatchewan cities:
I hear you.
My name is Mx Nillin. I wasn’t “queer enough” when I first came out and was perceived as being in a heterosexual relationship (my partner was queer too but people wrongfully assumed they were “female”)… I wasn’t “trans enough” when I came out as enby and started using gender neutral pronouns (this was more of an inconvenience than a celebration to most)… and now, like you, I’m being told that my romantic orientation isn’t appropriate for Pride, or a “real orientation” at all.
And that’s fucking bullshit.
Your capacity to love, or otherwise bond with, more than 1-person in deep, meaningful, intimate ways is ABSOLUTELY a valid part of your romantic orientation. The adversity, discrimination, intimidation, threats, and abuses you’ve received for being polyamorous in a world that functions upon the amatonormative assumption that everybody is better off in exclusive, life-long, partnered relationships is also valid and I am sorry that you’ve experienced any of that.
Finally, I encourage you to not allow anyone to stop you from celebrating your authentic self in the ways that you want to with your partners (even if one of them is cishet). Fly that polyam flag high and proud, walk with those you love, and speak out about the needs of you and your community to anyone listening.
And if you’re reading this STILL thinking “fuck you, Nillin, being polyamorous is a choice and it’s not queer and stop whining your problems aren’t that bad” then fuck you too, pal.
You’re directly a part of the ignorant, toxic, antagonizing rhetoric that keeps my partners and I from coming out about our love and our relationship together. You’re actively contributing to atmosphere that makes us still feel unsafe being visible to all of our friends, family, peers, and community. And all this shit is definitely why we still don’t feel very welcome under the umbrella even as queer and trans folks ourselves.
But I’m still going out to Pride and I’m gonna be loud as fuck about being polyamorous this year just for you xoxo