Category Archives: anti-poly

Critics on All Sides…

I haven’t had a chance yet to see the polyamory episode of Lisa Ling’s Our America (which aired last night), but I’ve heard from several poly folks who were quite pleased with it. Check out Alan’s post over at Poly in the Media for a lot of clips and some comments on the episode.

But while we’re on that subject, I read a brief (poly-friendly) article on Gawker earlier about the episode, and was not entirely shocked to find comments from posters who were appalled by any comparison between poly rights and LGBTQ rights, a phenomenon I mentioned in a post recently. Reading internet comments is perhaps never good for one’s sanity, but I do have to point out one particular comment because it highlights this divisive gay vs. poly stance so perfectly; the commenter actually stated that the article’s author isn’t “very good at being gay” if he “can’t see the difference between rights for gay people (people who have a fundamental identity they are born with, have nothing wrong with them, are oppressed by society, and can engage in healthy relationships) and activism on behalf of every banal sexual practice out there, especially people who are bullshit machines (do five seconds of prodding on how well these “polyamorous relationships” actually work out).” Given how frequently queer folks once had this exact same line used against them (for example: you can’t compare race and being gay, your race is something you’re born with, being gay is just a deviant “lifestyle choice”), it’s painfully ironic to see any pro-gay-rights folks using sort of “one identity is legitimate, the other is not” reasoning to put down others.

And speaking of that slippery slope, I also stumbled across a post earlier on anti-gay-marriage blog Mercator Net which warns against the coming poly revolution in Australia, or something like that. The posts author, Michael Cook, says that:

“Australian activists for same-sex marriage have always insisted, that it will not lead to polygamy or polyamory. Never, ever, ever. Gay marriage is just like traditional marriage, except for the sex of the spouse…

This is a crucial point for supporters. If they were to concede that same-sex marriage would ultimately lead to polygamy and more imaginative forms of marriage, they would prove that there is a slippery slope. So they are forced into vehement denials.

How odd, then, that a Polyamory Action Lobby (PAL) has been founded in Australia ‘to combat the image of poly people as relationship bogeymen.'”

Most of Cook’s post actually sounds just fine and dandy to me, but I suppose you have to know your audience, and he’s clearly speaking to people who will be horrified at the very thought of polyamory being legitimized. Aside from one line where he asks “Are these activists serious? Is this an elaborate hoax?” one could almost imagine the exact same post being written on a pro-poly site. “Admittedly polyamory seems radical,” Cook says, “but at every stage of the sexual revolution, the next step has seemed impossibly bold.” Sounds like a promising statement to me!

In some ways, I think an increase in conservative attention being focused on us might just be a positive thing; if homophobic douchebags are opposed to us, I think that makes us look pretty good in the eyes of most reasonable people. My only hope is that it doesn’t fuel even more backlash from people in favor of LGBTQ-rights, like the comments mentioned above.


Polyamory and Other Horrors

Recently, National Organization for marriage ally and “ex-gay therapy” supporter Robert Gagnon reacted in horror to the suggestion that straight, Christian students should attend Gay Straight Alliance meetings, and compared GSAs to “Nazi skinheads,” a “women abusers advocacy society,” and–what else?–“polyamory appreciation groups.”

Obviously, the main issue with Gagnon’s statement is that it’s absurdly, disgustingly bigoted toward  LGBTQ youth. But it’s kind of amusing to me the regularity with which polyamory is used by the right–along with things like Nazism and violence against women–as a more extreme form of depravity to compare to homosexuality. I remember when President Obama declared June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month,” the conservative Illinois Family Institute released a statement saying that if we were to consider a similar “polyamory appreciation day,” it would highlight the absurdity of the President’s declaration (a link to the statement no longer appears to be available). And if I had a dime for every time I read a phrase along the lines of “gay marriage will lead to things like bestiality, pedophilia, and polyamory,” I would be a wealthy woman (for one laughable example, see Glenn Beck’s lovely little visual explanation of “the slippery slope” from back in 2009).

These things would all be simply good for a laugh, if not for the fact that they genuinely do seem to fuel anti-poly sentiment even on the left. When same-sex marriage and gay rights advocates constantly hear polyamory tossed in with things like bestiality and incest as comparisons to same-sex relationships, too often they respond by lashing out against polyamory and reiterating why it is nothing at all like homosexuality. And while obviously there are tons of LGBTQ folks who support–and practice–polyamory, I’ve also seen plenty truly nasty anti-poly comments from gay and lesbian folks who are appalled by any comparison between LGBTQ rights and polyamory, even when those comparisons are coming from a favorable perspective.

It seems to me that a very uncomplicated place to draw the line in the “slippery slope” is at consent. Bestiality and pedophilia are, by their very nature, not consensual relationships between two (or more) adults. But if openness to same-sex marriage and a wider acceptance of same-sex relationships in general really does lead us to consider the possibility of recognizing and respecting other forms of relationships between humans who are able to give meaningful consent, is that really so horrifying? Or is that what real progress looks like?

One of these days, when polyamory is deployed as an “extreme” comparison to same-sex relationships, it would be nice to read some commentary that first calls out the bigotry, but also says “and while we’re at it, stop lumping polyamory in with things like Nazism/bestiality/whatever.” We should all be allies here, not letting the extreme right turn us into enemies.

“There is an Agenda Here”

We must be doing something right if we’re on the conservatives’ list of threats to traditional family values. Over at conservative “news” site The National Review, blogger Wesley J. Smith has sounded the alarm about “the push to normalize polyamory.” Smith’s cause for panic is an article that recently appeared in Live Science and was syndicated to several reputable news outlets, such as Scientific American. Amusingly, Smith doesn’t really have much to say on the topic himself. Instead, he merely presents a lengthy quote from the article in question–a quote about how even monogamous folks could perhaps learn some things from how poly people manage issues such as jealousy and communication–as if the horrors of it are obvious enough to speak for themselves, no further commentary necessary. Smith adds only: “There is an agenda here. Let the normalization begin!”

I’m rather amused by the timing of this statement, personally, as it comes mere days after I named this blog and vowed to share my radical agenda with the world. Conservatives might toss around the word “agenda” as an insult, but I’m wearing my agenda with pride, and doing my part to make sure Smith’s fears are actually realized. A world where it’s perfectly acceptable for people to be in multiple romantic relationships at the same time, where no one bats an eye at people choosing to structure their intimate lives in any number of different ways? A world where people enter into monogamy only as a result of conscious choice? A world where families like mine are recognized as valid and treated with respect?

Let the normalization begin, indeed.