I recently came across several conversations and articles about polyamorous people being excluded from LGBTQ+ spaces. Feelings were had all around. But no conclusions were found.
This blog, as you can see from our content so far, is very LGBTQ+ friendly. And addresses some big LGBTQ+ topics. Marriage equality and employment discrimination being a couple of those. This is because I am the B in LGBTQ+. My metamour falls under the +. My boyfriend is another B. Even my daughter has come out as a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Not to mention the number of friends and extended family who identify with so many of the letters in it.
When one group rises, we all can
The LGBTQ+ community means a lot to me, and is one that I want to advocate for. Because it is a community that is marginalized and attacked a lot. In healthcare, in employment, in basic rights. I can’t help but want to be a voice to help them rise up.
Also, larger acceptance of LGBTQ+ people could lead to a larger acceptance of polyamorous people. There is a lot of overlap between the two, in my experience. Many polycules have at least one person who identifies with at least one of the LGBTQ+ letters.
So why all the hubbub?
When I came across the conversations I did, I was a little surprised. I assumed the polyamorous community was welcomed into those spaces. I realize that was pretty naïve. The struggles the LGBTQ+ community faces (and faced in the past) are vastly different from those in the polyamorous community. But still, my little rainbow bubble was popped.
So what exactly were they all saying? Here are some of the biggest points of contention.
What about the cishet people in polyamorous relationships? They can be allies, certainly. Many are, I would imagine. But do they belong in the safe spaces created by and for LGBTQ+ people? My opinion is no. People under the umbrella of LGBTQ+ deserve to have a space that is only theirs. A space that is safe for them to rant or vent about the world of cis-heteronormativity. A space without the chance of a cishet person potentially getting butt hurt, or trying to explain it all away. No matter how big an ally a person is, they will never be able to understand the struggles of being LGBTQ+. Just like a white person will never be able to understand the struggles of a BIPOC.
Style vs Orientation
Polyamory is a relationship style, a choice. It has nothing to do with gender identity or sexual orientation. And because it is seen as a style or a choice, it is not seen as deserving to be included in those LGBTQ+ spaces. I could argue, if I was feeling particularly testy, that for some people, polyamory is not a choice. It is very much a core part of who they are as a person, just like their gender or sexuality. It cannot be changed.
Being a part of both
I am a part of both communities. Would I love to see the two come together? A little bit, yes. But I understand and appreciate them more for being separate. They need different things. They experience different things. And they give different things in terms of support and community and resources.
Do I think polyamory belongs under the LGBTQ+ umbrella? No. Not even a little bit. Because not every polyamorous person is queer. And not every polyamorous person views their relationship style as an intrinsic part of who they are.
But this blog will continue to support that community, in the best way I know how. By using a voice to talk about some of the big issues that affect that part of me as well as the polyamorous part of me. Because there is a lot of overlap. But my struggles as a polyamorous person are nothing compared to the struggles the LGBTQ+ community faces.
How do you feel about it all? Do you identify with one or both communities? Would you like to see them merge and accept each other more? Or do they deserve their own unique spaces?