My husband and I have been married for 20 years and both also share our lives with additional life partners. We recently moved in with my life partner and our relationship tree is complex, as it so often can be when people are allowed a bit of freedom to love.
Rather than spend a lot of time dishing about what we are up to, who and how we love, and how fortunate we feel, I'd like to get right to my plea for support that I know you could offer. I want freedom. I want the freedom in my life that I want for you, the freedom that I vote for, and demand for anyone anywhere: to be able to live and love and talk about your actual life without being afraid that it could cost you your job, your kids, your family.
Having to live in the closet about who you really are is difficult and fearful and it takes something out of you. It hampers relationships, it stifles your life. I cannot say that it is as difficult for us as it is for someone who is LGBT. Truly that isn't where I am coming from at all. I did not know I was "Poly" as a kid. I never felt like I didn't fit in for that reason growing up—and I happen to agree with you that this is a relationship structure issue rather than something similar sexual orientation. There may be people who always knew they were poly and people who do it to please a partner and people who come to it later and wonder how they ever lived without it. It really does not matter, anyway. This isn't a contest about who suffers more, or where these things come from. For me this is simply about freedom, the ability to be honest and genuine about who we are and have it be OK so long as no one is getting hurt.
I know you caught a lot of flack from the Poly community over the question of orientation vs. structure, and I want to make a public plea that we all just agree it doesn't matter. Instead I think we should ask ourselves if we stand for the same things and if we can become a part of a movement toward freedom and equality for everyone even if some of the ways we choose to live and love are choices and some are not. Can we be added to the acronym, please? I have seen the P added but it is very rare and there seems to be a divide between the communities. Perhaps we honor could the differences with an ampersand?
I don't think you are the emperor of acronyms.... but maybe you should be, and that is why I am starting with you. What do you think of LGBT&P?
Thanks, Dan. Seriously, thank you. The progress we have made together toward a more tolerant world gives me hope that perhaps, one day, we could be next in line.
Privately Polyamorous Person
I don't have a problem with slapping a "P" onto the end of our universally beloved acronym, PPP, but it seems you haven't been keeping up.
We are no longer the LGBT community. We are the LGBTQLFTSQIA community, a.k.a. the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, leather/fetish, two spirit, questioning, intersex, and asexual community/communities. I don't see why we can't slap "P" onto the end of our universally-beloved acronym (UBA)—so say it with me now: "I'm proud to be a member of the LGBTQLFTSQIAP community/communities!"
But if we give Poly folks a punctuation mark then pretty soon everybody is gonna want a punctuation mark and our ever-metastasizing UBA is an unwieldy, sprawling enough mess already. So no ampersand for you guys, PPP.
And why should you be held you at arms length with an ampersand? Because most of Poly folks are straight? Lots of leather/fetish folks are straight and they're covered in the UBA. Lots of trans men and trans women are straight and they're covered in the UBA too. David Jay, founder of the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, is in a "in a romantic relationship with an asexual girlfriend and hopes to adopt a child," according to his Wiki page, and he's covered in the UBA. If the Ts and LFs and As aren't being held with a pair of symbolic punctuational tongs, PPP, why should Poly folks be? You're a sexual minority too, and Poly people sometimes face discrimination, bigotry, and oppression. So welcome to the club, PPP, you're in the UBA. Congrats!
And the best part of putting Poly folks in the UBA? It's adds a new letter to the acronym, PPP, which brings us one step closer to seizing control of the entire English alphabet. While religious conservatives are fighting a losing battle to "take back the rainbow"—and good luck with that, guys—we've been stealing the English alphabet from right under their noses one letter at a time. And thanks to you, PPP, it's ten letters down, sixteen letters left to go. Pretty soon angry religious conservatives will have to post their hateful screeds in hieroglyphics because using the English alphabet will be just as gay as putting a rainbow bumper sticker on your car.
So... gee... maybe I ought to let you have your ampersand*. Why not steal punctuation marks from the haters too?
* The trans community has already made off with the asterisk and I'm calling dibs on the colon on behalf of the gays.