Two or More?

Rachel Gilbride

Everyone knows that relationships can be a challenge, and take a lot of work to be successful, especially if the relationship is sexual. Each person brings in their own struggles that they both have to work through together. This gets even more difficult as couples add more people into their partnerships. This is especially true when they face stigmas from people who are outside the relationship.

Normally, polyamorous relations are considered to be associated with the Church of the Latter Day Saints–known better as polygamy. In the religious context, men take on multiple wives in secret marriages, but only have one legal wife through the court system. This practice began with the founder of the church, Joseph Smith, but officially ended in 1890 when President Wilford Woodruff announced the church’s separation from this practice. However, some fundamentalist sects do still practice polygamy for religious reasons.

Polyamorous relations are starting to become more prevalent in the LGBTQ community. Polygamy and pansexuals, people who are attracted to others regardless of gender, tend to be widely accepted by the queer community. In this community, polygamy is done by people who have chosen a type of relationship that is more beneficial for themselves.

Both sets of people who practice polygamy/polyamory face continuous discrimination from a majority of Americans. Those who practice polygamy and other forms of queer relations face even more because of their type of sexual relations.

Taylor, Jacob, and Amanda perfectly capture the challenges of a queer polyamorous relationship. Taylor is the youngest of the three, and the only student. Jacob is the eldest; he has a job and is attempting to become a published writer. Amanda is in the middle and is working two jobs. All three live in Michigan in separate apartments–living different lives but continuing to have each other as constants.

All three of these individuals bring something different to their relationship; in some cases what they bring is good, and in others it is bad. Taylor brings in new ideas to the relationship, Amanda is the energetic one, and Jacob is practical. Although at times they face contention in their relationship, a majority of the animosity comes from outsiders.

In this relationship, careful planning is done to keep all three of them safe from bigotry. In many cases, it involves going out in pairs instead of a group. Another safety precaution they take is having separate date locations so people are less likely to recognize them.

Both of these tactics are done to prevent verbal threats, and much worse. Even with these precautions, they face some forms of discrimination. At times it’s for being “confused lesbians” that just need a man to put them on the right track. Other times, it involves not being a “real man,” or finding a man that actually “has what matters.”

Something we all should think about is helping protect this style of relationship from discrimination. Why should any type of relationship face humiliation or ridicule? As a country we have created many other anti-discrimination laws, such as stating that race and gender are not a factor in employment. The partial repeal of the Defense of Marriage act is also another example of reducing discrimination.

By allowing polyamorous groups  to have complete rights, such as those afforded to a heterosexual couple, we will become one step closer to true equality. As we accept more people for who they are, we reduce the amount of of threats, ridicule and humiliation that humans face.

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