I’ve talked here a lot lately about coming out, being open about poly stuff, being an activist. It’s present for me, and talking about it here has been my major outlet for thinking through it all. I think it is an important dialogue to have, and is leading me to approach my thinking in really practical terms. So, first, I’d like to thank you all for your patience while I’m processing this.
I consider myself lucky to live in overlapping progressive/feminist/queer circles. On a daily basis I am having conversations with different people about patriarchy, gender, race, and privilege. It happens in my home, at my place of work, and with my other partners. Living this life means that I am constantly evaluating my life, my interactions with others, and my own preconceptions. Especially coming from my super white small town upbringing, this is something that I value very much in my life. I’m not going to claim that I am a ninja at working through any of this, but I am putting in effort on this front every day. Go team critical thinking.
As a result of my personal environment, this article in The Atlantic came at me at least three different ways yesterday. It led to a bunch of interesting discussions about what it means to pass, and the many ways that society tells us we need to behave or interact with each other.
I do not, and would not, equate the civil rights struggle nor the gay rights struggle to the same issues that poly people face. First, the issues and laws and scope and social acceptance involved in each of these instances are different, As the article states for race and gender, there are different risks involved in each. And sitting on this absolutely massive pile of white-cisgendered-male-in-a-heterosexual-marriage privilege, I’m not even going to pretend that I have any grounds to talk about the particulars of any of these movements. This is better addressed by folks who are in those communities.
But, on the very small level that I encounter it, this concept of passing really hit something in me. I am never confronted with bias in society unless I’m running my mouth. I get to hide behind my monogamous appearing hetero marriage, and pass in this way for as long as I like. As far as living in a closet goes, I’m playing on super-easy mode. But that doesn’t mean that I want to live in that closet, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to feel recognized for who I am. I want to live genuinely, which means I have some choices to make. I can pass for my entire life, or I can start exposing myself on a small-scale to the kinds of bias that others encounter every moment of their lives.
Honestly, there are giant chunks of passing and privilege and harassment that I cannot understand. I’m definitely not claiming to be an authority. What I would like to be a part of is a dialogue about these topics, to cultivate a greater understanding of each other and what we face. That is why I felt it important to write about here. Let’s talk about these things, and see where that brings us.