[This week's feature spotlight focuses on LGBT issues.]
Part 2 of 2
Emerging in the most radical wings of the gay rights movement right now is a movement called Beyond Marriage. Originally proposed by Joseph DeFilippis, Executive Director of the New York-based Queers for Economic Justice, the movement urges the LGBT community to think beyond the conventional nuclear family model.
This means allowing state-recognized partnerships not just for gay and poly couples, but also for best friends, siblings in non-conjugal relationships and caregivers as well.
DeFilippis is clear to point out that the Beyond Marriage movement is not about polyamory. "I want to be clear that this is not about pushing for polyamorous relationships per se. This is about separating church and state from the recognition of family and that the state has no business in determining what makes a valid family.”
"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread."
Sarah slurps vegetable soup, her voice nasal and her normal surplus of energy depleted. Today, the doctor told her she has mono.
"I'm jokingly blaming it on this girl I made out with who was an awful kisser, because I think it must have something to do with her. Other than that, I haven't kissed anybody but Caitlin in a long time."
Mono is just the latest drop in Sarah's roller coaster life. The past month alone her laptop was stolen by the drug dealer living downstairs. She made up her mind to move out after both her roommates told her not to call the cops, since one had an arrest warrant out, and the other an ounce of drugs in her room.
Around the same time that Sarah was crashing on her new lovers's couches, Nicolette, her on-again-off-again girlfriend, broke up with her. [We met Nicolette in Part One.]
Sarah moved on from the break-up at record speed, admittedly distracted by the security of being desired by multiple other partners. Plus, she was falling in love.
Sarah still considers herself poly but has been seeing the girl she’s fallen hardest for, Caitlin, almost exclusively. The one exception to her de-facto monogamy was the incident with the bad kisser. She and Nicolette still talk about twice a week and remain friends--more or less.
"I would have sex with Nicolette again, but I don't think she's very supportive of who I am. I think Caitlin really supports my indecisive nature whereas I think that really stresses Nicolette out. That's too bad because that's not something I'm going to give up for somebody."
Sarah is graduating this semester with an MFA in acting, and wants to try her luck getting work in New York City. Still, she realizes she's going to have to get a job on the side for steady cash and health care. Now that her parents are cutting her off and she's sicker than she's been since she can remember, being insured is her greatest stress of all.
For Sarah, it's in situations like these that make being polyamorous a political statement.
"As a queer community I think we have this ability, this opportunity, to pursue something outside of monogamy and try to re-define relationships. I think we've wasted a lot of time focusing on gay marriage so much, where we could have been fighting for universal health care and the issues that would take the importance away from marriage. Because I think we still privilege a couple over a single person a lot." Sarah slurps, her elbow bent awkwardly out to the side like a small child. "If we all had health care, we wouldn't have to get married."
Everyone imagines a different fairytale ending for themselves. The common thread, however, seems to be in the wish to live happily ever after. For some of us, that ever after will mean marriage. For others it will mean an ending free from attachment.
For Nicolette and Sarah, there will be an abundance of obstacles along the way, including each other, on the path to that ending.
Monday- State of the Unions
Tuesday- Profiles in Polyamory [Part I] : a new generation of gay youth emerges, and challenges the notion of "normal".
Wednesday- The High Cost of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": a harrowing story of abuse in the military.
Thursday- Profiles in Polyamory [Part II]
Monday June 29th- Discharged But Not Discouraged; an Interview with Anthony Woods, Congressional Candidate and Gay Vet