Part of the discussion on "coming out" at group this week went into the idea that the poly community should hold back on increasing visibility within the larger society to allow the gay and lesbian movement to achieve their goals without "muddying up the waters" of public opinion with our polyamory issues.
This got me to thinking about what I've heard from people within the gay community about poly. One of the common opinions that have been shared with me on more than one occasion is the idea that poly people are just flat out greedy! "We're just trying to get equal rights, you people want something special!" This is very similar to the concern with bisexuals who enjoy the societal rights and privileges of straight life, but also get to indulge their less conventional gay inclinations as well. Double dipping.
So, are we in fact, just flat out greedy? Maybe. The portion of that word that I take issue with is a sense of entitlement. That being poly gives us "rights" to anything in particular. This is sort of silly. As far as I can tell, being poly gives us the right to put a lot of conscious energy into building communication and relationship skills. That's about it.
However, within poly, there is a feeling that might be considered greedy by the estimation of many. The idea that I'm putting this much effort in to earn the "right" to be just like all the other people that are sleepwalking their way through life is ludicrous! I want WAY more for myself and my partners than what passes for normal in our society! That's why I'm doing this. It isn't to be average, it's to be exemplary. It's not to have the same rights as everyone else, it's to carve out special territory that isn't available to those who don't pay their dues. The status quo isn't enough. I want my life and loves to be exceptional, not merely acceptable.
Yep, I guess I'm greedy. I want more than what the gay community is working towards. Settling for being just like the conventional herd beast, passing for normal, isn't what I'm shooting for. The strength of the poly community is in our diversity, and that means being different from the run of the mill. Broad acceptance isn't something that anyone else is ever going to hand us. There will be no societal sanction for those who dream and live big. So I'll be "greedy" and enjoy a life that many won't even know enough to dream of.