Thursday, February 19, 2009

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

One of the common myths about bisexual people is that we are incapable of monogamy.

One of the truths about bisexual people is that many of us are polyamorous--in numbers probably disproportionate to the general population, although of course no one has done any studies.

I'm guessing the main reason for this is not because our multi-gender-loving natures make us particularly suited for non-monogamy, or because we're just big sluts.* I think it's because once we start coloring outside the lines, we start to realize that these rules about the way sexual expression has to look are just rules that somebody made up. For some of us, the rules make sense, because we're monogamous by nature or because our partners prefer it or because relationships are complicated and risky enough with just two people involved. But if the rules don't make sense for us--well. We already knew they were arbitrary. We were already breaking one of the big ones.

I always think it's interesting when the "defense of marriage" folks throw out the argument that if we let same-sex couples have the right to marry, we open a slippery slope to legal polygamy--and the "marriage equality" folks say "No, it's not like that! It's about the commitment between two people! We don't want to destroy marriage--we want to join in."

They're not lying. Because the marriage rights movement is a movement to normalize queerness--not just to make it seem normative to the general population, but to actually become normal. To become more like straight people. To attain the house, the husband/wife, the 2.5 kids and the picket fence--and the privilege that goes along with it.

And you know, I support that. I support the right to marry for same-sex couples.

But I also support the right of people to do whatever the fuck they want, as long as nobody gets hurt (nonconsensually, that is). And so to the "defense of marriage" folks, I want to say this: You're right.

It is a slippery slope, and we're not just like you. We're queer and some of us are here to destroy marriage as you know it. We are here to shake the very foundations of the traditional family and change the definition of relatedness. We are here to set this damned binary heteronormative world on its ear by refusing to allow you to define love or commitment. Because love is love, whether it's between a man and a woman, a man and a man, a woman and a woman, a man and a woman and a woman, a woman and a man and a man, an ungendered or multigendered person and a woman (or a man, or another ungendered or multigendered person)...etcetera. And family is family no matter how many parents you have (as we should know in this divorce-happy society).

We are what you are afraid of.

We're not all here to join in.

We're here to break your rules. To break your rule.

I support the right to marry for same-sex couples, so far as it goes. But it doesn't go far enough. It doesn't go far at all. Those of us on the outskirts of the mainstream LGBT movement--the B, the T, the LGBTQOC, the elusive A**, know just how far it falls short. How it doesn't even see us.

Those rights don't benefit all or even most queer people. They don't protect our youth on the streets, kicked out or run away. They don't provide us with sexual health care that meets our needs. They don't protect us from being murdered and raped and beaten and shamed to death. They aren't intended for those of us who haven't bought into the husband/wife two kids condo SUV white picket fence ideal--or for those of us for whom husband/wife is the least of our worries because just a safe place to sleep is more than we can hope for most nights.

The marriage movement is in large part a reach for privilege by the already privileged who feel entitled to the just as much privilege as the SWM down the street. It's a lot of splashing, but not a lot of boat-rocking.

So I say, let's tear it all down. Let's stop basing our arguments for our rights on how "normal" we are, how non-threatening (white, vanilla, classed, cisgendered) we look, how well we fit into the kyriarchy, how much we contribute to the economy, how nuclear our family is, whether we've been good little queers.

How about, instead, we base the argument on the fact that we're all human.

Now there's a radical idea.

* I am a big slut. (Where's my parade?!) I'm one of those bad bisexuals your parents warned you about. But I don't/won't speak for everyone and I'm sure they'd rather I didn't.

** Asexual people. Who may also identify as LGBT and/or Q, by the way.