Today is #bivisibility day. And I am ready to really be seen.
I have been open on social media about being bisexual, but as I continue to see the power of my own voice, I am compelled to share the whole truth about myself.
Those of you who follow me have probably become accustomed to my sharing. I’ve been fortunate to use my small platform to speak out about things I believe in and connect with people all over the world who might benefit from hearing someone else talk openly about their shared life experience. This has been true for me in all things from chronic illness and postpartum anxiety to parenting fails and gardening mishap.
I’ve always been somewhat open about the “queer” piece, the word I choose to ascribe to myself as a person attracted to all genders. I have also made public statements to say that one’s sexuality is not always entirely defined by the person they choose as a life partner.
But the reality of my lifestyle goes beyond my sexuality, and if I am going to live my full truth, I want to share an important piece of my identity: I am polyamorous.
Polyamory is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. It has been described as “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy” (straight from Wikipedia).
Part of having a partner who loves you so unconditionally is the ability to have tough conversations, open communication, and the capacity to reach out beyond your comfort levels. My children have the luxury of knowing that they are not only loved by both of their parents, but their parents truly love each other. They will also know that they can choose to live and love in whatever way makes them feel happy and fulfilled.
Why announce this all on social media? Because I believe there is some responsibility for people with the privilege of being open to do so. Because there are so many marginalized people out there who feel like they have to live in secret as gay, bisexual, transgender, or, yes, polyamorous, in order to be accepted by their families, their workplaces, their churches, and their communities. I understand that I hold a lot of privilege as a white woman with socioeconomic means and a social media platform. I also know that visibility and representation matter.
It is my responsibility to try to help normalize this alternative lifestyle because there are so many people who cannot speak up. I am not looking for any special rights or privileges, and I cannot demand that everyone reading this thinks what I am doing is “OK.” But, what I do know for sure, is that these words are helping someone out there who is struggling.
Q. Why do you feel compelled to share the details of your private sex life on the internet?
A. Why do you feel compelled to share photos of what you made for dinner? But in all seriousness, it’s not just about sex, it’s about love. And the reasons I feel compelled to share are pretty clearly outlined above.
Q. But aren’t you worried about what coming out publicly is going to mean for your children?
Again, not really, for the reasons outlined above. Would you say the same thing
to an LGBT parent? We are all entitled to live and love openly in the ways that
make us happy, as long as we are being ethical and honest.
Q. Is your husband polyamorous too?
A. That is not my story to tell. All I will say is that we are all very happy.
Q. So you’re a Mormon now?
A. Polyamorous – not polygamist. I am an agnostic Jew and I don’t like wearing sleeves.
Q. OMG I could NEVER.
A. OMG You don’t HAVE TO.
Q. Maybe I should keep my husband away from you now.
A. I don’t want your husband, Susan. But even if I were still open to new partners, do you keep your spouse at arm’s length from your single or divorced friends? Probably not because polyamorous people respect boundaries in the exact same way.
Q. I have so many questions.
A. That’s OK. I can’t speak for all polyamorous people because it is an extremely diverse lifestyle without cookie-cutter answers. There are loads of great books about the history and practice of polyamory. I am not looking to be an “ambassador,” only to share my personal truth. If you would like to chat more from a personal perspective, please feel free to reach out to me.