Tag Archives: polyamory

Click on all the links – linkspam

I have my computer back, and I have a hundred thousand links (well not quite), to share with you.  Ones I’ve gathered while at work (where I had a computer) and ones I had ready to go before it took a week for my PC to be fixed. So let us begin, in no particular order…

Leah Moore guest posts on Warren Ellis’s blog on how the comic industry needs to tap more than the male market in “Thank Heaven for Little Girls“:

Girls read comics, not just Manga either. Girls read superhero comics, indie comics, autobiographical comics, historical comics, literary comics, horror comics, romance comics and even just plain terrible comics. Girls are comic fans. They want comics aimed at them, or aimed not at them, or just comics that are good. They want all the same things male comic fans want. They want to be sold to, they want to buy the cold cast porcelain model of Rogue looking badass and put it on their shelf. They want Wonder Woman underwear sets and Wolverine stationery for the new term. Women are just as whimsical, gullible, romantic and fanciful as men. They are capable of grasping the finer points of all the weird freaky made up stuff that we all commonly know to be “ACCEPTED CONTINUITY.”  They will talk about costume changes and characterisation.

Continue reading Click on all the links – linkspam

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Being out and proud

I have discussed this on my poly blog (which will one day be migrated to here) before, that it is rare to have a negative experience when I out myself as either poly or queer these days.  Now there are many reasons for that, some of which are internal and some external (white, middle class, cis-female, able bodied privilege ahoy).  Oh and the fact that I get to choose my audience also plays a large part.  It is rare that I am outed and feel that I have to justify myself and my choices – though that happens from time to time.

There is a big difference in power between telling someone something in an environment in which you are comfortable and have an expectation of the reaction and having someone else tell someone with the potential for accusation, interrogation and a negative reaction, not to mention real and actual harm.  I don’t go around telling people I know who will react badly because I don’t want to waste the energy on ameliorating that reaction and any relationships that may be impacted.  Though sometimes I am tempted to be evil and tell people so they go away and leave me alone – sadly those situations are usually ones where my parents would be impacted instead of me and I don’t think that’s fair on them.

Continue reading Being out and proud

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Polyamory – you’re probably doing it right

As I’ve said in earlier posts, there isn’t one best way to do or be something.  There are a multitude of ways, and nowhere have I encountered this more evidently than when discussing and reading about polyamory.  What works for me is quite likely to disastrously not work for someone else.  What works for someone else, really isn’t the thing for me.  There is a wide range of ways that relationships work (friendships, romantic attachments, one-night stands, family, soul-mates, etc).  And as there is that wide range of relationships and different ways of them working, there is a wide range of ways to make polyamory work.

I could sit down and take apart an article my sister gave me the link to discussing polyamory, how what is mentioned in the article doesn’t work for me, how I understand where the author is coming from, and yet the levels of formality and hierarchy would just upset me, but it’s far easier for me to say to myself, this is what worked for them, and like most things in life will change and grow with them for as long as it’s useful.  (that sentence is nice and long, but anyway)

Even things mentioned in The Ethical Slut, a book many people consider to be the bible of polyamory, aren’t necessarily the only way to do polyamory.  These things are all suggestions, some useful, some far less so.  If your version of polyamory is working for you and your partner/s, and someone else is screwing their nose up at the way you’re living your life and relationships, then that’s their problem and not yours.

Take what I and others who write and talk about polyamory with a grain of salt, think on it as useful information, but stuff that doesn’t necessarily apply to your situation.  It’s great if it does, and it’s great if something I share or say makes a difference, but no one is under any obligation to try and fit their unique situation into a copy of my (or anyone else’s) situation.  Doing that is unlikely to lead to anyone else’s happiness.

[Cross posted here]

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Being queer and (not) donating blood

I can’t donate blood because I am married (and have sex with) a man who has sex with men (mostly a man, but sometimes other men).  Regardless of how safe our sex lives are, regardless of all the rules we have in place to keep us disease free, we can’t donate blood.  My husband, because he has sex with men (mostly his husband), and me because I have sex with my husband.

But that’s where the scrutiny stops.  My other husband (the straight one) and my girlfriend can all go and donate blood, because they aren’t having sex with someone who is male who has sex with other men.  The scrutiny stops one jump beyond even those the disease vectors don’t.  I’m unable to find the classic HIV ad that was screened in Australia (on YouTube at least) which asked if you knew who your partner’s previous sexual partners were, and were you safe from HIV.

My tribe practices safe sex.  We have strict rules, which include regular STI testing, to keep ourselves free from diseases and to protect each other.  We trust each other and practice full disclosure, so it feels like a bit of a slap in the face when the Red Cross doesn’t do the same.  I do get that 65% of new diagnoses of HIV are from men who sleep with men (2009), and if you take the ultraconservative number of queer people in Australia to be 5% of the total population, then that’s slightly more than one in every 1000 gay men who are diagnosed with HIV – odds that those who rely on blood transfusions don’t want to have to face.  Therefore banning (deferring as it tends to be put) men who have sex with men from donating blood is easier than well all of the other options.

But to tell men who have sex with men that if they remain male-sex free for 12 months then they can donate blood is… well… rude.  “Hello men who have sex with men, I know that you enjoy it, may be in a long-term, monogamous relationship with that man that you’re having sex with, but we treat all queer men the same, so when you’re next celibate for 12 months then we’ll think about letting you back in our club.  In the mean time, go on and do that thing which is risky and leads to us rejecting your blood.”

Of course, the other problem with the whole thing is that if my husband was not bisexual and we were still openly polyamorous, I could go and have risky sex every weekend with whoever I wanted, and donate blood.  The Red Cross’s rules are based on statistics and not actual behaviour.  Because more men who have sex with men are diagnosed with HIV than any other group, all those queer men who are in monogamous relationships or who practice safe sex are discriminated against, as are their female partners (if they have them).  All heterosexual individuals who engage in risky sex don’t have to worry about being banned from donating blood (should they want to).

There has to be a better way of dealing with this.  Of capturing information about STI status from existing STI tests, of asking questions about relationship status, and asking questions about the type of sex engaged in by those who wish to donate blood.  Perhaps instead of being squeamish about asking questions or providing answers to such things, we should be more open about STI status, sexual history and relationship status, especially when it comes to essential supplies.

 

UPDATE:  I’ve just been alerted to this great story of a man being turned away from donating blood in the US because he “appeared” gay.  The story also has more on the banning of queer men from blood donation.

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