Hi there. I'm a writer for a lifestyle site called MEL Magazine, and I'm working on a piece about how the poly community portrays the stigma against it. While I agree that anti-poly stigma exists, there's a troubling trend of some poly people likening it to homophobia, racism, and other prejudices people may think of as incomparable. Do you see polyamorous people as literally being denied civil rights or oppressed by state power? Or are a few individuals playing the victim?
Okay, I wasn't originally going to even answer this, because I find it obnoxious for a number of reasons. It seems very odd for a magazine writer to reach out to me with an anonymous tumblr message rather than an email - I've done media requests and interviews and given quotes before, but generally, the journalist contacts me through email and we can chat back and forth, answer questions, clarify, etc. But in order to answer you, I have to post this publicly and anonymously. Despite this, I decided to answer it, so here you go:
You've got both a strawman and a false dichotomy in your question.
First off, you cite a "troubling trend of some poly people" saying something, but you don't actually cite any examples. I'm active in the polyamorous community, both online and in a very polyam-friendly area, and I do not hear this. Ever. Something you heard someone say, or something you saw floating around tumblr, is not enough to put words in an entire community's mouth. You're making up a position to respond to that just doesn't exist, which is called straw-manning and is a fallacious, irresponsible way to start out.
I googled "polyamory stigma" and the first page is full of results where people have realistic, even-handed discussions of the problems and stigma that polyamorous people do face, without needing to make spurious comparisons to other types of oppression. It is true that polyamorous people face rejection from families and friends as well as a lack of access to healthcare, financial security, legal protections, hospital visitation, and child custody issues. It is also true that there is not a history of institutional violence against polyam people the way there has been against women, people of color, and LGBT people. Those facts can co-exist.
Someone's struggle can be real and valid without needing to compare it to other, different struggles. And that's the second issue: you have a false dichotomy in your question. You're trying to put words in my mouth and force me to either say something ridiculous and critiquable - that polyam people are "literally being denied civil rights" on the scale of Jim Crow or somesuch - or to turn me against other (alleged) people in my community and make me dismissively accuse them of "playing the victim." I will not be quoted saying either, despite your attempt to force me into this unfair either-or.
If you want me to respond to a genuine position someone else is taking, then cite and quote it. But it should be a legitimate source, not something someone told you once. People are out there saying all kinds of ridiculous things, I'm sure - but being part of a minority group doesn't obligate me to speak for, or defend, everything everyone else is saying. I'm not responsible for managing the entire discourse around polyamory and oppression, and it's disingenuous of you to try and make me out to be.
I'd be happy to speak with you about specific issues I've faced in my career, family, community, and healthcare as a result of my polyamory - but you'd need to ask me more clearly and responsibly.
Here is some reading you can do to get a better sense of what this "troubling trend" really looks like:
- Polyamory & Child Custody Nightmares
- Social & Therapeutic Challenges Facing Polyamorous Clients
- Child Custody & Polyamory - note that this article is very clear-eyed about specifically how high/low the risk of various problems is; there is no hysterical comparison to other forms of state oppression
- 5 Legal Issues Polyamorists Face - note the disclaimer at the end of this article about intersections of privilege or oppression
- Poly In The Media's "Legal" Tag - includes both positive and negative stories, very balanced