Re: Is it an orientation or a preference: It matters because of rights. ie; if Polyamory is an orientation it could legally be required to allow poly marriages. If it’s a preference there’s no such protection.
From my original post:
We’ve spent so much time digging our heels into the idea that an “identity” is more valid if it’s not a “choice” - that if something is genetic, or chemical, or whatever, it’s somehow more real or less subject to judgment.
People often insist that discrimination against a certain identity is not okay because it’s not a choice, or is okay because it is a choice. Our pride anthems sing “born this way.” But where does all that come from? I think it’s worth investigating this strange value system we’ve set up.
So I already addressed that idea, for one. It’s true that we have this value system in America that something should be legally protected if it’s a “born this way” orientation, but we don’t think “preferences” qualify for certain rights. My question is: why?
Maybe if we spent some of the energy that’s currently going to bickering about whether polyamory is a way of being vs way of doing, and instead questioned the value system that has us convinced that this is a super important issue, we could change the discourse around how the government polices relationships and how we understand a diversity of identities, rather than fracturing an already small and misunderstood community.
Also, it’s not exactly true, in America at least, that “preferences” aren’t legally protected. American voters and politicians, especially those on the right wing who argue the loudest that being gay is a “choice” and shouldn’t be legally protected, are pretty quick to defend their right to buy the size of soda they prefer, educate their kids in the way they prefer, own the weapons they prefer, have the doctor (or lack thereof) that they prefer. Owning guns, homeschooling your kids, buying big sodas, and wanting to not have Obamacare are not orientations - they’re preferences - and yet plenty of Americans want to classify them as “rights.”
So while you’re not exactly wrong, you’re not exactly right, either. The point I’m making is that yes, we live in a world that says we have to claim an “orientation” in order to argue that we should be able to visit our loved ones in the hospital, share child custody rights, etc. - and I think that’s kind of screwed up. And I’m more interested in looking at how this weird value system tricks us into turning on people who could be our allies than arguing about whether my experience of polyamory as an orientation is more valid than someone else’s experience of polyamory as a preference.