This is going to be a little bit of a long read. But I promise to address all aspects of Polyamory and its engagement with LGBTQ. So take a deep breath and read through the facts, because this is important. Polyamory in India has always been seen as sinful or “things that kings and queens” would do. And it’s high time, we rethink what we believe in.
What is and isn’t Polyamory?
Time to clear the confusion before we can roughly establish a non-assumptive idea. Polyamory is not polygamy, polyandry, or an open relationship. It is not cheating or a fling. Furthermore, it is definitely not swinging. Click on the words for the definitions. And let us now focus on Polyamory.
Polyamory literally means multiple loves. A polyamorous person can feel equal amounts of love towards multiple people at the same time. The individual has multiple partners and all the partners are aware of each other. A major component of this setup is consent, openness, and communication among all the partners. And there may or may not be a form of hierarchy involved among the partners. The people involved can be married or unmarried.
It is not all about sex, sometimes, there is absolutely no sex involved. The multiple relationships with the numerous partners can be different from each other. And no matter what gender, partners treat each other with equal respect.
Voices From the Concerned
Times of India discussed the issues that arise in non-monogamy with founders and members of Polyamorous groups on Facebook. One of whom was Aparna Duria, the founder of Egalitarian Non-Monogamy. The article said that “Dauria feels hyper-sexualising polyamory is a way of saying these relationships can’t be about love”. She said that “It promotes the idea that a non-monogamous person is greedy and lacks values,”.
Rishika, the founder of Bangalore Polycules sums up non-monogamy in a single line.
In fact, poly people love commitment so much that they commit to multiple people
Polyamory is not the easy way out
If you’re thinking along the lines of escaping a bad marriage or a failure of a relationship through this, you should take a few steps back. It is not easy to be non-monogamous. This does not mean that there is no worrying about emotions. You have to understand that each relationship brings to the table its own set of satisfying results. A lot of introspection and awareness of oneself is important to maintain a system of relationships like this. Similar to a monogamous relationship, partners sometimes feel uncomfortable to extend the partnership to those close to them. The boundaries of the partners have to be respected.
There are a few elements that repeated across most articles. Jealousy and secrecy are two important ones. As mentioned earlier, jealousy does arise. It is a basic human tendency to compete for love and attention. Open communication is the key to solve this.
Which is why secrecy is frowned upon among the polyamourous, according to Rohit Juneja, in an article by the Scroll. Juneja is a polyamorous individual, who is a therapist and a coach.
The third element is privacy, as mentioned, there are a few boundaries that help increase comfort between partners. There are ways to go around it and barter a deal. This is the right time to point out that no partners are committed to each other
Does Polyamory mean no family?
Many partners live and raise families together. The cohabitation of multiple partners is common. Even though there are chances of jealousy and possessiveness, a partner is usually happy for their partner when someone new enters their life.
In terms of raising children, the parent(s) receive more support from all partners. Although facing stigma, helping kids understand it, and working with the stereotypes does make it harder.
Where can I learn about Polyamory?
There are several groups on Facebook that can help you understand better. Having open conversations where you can ask questions with an open mind will help you accept and find out if this is for you and something that you would like for yourself. Remember, Polyamory is not easy and not everybody’s cup of tea. It requires dedication, time, and honesty from you. You should be able to converse and tell your partners what you need. Polymorphously Perverse, Bangalore Polycules and Egalitarian Non-Monogamy are among the few groups you can join.
Is this new for LGBTQ+?
All of the things said above apply to LGBTQ+ as well. Whatever your gender and orientation, you can still build a polyamorous relationship. LGBTQ+ has a long history of being polyamorous. According to Pink News,
A 2006 study showed that 28 percent of lesbians, a third of bisexuals, and almost two-thirds of gay men are open to non-monogamous relationships.” So dear Rainbow Tribe, don’t shy away from your needs.
To conclude, polyamory is as much as a choice as monogamy. And they both deserve equal respect. There is nothing unethical about being able to love and build a bond with multiple partners, sexually or otherwise. Platonic love can transcend sex. The main focus, however, should be on consent. Judgemental perspectives are a definite passe at this point.