Isn’t it Queer?: Poly-Ponderings on Love, Sex and Connection in Abundance

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Hello Vibrant Souls! Today on Isn’t It Queer? I bring you thoughts, ideas, dilemmas and revelations from a queer, polyamorous, purveyor of love, sex, and connection, Dia Davina. To preface our plunge into that sparkling can of omni-sexual worms, watch this incredible spoken-word piece/delicious real talk, from Dia Davina about the challenges and rewards of poly-life:

 The Polyamorous Mating Habits of the North American Red Squirrel

Dia Davina’s piece rocks my fucking rainbow socks, not to mention, they are so attractive, charming and articulate, it nearly blinded me. Hey Dia, I know three lovers is already a lot, but hit me up. Their piece illuminates the unique challenges that poly people take on when choosing to live an alternative lifestyle: the social pressure and frequent questioning from outside parties, the lack of support from family, the lack of good poly role models to learn from, the daily face to face battle with jealousy or possessiveness and the negative impact those emotions can have on relationships. Davina’s piece gives poly folks the gift of not romanticizing or glorifying poly relationships. Speaking anecdotally, there is a tendency in groups that live alternative lifestyles to feel pressure to depict their community as having chosen the ideal, revelatory, revolutionary, and flawless life style choice and the one with the most benefits, rather than just a life choice. When the reality is, people with multiple lovers, partners or spouses, also come with childhood trauma. They are also prone to feeling jealous, not feeling worthy, struggling to keep promises, and a whole assortment of other very human behaviors. Because -crazy concept- poly people are human, as fickle, inspiring, and full of potential, as is implied.

Davina’s piece, boldly and honestly, shows the challenges that poly lovers face, touching on everything from having to remember the precious details of each interaction with each of your lovers -citing emotionally fatal text message errors- to the revelation that having a plethora of partners, does not numb the very real pain of heart break, no matter how much incredible support our abundant community lends us. My favorite point Davina makes, remarks on the dilemma that poly life and successfully navigating multiple love relationships has no formula or road map. Making it perhaps one of the scariest life style choices in love, sex and connection. A majority of poly folks do not have parents in the lifestyle to model their practices on, and in all reality, a large number are attempting this lifestyle in order to escape some of the emotional stagnation they saw in previous generation’s monogamous tendencies. Making our “best practice” a brand new uncharted territory, that is frequently debated. “How do I tell my partner I need to spend time with my other partner in their time of need?”, ” How do I explain that I am not interested in the same sexual practices with one partner as I am the other?”, “How do I ask my partner to take responsibility for their jealousy?” “How are all of my partners having their period on the same day?”, “How do I process feelings of jealousy around my partner’s new partner?” Also, most prevalently, “what the holy fuck am I doing?”

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Being brave enough to take on your jealousy and apprehension in order to obtain abundance, is stressful. It is hard to take on a lifestyle that is stigmatized by the predominant culture, and equally exhausting being called “greedy” or “damaged” and having your relationship choices be repeatedly invalidated. It is refreshing to hear a piece that does not spend it’s time justifying our lifestyle to monogamous individuals (which is necessary at times) but instead validates the experience and struggles of those seeking their abundance despite great struggle. The piece is cathartic to listen to, hysterically funny, and as a political piece of art, it does justice to the poly-lifestyle, by portraying poly individuals as the diverse, emotionally complex, humans that we are.

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

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Cory is a poet and novelist in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and they aim to lead by example by bravely living an examined lifestyle.

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.”

Audre Lord

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**ATTENTION ALL RED SQUIRRELS** COM|PASSionate REVOLT will be at the Contemporary Relationships Conference in Austin, TX on May 15 + 16, 2015 doing a workshop on Queering Consent: Navigating Consent Outside of the Hetero AND Homo Normative.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

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MHM Ep 8: Femme-inist Masculinity

Good Morning REVOLUTIONARIES!

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You may have been wondering where we skipped off to last week. We were enjoying ourselves at UC Riverside’s Trans* Asterisk Conference and, in truth, didn’t quite recover in time to sing it’s praises last Monday morning during the Mash-Up! Nevertheless, we couldn’t let such an amazing weekend go unsung!

Today’s intersection is FEMME-INIST MASCULINITY! You might think that sounds like a contradiction, and while it might be rare, we assure you it exists. We saw it, felt it and engaged in it at the conference last weekend and it was utterly magical. A unicorn glittered demonstration of community building, space making and dialogue.

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We got to spend some time with old friends, had serendipitous run-ins with folks swirling in nearby communities and gathered more new crushes than we can count! So many amazing hearts and spirits and utterly fabulous accessories! We were absolutely impressed by the warm and efficient organizing and honored and flattered to be among the ranks of the other speakers. Our only regret to participating was that presenting kept us from attending other workshops! However, with all of these other wonderful pieces what will shine the brightest in our  memories was our spontaneous extended workshop turned community summit!

We were so excited to run Taming the Hulk: Temperance for the Transmasculine Journey and will likely post some of the activities at some point. As we got going on planning and prepping we quickly realized that time was short and our activity list grew/shrunk as we discussed and organized. We did the math and figured, maybe 30 folks at the most? We spent some time thinking, okay, if 10 folks show up for this gig can we still do our activities? Would the processing exercises resonate for folks that were unfamiliar with gender deconstruction? Were we offering real tips for temperance or were we just echoing the narrative that finding and remaining consistent with our own versions of masculinity was an uphill unsupported cultural battle?

Needless to say, we were pretty blown away when we returned to our room to find that there were already about 40 participants waiting for us and participants continued to roll in for the next 10 minutes until we were up to probably around 60-70! As these things go, we scuttled about, took a breath, re-routed where we could and then just surrendered to being around and in such amazing community. We tried to sink into the fact that in a lot of ways this gathering in itself was a movement towards transmasculine temperance- that folks were seeking out space to come together to find balance in this journey often wrought with extreme ups and downs.

The participation and experiences that got shared in our workshop were already more than we could have hoped for but as we took final comments we were again pleasantly surprised. Folks voiced that there wasn’t as much deconstruction as hoped and that they wanted to know if there was more space to keep the conversation going. Participants went to speak to the conference organizers, found us an empty room during the final workshop slot and spread the word. As we rolled into Taming the Hulk Part Deux, we were again floored as a good 30-40 magnificent humans came in to discuss and deconstruct the narratives of masculinity that support us and constrain us. With very little facilitation the group made space for each other’s voices, witnessed and validated each other’s stories and generally commiserated and problem solved around the hulking presence of masculinity in all of our lives and gendered journeys.

It brought me an intense feeling of Kim Katrina Crosby’s prezi on Femme Science and Community Based Research in action. I implore you take a look at it, take it in and add Laura Mvula‘s That’s Alright to your conquer the day playlists! As a community we took on the community agreements that Crosby discussed:

Community Agreements

Express care, concern and consideration to yourself & others.
Speak for yourself.
Protect each other & yourself.
Examine your prejudice.
Share your needs and give ample space for others to do the same.
Treat others the way that they want to be treated. Ask.

Another’s experience does not invalidate your own,

but it should and necessarily does complicate your own.

We were so thoroughly grateful for the heart opening and intuition practice that we experienced at the conference, that drew folks to our workshop and that left space for folks to take and create what they needed. A lot of the discussion surrounded the struggle of binary systems, the way that accessing masculinity sometimes felt mutually exclusive from feminine energy/nurturing/space and the loss of one identity/community as another solidified. Folks voiced the desire to be conscious of the unique nature of this journey into privileged space and were desperately seeking ways to honor it as they also took on masculinity in ways that felt holding to them.

It felt like we not only started to “Tame the Hulk” but that we started to build a framework for “Femme-inist Masculinity.”

Even with our extended time together, we know that we’ve just barely scratched the surface. We’re figuring out what would feel like the best ways for us to continue the conversation and we’ll leave more information here as it comes. If you would like to be a part of this continued conversation please shoot us an email to compassionaterevolt@gmail.com.

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci

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Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.