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The Varsity

The University of Toronto's
Student Newspaper Since 1880

Schools shouldn’t be promoting polyamory

By Carter West
Published: 5:50 pm, 21 October 2012
Modified: 8 pm, 21 October 2012
Vol CXXXIII, No. 07 under
UPDATED

Last month, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) began hanging posters for their “safe and positive spaces” campaign. The content of these advertisements for equity were washroom stick figures in love. Entitled “Love has no gender,” the poster sports the rainbow of possible couplings: male stick figures with female stick figures, male sticks with male sticks, female sticks with female sticks. Two couplings are triplets of bathroom signifiers: one female figure with two male figures and two male figures with one female.

The posters have drawn the ire of angry parents and organizations who claim the posters endorse polygamy. The TDSB denies this, with spokesman Ryan Bird claiming that “all it is trying to depict is that a person can love either gender.” Though such a limited response smoothed few raised hackles, the outrage to the poster was relatively well-contained and the Board was free to focus on the impending temporary collapse of education.

Try to guess what the posters’ designers may have been getting at with the juxtaposition of love, the emphasis on gender and the double inclusion of triplets. Polygamy? Heavens no, we’ve graduated to far more sophisticated terms. Polyamory? Likely. The practice of loving a number of people at one time has been around since the Stone Age and it is an appropriately Paleolithic practice.

You don’t have to look far to find justifications from sexual diversity studies departments on the many advantages of this lifestyle. Paper needs to get inked somehow. The intellectual development that polyamory seems to represent to some theorists — a concrete emotional improvement that does away with the worst parts of that catch-all term for ignorant straight practices, “heteronormativity” — is worthy of a round dismissal.

I am a frequent user of GRIDNR, a social application designed for homosexuals that asks each client to submit a picture and some basic information. Nothing is mandatory in your profile but once created, you are sent to a mosaic of small picture boxes where you can view the profiles of other users, and they yours. A green dot will tell you if the individual is online, and an illuminated outline whether or not you’ve spoken to someone that day. You speak to these faces with bodily statistics.

The conversations go unmoderated, but you are given the option of blocking another user should a talk go south. You can send more pictures within the chat box or your location. The purpose of the application varies person to person. Its most frequent use, in practice, is finding sex, but people tend to claim they use GRINDR to make friends. While I’m sure that occurs, the ability on GRINDR to tell other people your exact place and distance from where they sit indicates that some immediacy is involved in the application’s intended function..

And it works. Every day us gays who’ve added this application to our mobile devices at U of T and around Toronto hook up with other gays. Everyone has a different way of fishing, and they change their flies depending on the catch they’re trying to attract. As with fishing in most Canadian wildlife parks, what is caught must be thrown back. My guess is that few successful relationships originate on GRINDR, and those that do must always carry the burden of telling people they met on a mobile sex site — not everyone’s dream.

The purpose of this diversion into GRINDR is to illustrate a development that appropriately reflects the truths of polyamory. It is a sex-based practice that fulfills the libido and satisfies the heart about as much as a mirage. I make no exceptions to this claim. If the polyamrous can demonstrate that they can stay with their people, raise many children, and show that this arrangement is capable of making useful contributions to society as a long-term effort, then showing the next generation TDSB’s “love has no gender” poster will be perfectly appropriate. Until then it is irresponsible for the School Board to promote a lifestyle that has its advocates in the classroom but none as living examples of the success of multi-party stable relationships.

They should give love with the heart the value of two and stay well out of the bedroom guest list.

  • E

    Wow… You clearly haven’t done much research on polyamory, as there are many people in polyamorous relationships that are not just about sex, long term, and raise healthy children.

    This is a pretty good place to start learning about actual polyamory: http://www.xeromag.com/fvpoly.html

  • http://twitter.com/ConnorAlexander Connor Alexander

    By your standards monogamy shouldn’t be on the poster either. It certainly hasn’t met your criteria for ‘successful’ relationships. My advice would be to do a little more research on polyamory. From what I’ve read here, you have a very poor grasp on it.

  • MegC

    You do realize, of course, that as long as the public discussion about polyamory looks like this — strongly stated but uninformed opinions that it can’t work and is inappropriate to even mention in front of children — it will be very hard for those who successfully live with multiple loving relationships to be comfortably out, proving they exist and aren’t a threat to the greater culture of monogamy. The “polyamorist agenda” is not coming to get your children or your partner. But don’t expect to see successful polyamorous folks begging to be scrutinized under your moral microscope. Force them to remain at the margins, and you get to claim they are a fringe subculture that threatens the core values that define society. Neat.

  • Alan M.

    Criminy, your lack of the *slightest* research about polyamory before pompously saying you know it all is embarrassingly pathetic. You come off sounding like a privileged 12-year-old who’s never seen a library or the internet. You can might here:
    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/

    …especially
    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Best

    …or for Canada only,
    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/search/label/Canada

    • Alan M.

      Oops, I meant “You might start here:”

  • J. Doe

    The Varsity published this crap? Seriously, come on. Some freshman thinks hooking up with guys on Grindr = polyamory? Jeez.

  • http://twitter.com/LScribbens Lucius Scribbens

    “If the polyamrous can demonstrate that they can stay with their people, raise many children, and show that this arrangement is capable of making useful contributions to society as a long-term effort, then showing the next generation TDSB’s “love has no gender” poster will be perfectly appropriate.”

    As opposed to supposedly monogamous relationships and marriages? Let’s face facts, 90 percent of monogamous relationships end-up in the trash, and then half of the 10 percent that make it to marriage end-up getting divorced.

    Your argument is invalid.

  • AJ

    Obviously, polyamorous people only are in it for sex and sexual perversion.

    You know, the same claim made by the bigoted & homophobic… about gays.

    It seems a certain author might want to do a close check of his own attitudes and prejudices.

    How disappointing. Will he next he will be telling us that there are no bisexuals – they are just “undecided” and “fence sitters”? Time will tell.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ivolution Ivo Beitsma

      Snarky!

      Let’s give him a chance, time will tell that this is sometimes how people find out about what polyamory really is, and become allies armed with a university newspaper.

  • Honestly Open

    Yeah, loads of polyamorous people in long term, loving relationships out there. Heck, loads of poly people in long term relationships with children. And most of us don’t think there is anything wrong with monogamy -it is fine as long as you aren’t prescribing it for everyone. If you want to write about polyamory you should probably read about it first. I don’t want to be rude, but the lack of any kind of meaningful research into polyamory is painful to read and damaging to the community.

  • Hardy Weinberg

    So the author saw this TDSB advert and assumed it was about polyamory. Was this TDSBs intentions? Perhaps, or perhaps not. The primary audience is children and many who come from diverse households. With two or one or multiple parents of same or different genders. Perhaps the group of three meant 2 parents and a child. or perhaps the group of 3 represented 3 adults in a loving home. Did carter never watch sitcom Full House? Where 3 men were the guardians of 3 daughters of one man (the other two men were the uncle and best friend).
    Instead of jumping to conclusions that love is just abotu sex, perhaps carter can think of this advert as something to make children who come from diverse households feel normal at school. As opposed to the outcast with two moms or 3 dads.

  • A.A.

    Good job on publishing this Varsity ! And I’m not being sarcastic ~ people are actually having discussions about it, and I think ultimately, that’s more important. Although seriously, the flow in this article, realllllllllly bad. Just saying.

  • Emily H.

    This is ridiculous. I wouldn’t for a second look at that poster and think that it was supporting polyamory. I would assume (as it sounds like the board claimed) that it was trying to say that some people are interested in both sexes, ie. Male stick figure + female stick figure = straight couple, male stick figure + male stick figure = gay couple, two male stick figures + female stick figure = bi-male with a straight female. Though even if the poster were trying to support polyamory, I wouldn’t see what’s so offensive about it. If schools are expected to support gay or bi students, why not those in polyamourous relationships? I think we either need to agree that schools support all consensual relationships, or none of them. Otherwise it’s getting too much like the debate as to whether schools should allowed gay/straight alliances.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.allen.52 Dave Allen

    This is a horridly offensive article that flaps in the face of all that is commonly known and practiced about polyamory. Reducing it to sex shows a complete disregard for the tenets of what those who identify as poly believe in and stinks of ignorance on your part.

    Nobody has to prove a damn thing to you about stable poly relationships are, I think it’s also fair to note.

  • http://twitter.com/gingeredawn redawn

    i am a happily married woman…my husband and i would love to have a polyamorous relationship but we have not met our wife…let us be clear she would not be for my husband (if she is willing, i can share) and i would consider the bond as sacred as i do my 25+ yr marriage.

  • robert919

    What a horrible piece of trash this article is. You know 0% about polyamory yet decide you are an expert whose opinion should shape policy. Educate yourself some before you spew a bunch of hateful uninformed drivel.
    You talk poorly about polyamorists yet admit you’re a frequent user of a gay sex app. Talk about a huge hypocrite!

  • A.T

    The fact that a gay male is writing about how polyamory is just about the sex, is extremely insulting. You, who at one point had to prove why your relationship was valid in Canada, who had to prove why you belonged along side the straight couples, is telling me that I now have to do it too? I have to prove to you that my relationships are just as real as my monogamous friends? How does that even make sense in your small minded head? And Why is it I have to have children to prove to you that I can have a happy healthy normal home? Children do not equal love and commitment. I am just as committed to my husband as I am my boyfriend as he is to his wife, ect. M

    Maybe you should take Alan M’s advise and do some research before casting judgement on something you clearly know nothing about.

  • B. Garcia

    Your ignorance is astounding, and your research is non-existent. If your main experiences with dating consist of Grindr, I can see why you’re so bitter. You should be ashamed that your name is attached to this article.

  • AGiganticPanda

    You’re confusing an open relationship/marriage with polyamory. In a time where we’re still fighting for gay rights and you make comments about how polyamorous couples need to prove that they can stay together, raise children and make useful contributions. Change the word polyamory with homosexual and you sound like people in the ’70s. Your lack of research into the subject is obvious and your hypocritical viewpoint is worthy of the same people who would limit your own rights as a gay man.

  • jess

    Wow, so sex negative. I know lots of my Gay male friends who use that site for sex, friendship, andor love. It’s a great sense of gay camaraderie when you’re traveling and visiting small towns. Ha’ve you forgotten the the origins of the queer movement? Shaming people has never been a part of it.

  • Jim

    I have a long standing committed relationship with two partners. We live under the same roof. Our son is about to turn 2 years old. Our friends (one woman, two men) are in a similar relationship. They have two children. Plenty more evidence out there.

  • http://twitter.com/Tobitastic Tobi Hill-Meyer

    I grew up being raised by two moms and constantly hearing the messages about the ‘gay lifestyle’ being incompatible with children. Bigots would rant about the promiscuity of gays and lesbians, their relationships never last, it’s impossible for them to raise children, and they all die early from AIDS, drugs, and too much meaningless sex. I was confused and would look at my own family contradicting everything they said, but I could never seem to convince them that my family existed.

    This is deja vu. Now I have my own poly family and we’ve solidly been together for 14 and for 7 years. One of my partners was raised by poly parents. Yet once again I have to deal with ignorant people claiming that my family doesn’t exist and anyone like us must be sex-crazed and incapable of healthy lasting relationships. The fact it’s coming from someone who is gay and likely has been exposed to this same style of bigotry is additionally upsetting.

    What level of “proof” do you require? Is our existence not enough? Are your false assumption the only things you will trust? Do you realize there are still those demanding “proof” that gay, lesbian, and bisexual folks can have meaningful relationships? They will likely never be satisfied. It seems you may be headed on the same path.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ivolution Ivo Beitsma

    Carter West, you have absolutely no clue what polyamory is.

    Do your homework before further oppressing an already oppressed minority with your public rants in a university paper, which will doubtlessly be used by many more people to validate their similarly oppressive viewpoint. Be part of the solution, dude, come on.

    Someone must have told you that polyamory is a euphemism for being a player. Expressly wrong. Wiki polyamory, find out about the successful poly relationships that have lasted decades or lifetimes; the legitimate studies being done that show how well adapted children of poly parents are (yup, healthy families, whoda thunk); and above all its real meaning from people who identify as poly. Then please write another article, explain what you found out and how interesting it is, (apologize if you feel compelled,) and give us a hand up! We’re all in this together.

  • Cam H

    This article makes no sense. I get this is the Varsity, but presumably student journalists are subject to the oversight of student editors to some extent. Unless the author simply wanted to find a way to promote the use of GRINDR on campus.

    If you follow the argument:

    1) some people have criticized the TDSB’s supposed support for polygamy/polyamory
    2) gender studies types (academics spilling ink) are apologists for polygamy because they want to break down heteronormativity
    3) this is worthy of a “round dismissal”
    4) long digression into the author’s use of his phone to facilitate anonymous sex on campus
    5) um, GRINDR illustrates that sex and love are two different things? like polyamory, somehow. (except GRINDR, as the author acknowledges, is unambiguously sexual.)
    6) “They should give love with the heart the value of two and stay well out of the bedroom guest list.”

    Truly bizarre.

  • soldia

    If your only experience with poloyamory has to do within the confines of GRINDR, then no wonder you opened your mouth and spoke without thought. How’s this for demonstration? Celebrating my 22nd anniversary with my husband and my wife and going to visit one of my 6 kids in college this weekend. What’s that? Not long-term enough for you? What’s that? Surprised that families like mine, which are about family and not about casual sex, must remain in the closet due to bigotry and hatred from people like you?

    • soldia

      Oh and we’re atheists with graduate degrees, so please don’t use the “ignorant religious freaks” argument either. Thanks.

  • GregN

    I guess my long-term relationship/s and the relationships of about a dozen others that I know aren’t real? I don’t know if you have it in for swingers (which might be too harsh even), those of us who are polyamorous, or are conflating the two. Sorry to tell you, but my heart has been made very full by the love of those I love and whom I love. There’s nothing wrong with the school board recognizing, even in this minor way, that, for some, love, relationships, and long-term commitments are made stronger in different ways… one of those being polyamory.

  • Jim

    “Paper needs to get inked somehow.” I think that sums up this entire article nicely.

  • Anonymous

    By that logic, schools shouldn’t promote Mitt Romney either… http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/23/gop-activist-charged-with-sexual-abuse-commits-suicide/

  • DF

    I’m going to throw in with everyone else here and say that this is terrible. I’m a straight guy in a polyamorous quad with another straight guy and two bisexual women. Yes, we have sexy group sex, but that’s hardly the point. Will there be children? Will we stay together forever? That’s not the point either, and doesn’t diminish the value of the relationship in our lives if it doesn’t. They’re lovely people and I’m glad to be involved with them for whatever amount of time I get to be. Do your research, twat.

  • Alan M.

    Oh, and another thing. He asks whether polyfamilies are raising kids. Here are several dozen news articles, TV broadcasts, websites, discussion groups and resources about poly parenting. Good reading:

    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/search/label/kids

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=635313016 Cathie Renner

    As a parent who has actually seen the poster – polyamory was the last thing I thought of. And I haven’t heard about any parent who is particularly upset about the content of the posters. That some in the conservative, religious right is upset, I think is to be expected and is just something they were bound to start whining about. The largest complaint I’ve heard of is that the kids don’t fully understand why there needs to be a safe space. Feeling that if ‘they’ get one, why can’t we have one, but it is my understanding that this is a small minority. On the whole it seems that kids are receptive of the idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=635313016 Cathie Renner
  • Emma

    Carter, could you be more specific about what kind of evidence you are looking for? Your statement “I make no exceptions to this claim” would seem to indicate that you will not permit the possibility of even one stable, long-term, loving multi-partnered household with children who are making positive contributions to society. Does this mean that if you are shown one example of such a household, you will retract your statement? And what would such a family need to look like to you? How long is “long-term”? Ten years? Twenty? Thirty? Until death? How many children is “many” (and why is “many” children better evidence than one or two well-adjusted children)? What level of “positive contributions” are you looking for? Is being a stable, taxpaying member of the middle class enough, or are you looking for exceptional levels of volunteerism and community service, for example?

    I ask all of these questions because if we better understood your criteria, we could certainly find you a family that fit the bill.

    On the other hand, do you require multiple examples? If so, how many? And if you seek many examples, again, can you specify your criteria? For example, if you are provided with evidence of ten groups of three or more in which each relationship has endured for five years or more, is that enough? Of is ten years your cutoff? Do you need twenty examples? A hundred? Thousands? And how do you recommend that these people come forward, when they know they will be faced with uninformed judgement and hatred such as what you’ve demonstrated?

    If you are looking for a place to start, you could look at the five families who were part of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association’s (CPAA’s) intervention in the recent polygamy case. All of their court documents, including affidavits from the families, are available here: http://bit.ly/TUDJxr

    For more expansive numbers, you could refer to the data from the CPAA’s (small) survey of polyamorous households in Canada: http://bit.ly/PQLSXW

    Also, I am curious about your dismissive tone of the research going on into polyamory. Much of that research shows what you are asking for above: that polyamorous families are capable of sustaining long-term bonds, raising children and making contributions to society. Why do you feel the evidence from this research is worth dismissing out-of-hand, and what would evidence need to look like for you to accept it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ivolution Ivo Beitsma

    Carter, you’re probably reading each one of these comments and cringing a little.

    Before you take anything too personally, what you’re seeing is a small slice of the polyamorous community taking out years of repressed anger on your article, because it symbolizes our worst fears: that other people don’t understand polyamory, that they’re misrepresenting it publicly and among each other, that they confuse it with polygamy and/or are happy to moralize and slut-shame us because of their misunderstandings.

    About 2% of the population is polyamorous, according to some reasonable estimates (1.5 – 4%, but nobody knows for sure). We look forward to the Varsity’s article on the 1,800 polyamorous people hiding on your campus, their lifestyle, their loves, their fears of being alone, being found out and shamed. Maybe it’s time for U of T’s own poly club, like the one at UVIC. A sense of community gives poly people pride.

    This is a great discussion to have. I hope the Varsity takes the opportunity to elevate it beyond confrontation to illumination.

  • Renaldo

    should, should, should.
    shouldn’t, shouldn’t, shouldn’t.

    that’s all i’m hearing form you about what other people do. how is it your uninformed moral compass has sooo much to say about what other people willingly and wholeheartedly do?

    if YOU don’t want to enter into the vulnerable place where your lover has other lovers and you talk about it, and are accountable for what you do and say, and your lovers are all open and frank in your discussion, where you talk frankly about condoms and risk, and make sensible decisions about sex and love, and where you care for eachother and sustain a relationship in a V or W configuration, and face your fears of abandonment, and live free of crippling ideas of normalcy;
    then its really very simple, YOU need to set monogamy as YOUR groundrule, and stick with it.

    telling other people they shouldn’t do it however is merely asinine and facile.

    i accept my poly brothers and sisters, and i will continue to live the truth of what my heart wants openly.

    go hide under a rock if my relationship is hard for you to accept.

    eventually,
    you will realize that people you’ve known for years and count as quality friends have been doing this for years right under your nose, and they will become more and more open about it. get used to it kiddo.

  • http://twitter.com/suzannrobins Suzann Robins

    There are many different ways to love more than one person besides being sexually promiscuous. Explore your options before making decisions about what others choose.

  • A

    Let’s substitute a few words:
    “The purpose of this diversion into GRINDR is to illustrate a development that appropriately reflects the truths of homosexuality. It is a sex-based practice that fulfills the libido and satisfies the heart about as much as a mirage. I make no exceptions to this claim. If the homosexuals an demonstrate that they can stay with their people, raise many children, and show that this arrangement is capable of making useful contributions to society as a long-term effort, then showing the next generation TDSB’s “love has no gender” poster will be perfectly appropriate. Until then it is irresponsible for the School Board to promote a lifestyle that has its advocates in the classroom but none as living examples of the success of gay relationships.”

    Oh wait…

  • David Wheeler

    May I bring to your attention http://elisabethsheff.com/presentations-2/?

    As a poly male who only found out about polyamory in my late forties I can only tell you that I wish there was some way for people to find out more about alternative relationships and that college seems like an appropriate place for such knowledge to be conveyed.

    I can tell you that I was both filled with joy and despair when I found out about polyamory because suddenly I didn’t feel alone anymore. I felt such joy to know that was not alone. I felt such despair to know that I had only found that out so late in life.

    I hope that you will read the responses here and see in them the desire for these people in loving relationships to have those relationships treated with respect. Is there sex in these relationships? I truly hope so. Sex is a very important part of life and good sex is wonderful.

    Let me leave you with Terry’s Heart, which I mention here with permission from a book by Raven Kaldera.

    *****

    Terry’s Heart

    If you are hearing this poem spoken by any other tongue
    but mine

    I am going into the ground before your eyes.

    If you are reading these words that I have written, and
    I am not standing before you, my eyes pleading for your acceptance,

    Then I am lying before you, waiting to become one with
    the Earth.

    My spirit is long fled, or perhaps I hover over you,

    Loving, worried, hoping that my death will not be
    merely more misery

    For those who love me.

    Know that I welcome Death, that she is a kinder lover
    than her sister, Pain;

    the hungry bride who has shared my bed these many
    years.

    Her clawing fingers ate at my aching body and only
    three things held her back.

    Three hearts, three bodies, three minds that worked in
    tandem tirelessly

    To win me back from her inch by inch

    Until sweet death could take her place.

    I name them and praise them, my litany and all that is
    good in the world.

    I name you Jerry, deftest hand with needles, baker of
    weedy brownies, changer of bandages. I heard you weep as you put food through
    the blender for me, searching always for the perfect potion that would slip
    itself past my nausea.

    You delivered them to me with a flourish and a smile to
    cover your red eyes.

    Giver of hour long foot rubs, scrubber of floors, I
    know that you picked out the clothes that wrap my husk as I go down.

    I name you Reika, reader of poetry, who read me books
    until you were hoarse when my eyes went, even though you hated politics and
    romance novels which were loves of mine. Long, tall woman who cut off your hair
    in solidarity when I lost mine, your braid is wrapped around my wrist now, as you
    said it would be, and I believe you because you always kept your word. Your
    shorn locks entwined with mine will be my passport past the river of tears.

    And, finally, I name you Duncan, Great Bear of the
    Northern Sky. Strong arms that lifted me, gentle hands that cleansed me, silent
    patience that walked me down the road step by step to the bitter end. I cannot
    count the times I cried and you stood strong. I can only fear as I hover here
    above you that I could not, in my weakness, you back that comfort. May your
    strength bring me back to the Gate of Rebirth, the mother’s womb, like a memory
    of eternity.

    My beloveds, my heart is divided among you, not like a
    house divided but like a feast. Like a jug of wine or a loaf of bread, shared
    between the worthy. I will be the bond between you even as you go your ways.
    Terry’s heart is yours, as your bodies were mine, cradling me in the dark one
    by one; keeping me in light until that light faded, keeping me in warmth until
    I cooled; Keeping me in love until I believed that love could live on past
    death, keeping me anchored until I could let go.

    I praise your names, my three beacons, and let everyone
    who hears my song praise you as well, with the highest praise for your courage,
    your devotion and your eternally bright souls.

    ******

    No, Mr. West. It is not all about the sex.

  • Aaron

    What a terrible way to end an already-rambling article. The limited link you form between homosexuality and polyamory does a disservice to a group of people who have for years sought to shed a public image of rampant sex and of weak relationships.

    Grow up and realize that your pulpit carries power. It may surprise you to realize that not all homosexual males eagerly use GRINDR, nor that polyamory is the norm in your community.

    Do some research before seeking to justify your actions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/isaac.thornley Isaac Thornley

    You are very eager to dismiss the “justifications from the sexual diversity studies departments.” I don’t mean to sound condescending but it probably wouldn’t kill you to do a bit of sexual diversity studying yourself. The ways you’re talking about polyamory, defining it as solely a “sex-based practice”, characterizing it as something that “fulfils the libido” but never the heart, and expressing an anxiety about the “lifestyle” being promoted by our school boards, all draw on a similar language that has historically been and is still used in many arguments against, not just polyamorous people, but many LGBTQ people, and more specifically gay men.

    As a gay man, one who might or might not agree with polyamory as an alternative style of relationship grouping, and one who might or might not support a motion to present these types of alternatives to public school kids, I believe you owe it to yourself (and more so to the people that have earned you your rights) to not fall into the same old arguments that have assaulted movements towards LGBTQ rights for decades, if not centuries.

    I guess I take particular issue with your dismissal of the scholarship concerning polyamory in the field of sexual diversity studies. And I guess I also find it sort of surprising coming from someone who is clearly an out and shameless gay man (shameless meant in the best of senses). The point is: there are plenty of studies concerning polyamory, its pros and cons. I’m not going to go hunting for links now; it seems as though many good ones have already been posted.

    The “GRINDR illustration” was again sort of surprising for me. You have no problem publicly declaring your use of the app, while describing it as something aimed primarily at finding hook-up sex. It is somewhat implied, then, that you yourself use the app to have casual sex. Yet, you go on to talk down to people who engage in polyamorous relationships on the grounds that those relationships provide no long-term fulfilment.

    My question is: what makes you think that your own experiences with GRINDR endow you with the authority to speak on behalf of a group of people to whom you openly express a sense of contempt (i.e. polyamorus people). What makes you think it gives you any insight? I don’t care how much GRINDR sex you have, and I don’t care how unsatisfying it may have been for you, the fact is that polyamory is not the same thing as casual sex. The claim that polyamory is essentially a “sex-based” phenomena is unfounded; it rests solely on an assumption that was likely generated by being brought up in a (OH NO! HE’S GONNA USE THE WORD!!!) HETERONORMATIVE world (i.e. one that, among other things, privileges the white, middle class, heterosexual, nuclear family above any other type of familial arrangement ).

    There are many examples of long-term, healthy relationships between more than 2 people. And they do not owe you any sort of defence or proof for the legitimacy of their “lifestyle.” You must remember that YOU are the one with the concern about polyamorous people. It is not their responsibility to demonstrate that they can raise kids. They know they can. If you have the concern then it is your responsibility to attempt to show that polyamorous relationships are damaging to kids in and of themselves (or whatever else your concern may be). These days, the most damaging thing to kids growing up in a polyamorous family is certainly not parenting, but rather the attitudes held in ignorance by much of the public.

    You want to see polyamorous people “demonstrate” their abilities? Well, unfortunately that means you need to let them. That means giving them a chance first and scrutinizing over them later. And what that means is allowing the TDSB to take these minimal actions. All the school board is doing is acknowledging that some of the kids might be from an alternative background, and attempting to keep them from feeling ostracised.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ivolution Ivo Beitsma

      Nice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/umair.abdul.56 Umair Abdul

    That’s enough, Carter West.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ivolution Ivo Beitsma

    So… any plans for a follow-up article?

    • http://www.facebook.com/ivolution Ivo Beitsma

      After all, this is the Varsity’s most commented article in at least 12 months (I didn’t go back further than Sept 2011). There must be some public interest in setting the record straight.

      Who knows? You could find yourself on the right side of social / diversity / human rights and help the next great cause in the extended LGBTQ+++ acronym. Yes, polyamory is in there.

  • Molly

    How did this embarrassing article get past the editor?