The Poly Closet
I never expected myself to be “in the closet” again. I came out as gay with my first marriage when I was 23. I had grown up with gay uncles and was immersed in gay culture in the ’80s and ’90s. The timing of the world and in my family made this an easy transition. The groundwork had already been done for me. By this time I had already had several gay and mixed gender poly relationships and was surrounded by queer friends of all kinds. The world of writing, art and music that was my life enabled this easily.
Now thirteen years later, I feel like I am in the same situation I was as a teenager. It’s the feeling that you are different than most of those around you: morally wrong. I grew up before Will & Grace, in a world where homosexuality was either right or wrong depending on who you spoke to. I suppose that is still the case; however, today gay relationships are both recognized and protected by the law. It makes me happy that one of my relationships is protected. But what about Charles?
Charles does not live in a closet. He is fully out to all his family and friends, seemingly without apology. Edward and I on the other hand are still negotiating the coming out process with the people in our lives. Edward and I are out as poly to our close friends and my siblings. Currently our parents know that Charles is moving in. It seemed to make sense to them that a friend was moving in to share expenses while I returned to school. It seemed to make the most sense to me to approach the subject in this manner. Unlike the Triad in Polyamory: Married and Dating Season 1, we entered into this arrangement as a Triad. Our love and attraction is sure to grow with living together, but that is not the root.
I try to live my life honestly. The honesty is wholly and selfishly for myself for the following reasons:
- How can anyone actually know me without knowing who I am? (Of course the depth of which is regulated by my relationship with that individual).
- I do not do anything I find morally reprehensible.
- I try to live as an example, even when I’m not the best example.
- I am who I am, not what I am. (i.e. not just gay/poly/male/writer/atheist/Canadian)
- No one really cares what you do, as long as it does not interfere with their lives. (This does not include the perceived involvement some religious zealots have, wherein everyone else’s business is their’s by divine right.)
For me there is no real reason to live in any closet. I am currently living more than an 8 hour drive from my parents, which keeps me from having any sort of conversation about Charles at this point. I would rather they meet him, instead of judging the idea of him first.
On the other hand, Edward’s family is frighteningly religious. They have great difficulty dealing with his relationship with me, and I can only imagine than upping the “gay ante” may turn out disastrous. The choice whether to proceed or not is, of course, Edward’s. I also fear that in their own religious framework, they would see us as turning to a religion (Mormon, Muslim) that included a form of polyamory. While this is of course not the case for us, the scope at which the individuals I speak endeavour to comprehend the world at large is myopic at best.