Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vote With Your Money, Honey

So, most monday nights I go to a local gay night club for their weekly Ru Paul's Drag Race viewing party. These viewing parties and the show itself are sponsored by Absolut Vodka, we watch the show with all of the commercials cut except for the ones advertising Absolut, and the drag queen who hosts the viewing party is constantly telling us to drink some Absolut. They even give away a bottle of Absolut each night.

One would think that Absolut, or any other company that advertises on LGBT oriented television is gay friendly, right? But are they? Do they love the gays, or our wallets?

This is not a discussion that hasn't been had before, this idea of whether my generation is the gay movement, or the gay market. We talked about it when Absolut (yes, the same vodka) came out with a special edition pride bottle that was decorated with a rainbow. We've discussed it when it comes to Coors supporting ANYTHING gay.

Most people think that Coors is apologizing for being anti-gay back around stonewall. Back then, we really were a movement, and we boycotted Coors for their anti-gay policies. And they listened. That, is voting with your dollar.

However, somewhere between boycotting Coors and now, we went from boycotting anti-gay companies to supporting gay friendly looking companies. This comes from a good place, that is, supporting LGBTQ and ally owned businesses. But, the companies caught on and, though they may have anti-LGBT policies, advertise during shows geared to LGBT individuals or on LGBT channels (like LOGO and Bravo). Because many individuals are too busy or lazy to do any research on the actual policies the company operates under, we just assume that these companies are LGBTQ friendly.

It used to be mostly alcohol companies that used this marketing plan, but now it's everyone from travel companies to electronics stores. This is not to say that all of these companies have anti-LGBTQ policies, although some do *ahem... Best Buy and Target...* but think about this for a second, we as a market have a lot of power. We as a movement have a lot to achieve.

Why the fuck are we not doing our research? We could, with just our choices of where to shop and what to buy, create some serious change. It's not the only thing we as a movement need to be doing, but it helps, because every small step helps.

Be a movement, not a market. Support companies that actually support LGBTQ rights. Don't support those who don't. See what happens, it might just change some things.

Remember, we are powerful.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

'Aint gonna tie me down: Thoughts on Polyamory and Non-monagamy

Polyamory: the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Non-monogamy: a blanket term which covers several types of interpersonal relationships in which an individual forms multiple and simultaneous sexual and/or romantic bonds.

Thank you, Wikipedia, for the definitions. Note, that this has nothing to do with The Mormon church.

These alternative relationship models have been on my mind lately. I've never been in a polyamorous relationship, but I have tried an open relationship. That didn't work, but that had to do with other issues within the relationship to start with. So, I'm curious.

I have some friends who are poly and it works really well for them. I also have monogamous friends and that works for them too. I don't know what works for me yet.

A good friend described her form of polyamory to me as a way to meet all of her needs without putting unreasonable expectations on one person. So she can be in romantically attracted to one person, sexually attracted to another, or many others, and have a make-out buddy and a cuddle buddy, etc. Each of us has a unique set of needs, and in this situation one person is not expected to fulfill them all.

This piece, I think is brilliant. I've had so many relationships fail because my partner was not meeting all of my needs, or I was not meeting theirs. Or we had different expectations for the relationship. I know I'm not the only one who has had these problems. Problems that can't always be solved by more effective communication.

However, I also think, that polyamorous relationships could get very complicated. People get jealous, they get angry, and things are miscommunicated. Maybe the initial rules of the relationship were not exactly what one person had in mind, or the communication piece got totally screwed up. Hearts got broken, relationships ended.

But, this is something that happens in monogamous relationships, right? Maybe, because the rules and expectations necessarily need to be negotiated in the beginning of the relationship, this could foster better communication within the relationship. If all parties involved are good at that sort of thing.

I don't have any answers about how poly and non-monogamous relationships work, or if they do. It's different for everyone, because everything is different for everyone. And that's beautiful, it would be boring if everything were as black and white as a "one-size-fits-all" relationship model, or way of living.

Anyways, I think that everyone operates differently and some of us haven't figured out how we operate yet. That's ok too. When I figure out how I operate, I'll let you know, but right now I think I might experiment. That's what these years are for, figuring out who we are.

Identity is constantly changing, and the road to figuring out who you are is an adventure. Sometimes you have to take risks. This is how we grow, by challenging the norm and experimenting with the unknown. If we stop growing, we die. I'm not ready to stop growing, are you?