The Politics and Practicalities of Coming Out Poly

Carol Morotti-Meeker, MS, MLSP, James Fleckenstein #cconpoly CatalystCon East - March 15, 2014

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  1. Research has consistently demonstrated the value of coming out in terms of improved physical and emotional health for sexual minorities. Outness has also been shown to be a potent force for reducing prejudice and discrimination. However, in a recent large scale survey, individuals in non-exclusive relationships reported experiencing high levels of discrimination; higher even than that reported by African-Americans in the U.S. Can more people coming out as non-exclusive help change public perception and reduce discrimination? Or will a higher public visibility of persons in open relationships simply fuel an even greater backlash and more discrimination?

    Is there a personal price to pay for staying closeted? How does that price compare to the risks of coming out to friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, and persons in positions of authority? What factors should we consider when thinking about this important decision?

    In this session we will explore the personal and political implications of coming out as polyamorous or non-exclusive/open and then cover some of the practical aspects of how/when to do it. We will explore our own experiences with speaking to people who don’t practice this loving style and discover what considerations impact our sharing with people who matter to us. We’ll talk about the conditions that are favorable for sharing, and examine our motivations for doing so. Finally, we’ll “talk through” some best practices for coming out.