On 15 November 2017, I went to the monthly event of Polyamory Meet-Up in Düsseldorf at a cosy bar and restaurant called Butze. Too early for the meeting, I ordered a cup of hot ginger tea and sit down on my own and studied about Jewish Holocaust. Around 7 p.m, the organiser of the event, Steffen, arrived and Tada! An interesting conversation started!
According to Steffen, it was not until two years ago that he eventually came out as a poly person. Until then, Steffen has been questioning the heterosexual monogamous system in the present society. Steffen believes that there are many people who know that monogamous lifestyle is not really their thing but due to the social/religious pressure, they oppress their desire and stick to the so-called “normal” lifestyle. Besides performing his role as a university student and also a freelancer of design and website developer, Steffen is always aware of his role as a caring partner for his two lovers. Here, according to him, time management can be a hard task in order to achieve a diverse and fulfilling lifestyle.
Besides interacting with the poly people in Düsseldorf, Steffen sometimes meets up with the poly community in Essen, Cologne, Aachen in order to exchange ideas and voices. There also have been a few times that Steffen received some requests from TV workers or journalists for interviewing him and the event. However, if the filming was for commercial use, which might then subverts the meaning of polyamorous community, Steffen would refuse the request. In Steffen’s own word, “this is one of the ways to protect my community.”
During the meeting, we discussed the problem with the definitions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Asexual, Pansexual, and Polyamory. One of the members claimed that those labels are confusing and she suggested to use the term SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Acceptance). Indeed, the using of “+” behind the LGBTIQ comes to enforce hierarchy, as those who represent in the “+” category, serve as invisible and oppressed beings. Thus, the redefinition of LGBTAQ+ is necessary in order to construct a more fluid and equal state of human sexualities.
The problem of jealousy has always been an issue when it comes to relationships. During the meeting, I asked about the way to cope with jealousy and here are some answers:
Steven: “Well, first of all, I am not a jealous person so I don’t feel much suffer from it. I think when you feel jealous it means you should tell your partner and have a conversation about your feeling and such. This is the way to understand yourself and also let your partner to understand you more. Everyone has to find his/her own way to deal with jealousy because the point that makes everyone feel jealous is different. For me, my partner was jealous when I kissed my another partner in front of her.”
Lay: “Haha, I am the opposite. I am fine with everything as long as I am not excluded. For me, being excluded is the worse feeling because I have an extraordinary imagination. So that’s my jealousy.”
M: “Jealousy is derived from the feeling that you’re leaving behind. That’s because you don’t believe in yourself and you don’t believe that you’re lovable. So it represents your low self-esteem.”
Next, we talked about the issue regarding equality in relationships. In the meeting, I asked, “do you think equality is important in relationships and do you think you can treat both of your partners equally?”
Steffen: “Well, I think equality is definitely important in any relationship. Inequality is a very harmful element for polyamorous relationships, as arguments and fights would occur if this happened. For me, I try to spend the same amount of time with both my primary and my secondary partner – I try to approach equality. The very important point here is to make them feel equal even though the real situation is not equal.”
M: “Well, I don’t think I can treat everyone equally because I see everyone as an unique and different individual and because everyone is different, I treat everyone differently. Loving two or more people is like collecting puzzle pieces and in the end it will be a beautiful picture, as I imagine.”
Lay: “Yes, I agree. To continue your point, there is no way that one person can fulfil all desires and needs of yourself. This is why you choose to be poly – to complete your relationship puzzle.”
Since it is related let’s talk about equality within the LGBTQ+ communities. Through reading some article, I found out that there are some inequality or discrimination going on between the LGBTQ+ communities. Is this true?
Steven: “Yes, it’s. I have experienced a few times being discriminated by the Gay and Lesbian communities. I feels excluded. But what I find very funny is that most of the poly people are not heterosexual. However, they don’t want to entangled with poly groups.”
M: “I think the fear of invisibility is the main reason. As we know, throughout history gay and lesbian have been fought for visibility in order to gain their power and status. The mixing of polyamorous community into them will affect their visibility, making their privilege status invisible.”
Steven: “Speaking about visibility, it is very often that poly people who want to attend the poly meeting but they choose not to click on “going” on the Facebook event page because the afraid that others would find out about their polyamorous behavior.”
Lay: “From this, we can understand that polyamory is still under discrimination (also I think many people have false conception toward polyamory – they think polyamory is only about sex, which is a big WRONG). However, no one should be discriminated due to their lifestyle. Life is short, we should not waste our time in judging other people’s diverse lifestyles!”
At last, when I asked about the vision and mission that Steffen has toward his poly community, he mentioned two things. First, he wishes to raise the poly movement in Germany. Second, he wants to gather voices of poly people and speak for them! This is definitely a hard work please don’t give up!
Special Dankeschön to Steffen for letting me be part of the meeting. Click here for more information about Polyamorous Meet Up Düsseldorf
Keep Calm and Embrace Poly!