Hi, I’m Kale! Today I want to talk about coming out as a relationship anarchist or a non-monogamist.
I know that I am in a very privileged position to be out so openly. I don’t think I could be much more out than to be on here making videos.
I have been able to come out about being queer and a relationship anarchist without paying any penalties – I didn’t lose my job, my family, or my friends.
I recognize the privilege I have. For some people, coming out has very serious consequences. I’m going to go over some reasons why a person might want to come out or not, and some strategies for coming out.
So what are some of the reasons a person might want to come out?
Being able to be open about who and how you love is a pretty big deal. It allows you to live authentically.
If you are out, you can have conversations about your relationships and people you love, which matters in our social society.
It also influences the people around you, who you want to have close relationships with.
Being out means that you don’t have to hide the people you love, and they don’t have to feel like a secret.
Another big reason is visibility. If you are in a privileged position and free to come out, you make non-monogamy more visible.
By being out, you set an example of how it can be done ethically and consensually, and you make the idea of non-monogamy less scary.
This helps people in less privileged positions by making it harder to marginalize someone based on their relationship style.
What are some reasons it might not be a good idea to come out?
Dr. Elisabeth Sheff suggests asking: Is it relevant, necessary, and safe to come out to this person or in this situation?
There are situations where it is not safe for you to come out. If you are in danger of losing your job, your family, or your social network.
You might want to think carefully before coming out at work, or to certain people in your life who have shown to be less than open minded.
If you are a parent, you have to also consider that teachers, healthcare workers, or social services might consider your relationship style to be dangerous to a child.
Since caseworkers have the power to remove a child from their home, discussing relationship styles should be done with discretion. Sometimes it’s best to answer questions directly, and don’t offer any extra information.
If you have decided that you do want to come out, how do you go about doing that?
Coming out isn’t something that happens in one big step (unless you make a YouTube video about it). It’s usually done over time, it’s a process.
Once you figure out that you want to come out, you decide who to come out to. If it is safe, relevant and necessary, then you can move ahead.
One way to figure out if it is safe is to ask questions and see how they react. Do they support queer politics? Have they heard of ethical non-monogamy?
If they are open to so called alternative lifestyles, they might be more receptive to you coming out.
Choose your timing carefully. Doing it when you’re drunk or in the middle of a family reunion might not be the best idea.
Be honest, open, and direct and try to do it in person. Or write it in a letter, if that feels safer.
If you are not ashamed, it won’t come across as shameful. You don’t have to apologize or feel awkward.
If coming out to kids, you don’t have offer more information than they ask for, and make sure you are age appropriate.
Coming out can be scary, but so can living in secret. Be brave, you’re not alone!
If you want to talk to other relationship anarchists, you can join our Facebook group, which I’ll post down below, along with some resources for coming out. Thanks for watching, bye!