But being gay, queer or LGBT is by no means a guarantee of being open minded. Cases of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination do exist within our communities. Diverse sexuality doesn’t always result in unconditional acceptance. An interesting example is that of open relationships.
When it comes to relationship structures that involve more than two people – how open minded are you?
One group that is working on increasing the acceptance of the rights of people in open relationships is Open Minded. As the name suggests, it is a group that believes in the value of open relationships.
Open relationships are so often misunderstood. The people within them are often view in a number of negative ways. They’re sex freaks. Hippies. Unfaithful. Perverted. Immoral. Dirty. Weird. The list goes on….
It’s here that Open Minded is playing a leading role in challenging these negative stereotypes and labels. Open Minded has recently launched an online #AcceptLove campaign aimed at shedding some light and understanding on the people who choose to have open relationships. (You can view the #AcceptLove campaign here.)
The website was founded in 2015 by Brandon Wade. Brandon explains the context that led to him starting the site:
“Society has come to a point where marriage has taken a downward turn because it no longer satisfies the needs of the modern woman or man. In search of happiness, people are relying less on stereotypical gender roles and traditional relationship paradigms. While monogamy is certainly not dead, a shift in societal ideals has taken place, as more and more couples are choosing to buck traditions in favour of unconventional relationship configurations.”
He makes some good points. After all, divorce rates are sky high, the recent Ashley Madison hack revealed the huge number of people looking for extra-marital relations and anecdotally, just look around at the people in your life – how many of them are in happy, healthy and productive relationships? For me, the split would be about 50-50. Clearly the way we’re doing things isn’t working.
So does that mean that open relationships are the way to go? That’s obviously a trick question as there is no one definitive and universal answer. But it does lead to an interesting point. If open relationships are likely to continue, and all signs indicate that this seems to be the case, lawmakers – and society in general – will sooner or later need to respond. Who says marriage can only be between two people? Who says that only two people can be involved in creating and raising a child? These are complex questions that require a careful and considered response.
The Open Minded campaign aims to put real faces and stories to the negative words and preconceptions that are often associated with people in open relationships. The initial videos are only the beginning, with more stories expected to be added in the coming months. I reached out to Open Minded and asked them what their plans were when it came to featuring people who identify as LGBT. This was their response:
“The makeup of the polyamorous community is continuing to diversify as pop culture and social issues come to light (i.e. the Supreme Court ruling in favour of marriage equality, Caitlyn Jenner’s historic Vanity Fair cover, etc).
Members on OpenMinded.com self-identify as male, female, transsexual, pangender, transgender, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, androgynous, agender, heterosexual, sapiosexual, pansexual, bisexual, homosexual, asexual, androsexual, sociosexual any many more.
Additionally, as of March 2016, 22% of the site’s members identify as being homosexual, 23.46% identify as being bisexual, while roughly 3% identify as being heteroflexible and or homoflexible.”
The gay community has long been at the forefront of progressive sexuality. In many ways, our community has pioneered open relationships, and any relationship structure outside of the one-man, one-woman mould. It’s important that as we continue to have more of our rights given to us, that we continue to support everyone’s relationships.
At the end of the day, relationships are an expression of love. They are as unique and individual as the people who comprise them – whether that’s two, three, four or more people. As long as we don’t hurt or harm anyone else, everyone’s relationships, sexual orientations and life choices should be supported and recognised equally.