Saturday, March 21, 2009

Insignificant Others

Maybe it was only natural that Wednesday's post would lead to anarchy. Last weekend, I went to San Francisco's annual Anarchist Bookfair for the first time. I didn't think I was an anarchist. However, according to one piece of literature, most of us already are:

"You may already be an anarchist. It's true. If your idea of healthy human relationships is a dinner with friends, where everyone enjoys everyone else's company, responsibilities are divided up voluntarily and informally, and no one gives orders or sells anything, then you are an anarchist, plain and simple."

I also picked up a pamphlet called "Who Are Your Insignificant Others?" that seemed very relevant to this blog. It was published by a group called LAGAI- Queer Insurrection. Here's some of what it said:

Marriage elevates one type [of] relationship above all others, giving it the state's seal of approval. We anti-assimilationist queers, with a long history of opposing discrimination against some and special privileges for others, reaffirm our stand against state recognition of marriage, at the same time as we oppose the right-wing's attempt to restrict it to heterosexuals.

People relate to one another in an unlimited amount of imaginative ways. Placing one-on-one romantic relationships above all others diminishes the relationships between friends and and implies that polyamorous persons are not "committed" or haven't found "the real thing". Single people cannot just be unmarried in the shadow of marriage; they have "issues" or are "pairing impaired". If you aren't someone's "significant other", are you therefore insignificant?

Well, I'm convinced. (Okay, they're speaking to something I already thought. In our culture today, is marriage really a solution to the social issues we face, or is it just a big distraction? Marinate on that one...) I don't mean to offend any of my married or engaged readers; some days I think I'd like to be married myself. What I do mean to offend is the idea of our government telling us that marriage is the best way to relate to people. Look at the divorce rate-- marriage probably isn't the right choice for most sexual folk, let alone the A-team. Love and marriage do not go together like a horse and carriage. It's better to have loved and lost, but when that loss is a drawn-out divorce...was getting legally married worth it?

One interesting thing I learned about anarchy was that it values community-building highly, and needs people working together on a local level in order to function. Sometimes these radical groups can seem overwhelmingly sexual to me, because they're trying to be everything that would frighten the conservatives or whatever. Even so, I wonder if the anarchists would find asexuality cool because we're trying to figure out different ways to form relationships. It seems like on that front, anarchists are doing a similar thing. But in the asexual world, we can still wear colors other than black.

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