Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to be pro-choice when the choice isn't yours to make

Recently I had a conversation with Ume, and later with Master, about the roles, rights, responsibilities that each partner has when dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. They were really refreshing because, even though I disagreed with them on some things, we were always affectionate, respectful, and thoughtful to each other. That rarely happens when talking about anything even tangentially related to abortion.

Anyway, it got me thinking, and here's some things that I think all male-bodied folk can do to be supportive of their female-bodied partners:

  1. DO have a conversation about what to do in the event of unexpected pregnancy. Ideally, do this before an unexpected pregnancy actually happens. But, this is the real world, so that's not always going to happen.
  2. DO listen to everything your partner has to say. Sometimes it's simple as, "I'll get an abortion if I get pregnant." Sometimes it's, "I'll keep it if we've been living together for a year." Sometimes it's, "I don't know what I'd do."
  3. DO decide if your partner's plan is compatible with your plans, values, etc. If there is a fundamental disagreement, it is okay to end the relationship. This is a big issue, and you shouldn't force yourself or your partner to compromise; it's better for both of you to find other people you're more compatible with.
  4. DON'T give your opinion unless your partner asks. Like it or not, abortion and pregnancy can be a very stressful thing. If your partner doesn't identify as a woman, that can compound the issue, considering how tied up pregnancy is with the "ESSENCE OF WOMANHOOD" and all that bullshit. Some people want their partners' input; others do not. Respect what your partner prefers.
Yep, that's about it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Slutty Ethics

I finally got around to reading The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, which Ume and Gene gave to me for Christmas. As it's one of the only books explicitly about ethical non-monogamy available, of course I'd already heard a lot about it. Specifically, I'd already heard one of the biggest criticisms of the book, which is that it places too much emphasis on "owning one's feelings," which leads to people blaming themselves for their partners' legitimately problematic behavior.

I can definitely see where this criticism comes from. However, I don't think it's what the authors intended. (Somewhere, my Literary Criticism professor's hair just stood up on the back of her neck!) When Easton and Hardy talk about owning your feelings, they specifically talk about it in the context of giving yourself agency. When you realize that your feelings are coming from within you and aren't inflicted upon you, you realize that you have options on how to deal with those feelings.

Where Easton and Hardy fell flat, in my opinion, is that they never explicitly said, "One of those options is to end the relationship." They do talk about determining your limits, and they talk about breaking up, and how not every conflict has a happy resolution. However, I think they needed to tie that idea more closely to the idea of owning one's feelings.

Overall, though, I thought the book was very good. While a lot of the "exercises" that it included weren't the most helpful, considering I've been poly for several years, it still had a lot of valuable insight. It did get a little "hippy-dippy" at times, but Easton and Hardy kept their observations pertinent to modern culture. Though I wouldn't go so far as to say every poly person should own this book, it's definitely a good idea to check it out from the library.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm coming out

I have to come out to my parents. Tapeti's graduation is on Memorial Day weekend, and they're going to want a damn good reason why I can't come visit them.

I know that I need to do it, and I know more or less exactly what I'm going to say. I'm also pretty sure they'll take to it all right; Master came out to his mother, who was completely unfazed by it.

I'm still scared out of my mind, though.