Beyond Gay Marriage

A circle of friends point toward the next battle for acceptance

Trish: I go by "genderqueer." I prefer that label. . . .

I'm not transgender, but there's a possibility I will transition in the future. And I do cross-dress, stuff like that.

One bed, many half-naked people
photo: Tina Zimmer/
One bed, many half-naked people


See also:
  • "A Week of Debauchery"
    Slideshow by Tina Zimmer

  • The New Gay Fiction
    After years of neglect from the mainstream, queer lit undergoes a renaissance.
    by Edmund White

  • Bliss or Miss
    Getting over the gay-wedding jitters.
    by Danial Adkison

  • Split Decision
    Lured by competing games, queer athletes find they can't go both ways.
    by Joseph McCombs

  • Where's the Party?
    The girls get ready to turn it out for Pride.
    by Keisha Franklin

  • Pride Party Roundup
    Before—and after—the parade passes by.
    by John Russell
  • I'm attracted to a lot of different types of people; it's more a matter of their personality. I don't care what clothes they wear or which bathroom they go into. It's very easy for me to hang out with a lot of different types of people. It's just hard when you're the sore thumb hanging out in the wrong type of crowd.

    Victoria Lesiw: It's such a supportive group of people because they've had such a hard time being accepted elsewhere. And it is so sad that it's so hard for people to get. But that you have to deal with so much stuff—it grounds you, makes you more real. This is not a group I expected to have, but I'm so glad it is. If I had to move to gay Williamsburg to have this, then I'm glad I did.

    It's sad to me that my groups of friends don't overlap, because I think both groups would get along so well. But it's hard for me to get my straight friends to go to gay bars, and vice versa.

    Being the heterosexual in the group, I'll go to parties, and it'll be assumed I'm a lesbian. But it never matters in the end. I've always been comfortable around everyone, except for the second where I have to be like, "Um, I'm sorry, I'm straight."

    Isabelle: It's not about feeling free of constraints. I don't want to fall outside of them, I want to move within them. Sometimes it becomes as much about trying on a mode of behavior and playing a certain role as much as it is about an object of desire.

    I feel politically and socially invested in the idea of non-monogamy. It can bring difficulty, but it is something worth fighting for.

    The biggest misconception about the transgender community is perhaps that there is a transgender community. There is a pool of individuals sharing a few specific experiences, but not a trans community. With transwomen, there is this association with drag. I feel like I'm often seen as a drag queen as much as a woman. And sometimes I am, but not all the time.

    River: Polyamory is something I've been really committed to being for about nine years. For me, being polyamorous is about being committed to a different kind of family structure. You really push yourself, and push your lovers. Being in poly relationships has required a lot more as far as trust, communication, and willingness to experience things than in any monogamous relationship I was in. In Philadelphia, I lived in a house with four lovers and four people committed to being polyamorous. And the relationship we formed with each other—there was more love in that house than I'd ever felt before. We were all there for each other, and truly loved each other.

    I feel like the human heart has so much potential for opening up and embracing as many people and as many experiences as it can—and I feel like being polyamorous is a big part of that.

    The process of coming out poly is a lot harder than coming out queer because it's not in the media, because it's not looked about highly. It's seen as corny people wanting to have sex, and it's not about that, at least not for me. Usually when I see anything that has to do with polyamory, it's always straight—a lot of time it's swingers— and it's usually focused around sex and not around commitment and love. To have polyamory be overlooked or misrepresented by the queer community, it's very odd. Especially by a community that's been so misrepresented itself.

    I struggled during high school and growing up—I'd been in relationships and I'd always cheat, but it never felt wrong to me. It never changed how I felt about them. The only thing that felt wrong was the breaking of the trust. It never occurred to me that there was another option.

    Whenever I feel a tinge of jealousy, it goes away once I think about the amazing experience the other person is having. Love is one of the most important things we can experience as humans, and I don't want anyone I'm with to not experience that because of me. Some of my friends and I have a poly brunch group that meets once a month. People don't understand the kind of relationships we're in, what it requires to be successfully polyamorous. Even with some of my other friends, they know I have my boyfriend, but they'll see me flirt or make out with others, and I'll get dirty looks. A polyamorous relationship is not seen as true a relationship as a monogamous one.

    Dario: My relationship with my boyfriend is monogamous. The only people we make out with are girls, or each other. I guess girls aren't a threat to our relationship.

    I'm so happy, and I love my friends—and I will rip tops off whether it's a girl or a boy, and they know that and love that.

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