Dear Poly Land,

A while ago I wrote an article called “Is Solo Polyamory Ableist?” where I concluded that as a whole solo polyamory isn’t ableist. However, there are some attitudes and people in solo polyamory that are. Well, if you need an example of some of the ableism that surrounds solo polyamory, there are some volunteers in this response to my article.

I am not entirely sure they read my article because they argue with my post like I did conclude that solo polyamory is ableist- all while being more ableist about solo polyamory!

Featuring: the argument that I can’t get a date and am just bitter, hiding behind strange pen names, citing the one disabled person they know to attempt to discredit my experiences, saying that we shouldn’t bother changing the status quo, and dinosaurs for some reason. Obviously, I had to reply! Enjoy:

1. “Not wanting to be expected to be another person’s caretaker is about as ableist as being asexual.” This doesn’t make sense and I don’t understand the hate towards asexuals here and throughout the piece. 

2. “She expects consideration for her disability, but she does not expect that he will be her caretaker.” Honestly, I am far more interested in her perspective than yours. I don’t know if you are disabled or not, but in the same way that it is important to hear people of color’s views on racism, disabled voices need to be amplified in discussions of ableism.

Using one disabled person’s life on social media to attempt to discredit another disabled person’s experiences and opinions is just gross. All disabled people are whole, different people who experience ableism differently. I just know my experience, that years ago when I was figuring out my ideal relationship style I experienced a ton of hate keeping around the solo polyamorous identity because I am disabled.

People who have mental conditions aren’t able to definitively talk about the ableism physically disabled people experience and vice versa.  You can’t fully understand an -ism without being a victim of it. Therefore, one voice on ableism never should be used to drown other’s voices out.

And where did I say anything different from this point you are making? I argue that disabilities should be considered, and that we should do all we can to accommodate everyone- not anything more. Trying to limit ableism is not the same as expecting people to be caretakers of others (but what is so wrong with wanting to help others?). If you seriously think that is what arguments against ableism are, then you don’t even have a basic understanding of what ableism is.

3. I am not solo poly and have never been. I just know that when I was determining what relationship style was right for me, solo poly was off limits because of the ableist way many people talk about it. I’ve never tried to force myself into a relationship style that isn’t right for me. That doesn’t mean I can’t share my experiences with ableism in solo polyamory.

Solo polyamory isn’t morally superior to any other relationship style; RA is, and always has been right relationship style for me.

4. Poly saturation is more my problem than having trouble meeting partners. I’m analyzing a problem with solo poly because there is a problem- not because I can’t get a date. 

5. I’m getting really sick (haha) of this statement people keep making. “That can’t be ableist, or treadmills/rock climbing/etc. is ableist too!” One is a sporting/ recreational event and the other is how we treat fellow humans- how are those comparable?

There are going to be things that are off the table for people with disabilities- at least for now. We just haven’t gotten to the point in innovation to make everything accessible to everyone. However, there are so many things we can easily change to make more accessible to more people. Such as relationships, how we speak, and how we treat one another.

When we don’t attempt to make something accessible that could be easily made accessible, when we exclude people from something just because they are disabled- that is ableist. So like in the case of solo poly- stop gatekeeping the label just because someone else’s solo poly is different from yours. Stop excluding people from being solo poly just because they can’t live alone. Solo poly doesn’t have to look a certain way. It is more about how you see relationships, yourself, and independence than following a certain one size fits all (live alone, don’t combine finances, never marry, no kids, etc.) recipe that excludes people with disabilities.

6. I literally conclude solo poly isn’t ableist- just some of the comments and attitudes surrounding it are. You even quote this and then argue like I concluded all of solo poly is ableist? I did not.
7. A real actual quote from this says, ‘When the reality is “hey, this isn’t something I can do therefore I… shouldn’t do it?”’ Right, why should we try to make the world and ourselves a better place? Let’s just accept the status quo. Let’s make no attempt to better the quality of life of a disabled person. Everyone who has ever changed the world for the better has fought against this “well we can’t so we won’t” sentiment from others.  I guess I’m the kind of person who wants to make the polyamorous community and world a better place.

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