Why Do We Want to Create a New Flag?
For as long as the term ‘polyamory’ has been used, various flags and symbols have been created and shared to signify it. They’ve been an important way for polyamorous and consensually non-monogamous people to mark this part of their identity, and they remain valued imagery.
That said, over the last few years it’s become increasingly clear that the worldwide polyamory community is ready for a new flag, one which is able to fully represent polyamorous and consensually non-monogamous people as we are now: individuals, families, polycules, and communities.
Since starting this project we at PolyamProud have received some objections, so we wanted to take the time to address them here. Let’s break them down:
We aren’t a cohesive community, so this is a pointless process.
Right now there are many different polyam and CNM communities: some online, some in towns and cities, and some in countries. And yes, right now they aren’t entirely cohesive - because up until now there hasn’t been a large enough, vocal enough population of polyam/CNM people to become so. To the best of our knowledge, no one has tried something which both approaches and is relevant to us globally!
A flag is meaningless and we don’t need one.
A flag is a symbol - and much like other symbols, not everyone is going to strongly resonate with or feel the need for one. But it marks out a group of people: sometimes a country, and sometimes a movement (whether formally or informally). That symbol not only gives the people who are a part of that population something to connect them (think of international travellers with little flag patches on their backpacks - kiwis often identify other travelling kiwis this way), but also gives those who are not part of that group an identifier. Not everyone is part of the rainbow community, but everyone recognises the pride flag.
In this case, the meaning will come from the people who value the potential of a polyam flag enough to give their input, feedback, and ultimately vote. If it’s not a flag that appeals to the majority of polyam/CNM people around the world, it will fade away, or join others in being not quite fit for purpose.
We aren’t oppressed or facing hardships so we should stop co-opting LGBTQIA culture with a pride flag.
While not everyone who is polyam/CNM faces hardships or is oppressed, many are and continue to be in various places around the world.
Over the last few decades there are people who’ve had their polyamorous identity or relationships used as a justification to remove their children from them. They’ve lost jobs. They’ve been judged by blood relatives. They’ve been unable to be with partners who are dying, or receive the same benefits as legally married couples.
Many also live with the mental health stressors of needing to keep one's identity secret (in work, with family etc.) and fear of judgement; or the shame of unpacking the mononormative view of the world and stepping off the relationship escalator. That’s in addition to the learning curve of navigating multiple loving relationships, when (unlike the ‘happily ever after’ hetero couple with children and a picket fence) there are few societal models running through our media.
Last but not least, there’s a significant crossover with rainbow culture: while not every polyam/CNM person is queer, trans, pansexual, bisexual, lesbian, or gay, plenty of them are, or are partnered with people who are, or have metamours who are. And that’s something we can be proud of too.
We’re excited about the possibilities a new flag can bring about for people who are polyamorous or non-monogamous - and we definitely see the value in this process! If you’d like to join us in making it happen, see what our process is here and then join us in voting for a new flag. Let’s make a positive change in how we’re represented in the world.