Letters to the Editor
About that monogamy study
We very much appreciate Michael's Nugent's article, "Most younger gay men seek monogamy, study suggests" [January 12] and his summation of the main findings.
As authors of the study, we wanted to offer a few additional thoughts and data points:
The first sentence reads, "Eighty-six percent of gay men ages 18-40 reported being in a monogamous relationship ..." It is actually 86 percent of gay men in our study, ages 18-40, who are in a relationship now are monogamous.
In addition to a shift toward greater monogamy, we would also like to note the emergence of "monogamish" relationships. Eighteen percent of respondents in our qualitative study (n=853) reported being in "monogamish" relationships, which we defined as "holding monogamy more loosely." Most of those identifying as monogamish considered having an occasional three-way with their partner to be acceptable.
As study authors, we feel it is important to emphasize that the study found that couples in monogamous, non-monogamous and monogamish relationships all saw their relationships as viable, satisfying and long-lasting. Ninety-three percent of both monogamous couples and non-monogamous couples agreed with the statement, "We have a healthy, stable relationship." Ninety-four percent of monogamous couples and 91 percent of non-monogamous couples agreed with the statement, "Our relationship makes me happy/satisfied."
The study is reporting trends and describing what these different relationships look like, including advantages and challenges. The purpose was not to proselytize, but to provide information and visibility, encourage conscious choices, and promote rational discussion within the community.
Blake Spears and Lanz Lowen
Reflecting on progress
Our Family Coalition was proud to co-present the Men Having Babies Conference last weekend in San Francisco. At this transitional moment in our history, it is worth noting that almost 200 gay men are voting in the most intimate way for a positive personal and global future: by creating and nurturing new lives.
It is also worth mentioning that the conference was held at the Marines' Memorial Club downtown, almost certainly the largest gathering of out gay people in this institution. You can be sure we would not have been allowed to do this in the era of President Reagan, who wouldn't even utter the word "AIDS." And let us not forget the outcry of far right leaders like the late Phyllis Schlafly, et al., over all things queer – family-building included – even during the Clinton and Bush presidencies.
I say this on the literal eve of a new administration, so that we may reflect on the progress we have made in the world up to this point, progress that has led to federally recognized marriage equality, open service of LGBTQ people in the military (the nation's largest employer), and events such as the Men Having Babies conference at the Marines' Memorial Club. And we've achieved this person-to-person, by coming out as individual LGBTQ people, as LGBTQ parents, and as children of LGBTQ people. We know that the years ahead will be unbelievably hard. But we have built coalitions to keep protecting those who are most vulnerable among us, all the while remembering that the LGBTQI community has the power and experience to meet this challenge head-on. May we keep forming and cultivating loving families as a form of resistance to the hate around us.
Renata Moreira, Interim Executive Director
Our Family Coalition