In this #sexUUality post, I'm looking at principles 5 through 7 and how they relate to sexual and relational identity; I admit, I wasn't looking forward to the brainstorming session with these principles as nothing came immediately to my mind. But I said I was going to get through all 7 principles during February for #sexUUality :D. I've enjoyed getting to engage in some teaching about sexuality and Unitarian Universalism.
I'm going to get right to the 5th Principle. "The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large." Thinking on this principle and how it relate to sexual/relational orientation and identity brings a quote from Ralph Sockman to my mind. It's on the door of my old homeschool room, when we still used a room for chalkboard etc. "The test of tolerance comes when we are in a majority; the test of courage comes when we are in a minority." As someone in quite a few minorities (bisexual, polyamorous, BDSM, mental health issue/hidden disability), I often look to how the democratic process either protects or fails minority voices in a population. Living in Michigan, I've seen where democratic processes have either not protected or have even hurt the LGBT community. Not that I've given up on democracy, but I have to force myself to vote. And yes, even among UUs, I've seen this failure of democracy to protect minority populations. At one UU congregation, I was saddened by the jokes, the ridicule extended to UUs for Polyamory Awareness fliers- that would not have been considered appropriate for something about LGBT rights.
The 6th Principle states, "The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all." This one makes me think of the differences between trafficking, domestic/sexual abuse, and BDSM sexual slavery- something I've found too many UUs and feminists fail to understand. Hearkening back to what I had to say about the 3rd and 4th Principles, I want to point out that for most BDSM practitioners, BDSM is something they've thought about, dreamed about, read about- in many ways, just like a GLBT person often does before coming out to themselves. If I ever stopped wanting BDSM or stopped wanting to be with my dominant, I have the power to do so. I am not held here against my will, my dominant has never tried to isolate me from people who could help me leave if I so decided. These things don't describe the reality for trafficked people, for people caught in domestic abuse. In refusing to learn about consensual BDSM, people who engage in BDSM are often locked out of the justice of being true to oneself within the world. They are forced into closets of secrecy, which I feel is something the 6th Principle doesn't want to have happen.
One thing I have run into as a bisexual person, as a polyamorous person, as a kinky person, is the experience of others not understanding the difference between sexual/relational identity and talking about sexual activity. Stating my identity- I am a bisexual, polyamorous, kinky woman is not telling you in graphic language what I do sexually- anymore than a lesbian stating her identity is saying what specific sex acts she enjoys.
A last phrase that resonates for me with this Principle :D- telling me I shouldn't want what I want is not peaceful, not supporting my liberty.
And finally the 7th Principle- "Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." One might not think this has anything to do with sexuality, at first glance. However for me as a vegan and a kinky person, my first thought is leather toys. The whips that are one of the stereotypical images of BDSM. You can actually buy toys made a rubber and all sorts of other materials that are not made from animal products, that are environmentally friendly. I can't actually recommend any because my Master (I so way prefer typing that than "my dominant," which is what I've gotten used to as a way to talk about Him in a way that's welcome at my church- because I actually go to a UU that's pretty kink-friendly) has a few floggers that He really likes that He's had about as long as He's had me- so going on about 14 years or so. Rather than ask Him to replace them with non-animal product toys, it makes more environmental sense to me to use what we already have because replacing them with all new, animal-friendly toys would waste so many resources.
And finally happiness. Just our pure happiness with each other (whatever type of love we're talking about, and at Church of the Larger Fellowship, we've talked a lot about love this month), with ourselves, with the beings around us. I want to leave you with a final story on love and sexuality. I've started reading the book "Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives For 101 Days (No Excuses!)" When Jordinn mentioned it in one of her #sexUUality posts as helpful to her relationship with her husband, I wanted to read it. I'm just 36 pages in and I can already feel a big improvement in my relationship with my Master, with how I feel about Him, my body. And I'm happier.