Several people from Polynesian backgrounds have said that “Poly” has been a way Polynesians id themselves and our use of it has been problematic and erasing. For those unfamiliar, Lily Stone gives a powerful explanation of ,a href=”http://www.guerrillafeminism.org/poly-means-polynesian-not-polyamorous-lily-stone/”>why the use of “poly” for polyamory has been actively harmful to Polynesians. In response, the polyam community has had recurring discussions about whether we should keep using “poly.”
My initial response focused on the specific harms Lily Stone writes about. My blog post titles, tagging, and etc, used the full word “polyamory” or “polyamorous” to avoid causing problems for Polynesians searching online for other Poly people. But it occurred to me that using “poly” as a shorthand within blog posts and books normalizes the use of “poly” for polyamory.
It does me no harm to type a few extra letters. The lack of those letters is doing harm to others. Put that way, it’s an easy decision to make. So from now on, I’ll be using “polyam.” I invite you to do the same.
(P.S. Do not comment to debate whether it is ‘right’ or ‘okay’ for Polynesians to be upset or ask this of us. Do not start the shtick about how Polynesian was originally a word used by colonizers. I’ve seen it all. All your well-thought, logical arguments why using “poly” for polyamory should be okay don’t mean shit to me when beside the fact that this practice is hurting people. So don’t waste my time or spoons.)
This post is part of the Etiquette in Polyamory series.