y'all. lets please stop using "poly" for "polyamorous" and get in the habit of using "polya" or "polyam". the reasoning behind this is a plea from Polynesian folk who have claimed the ID "Poly" for themselves, like, A WHILE ago.

FAQ :psyduck:

A: Its fine if you didn't know, we're always learning.

A: Congrats if you already do this.

A: If you feel esp defensive about this, thats the racism trying to leave your body. Let it go.

A: If you won't, congrats, you're a racist.

Ammending this post with more nuance (don't talk about serious things when you're tired, folks): "Poly" vs "Polya" or "Polyam" also exists as a way to help clarify exactly what you're talking about. Intersectionality matters in a global culture.

You don't need to *erase* it from your vocab, sure, but its good to be mindful that you don't exist in a bubble.

I'm looking for Polynesian voices on the matter but .. like lets be real, if Mastodon gets defensive about something as innocuous as "Spanish colonizers fucked up Mexico" you can probably imagine what the internet at large does to Polynesian people asking to be heard. I'm not sure how great of an idea it is to use sources addled with racist tirades.

Here's a latinx activist breaking down the subject of "Poly", their own defensiveness, and better nuance than I can cram into a Masto thread, with sources and such.

i'm muting this thread now. please see the other conversations going on, read the article, do your own research, understand that not everything is 100% for everyone, and then act accordingly.

context matters. context matters. context matters.

@popstar hey do you have Polynesian voices on this that aren't just that one person on Tumblr? B/c what I take from that is that it's not cool to use "poly" in tags/profiles/titles or other places where you're gonna clutter search results or create ambiguity.

Then I also see calls to stop using it in casual conversation, but those in particular mostly seem to originate with white people who are claiming to speak *for* POC instead of amplifying their voices.

@mcmoots i've seen it in discussions on reddit a few times from poly voices, but the threads tend to get locked or nuked bc they very rapidly deteriorate into name calling and vehement white guilt. i dont have any recent sources but i can look for some.

@popstar that would be amazing if you're able! I have somehow managed to avoid becoming a reddit user so I am super bad at finding stuff on it.

@popstar and like. I've looked (though not recently). The only Polynesian voices I can find are one person upset at clutter in Tumblr tags, and some folks in a comment section on a blog based on that Tumblr person who are like "lol we don't really use Poly".

@mcmoots ah tumblr. the place where i've seen POC users telling white users that its fine to use X slur, it doesnt bother them personally. No, this very much is from threads from Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and conversations with people I knew in POC spaces in LA driven by Poly people. (I'll look for some recent sources)

@popstar that's heartening news. I've been mostly seeing this one from some local polyamory groups that are pretty white-dominated and like, there's a bad dynamic of the "woke" white people getting upset if you don't just accept their nth-hand paraphrase of what POC communities are saying.

Also I will die before using "polyam" instead of just spelling out "polyamory", there aren't that many more letters/syllables good god.

@popstar i especially like that the author points out that it restores precision: polysexuality, polyamory, polyromance are all different and people often embark on that unexamined. like, this is good even in those terms!

@popstar heh I think those are the "lol we don't call ourselves poly" Polynesian commenters I'm remembering.

And that one also comes down on the side of "don't do it in tags or other wide-audience ambiguous situations, but nbd in casual conversation when the context is clear". Which has been my position for a while, but whenever I see short form "don't use Poly it's been claimed" memes I always wonder what exactly they're aimed at.

@mcmoots its impossible (and unwise to try) to impose sweeping sanctions over large swaths of people and i should have spoken more carefully and taken my own advice to remember that context matters. it was meant as a reminder bc i've spoken about it before, but duh, how would anyone remember that?

its a good thing to remember that situational context is important, really. to say "I'm Poly" means what, exactly? especially online.

@popstar thank you for putting it into words and linking a source very appreciated

@popstar I'm not like, searching for a loophole or anything, just wondering.
If context matters, do you think it'd be ok to say "a poly relationship" but not "I'm poly"?

@gattogateaux I think its fine if you use it in understood context. Like "I'm in a poly relationship" is understood, but "I'm poly" ??? polyamorous? polygender? polynesian? polygamous? that's where things get confusing and unhelpful.

@popstar Unknown to me, and thank you. Have you got a primary source for that? I would love to read more about it.

Reclaiming a Greek-via-French colonialist exonym as an endonym is p. cool.

@popstar "A: If you feel esp defensive about this, thats the racism trying to leave your body. Let it go." i love this

@eject i'm gonna start using it in more conversations lol.

@popstar I have seen one (1) article that claims this is an issue. It's a greek prefix, nothing specific to Polynesians.
@popstar you can't just go around claiming words, that's not how language works.
@mewmew @popstar That's the racism leaving your body, sweaty ;)
@kaikatsu @popstar :blobcatsweats: I can see it! The racism is flowing out of my skin!
@mewmew @popstar obviously it is otherwise everyone would have a n word pass and that specific f word would be free to use along with certain forms of the word gay.

Lol :blobcat3c:

@popstar if I dont, it's because I dont like either "polya" or "polyam" and want to find a better word. :blobthinking:


"that's the racism trying to leave your body"

You are a gift

Sign in to participate in the conversation

A small latinx / chicanx community! Open to anyone from the culture cousins