Alternative adj. 1. (of one or more things ) available or usable instead of another.
2. (of two things ) mutually exclusive. 3. of or relating to practices that offer a substitute for the conventional one.
Love n. 1. Deep affection or fondness. 2. Sexual passion 3. A beloved one; a sweetheart ( often as a form of address )
Source: DK Illustrated Oxford Dictionary 2003
To love is to be human. We love our food, our animals, our belongings, ourselves. Love has a different meaning for each individual but is always the bonding with one or more particular things. Here I wish to talk of interpersonal love - the love between two people.
Alternative love is a love that is found outside of the “norm”. A love that society finds hard to accept or allow. A love that is judged. One that finds those who feel it in a battle of explanation and acceptance. It is not only the love of one man and one women but the love of humans as they choose to love. It is about the right to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersexual, trans gendered or swinging couples. To love via genetic sexual attraction. To enjoy a relationship that is submissive or dominant. To be polygamous and live in a communal setting sharing more than one partner. It is about the right to love. The right to express our love as consenting adults as we so freely feel. A line must only been drawn when an alternative love involves abuse, the harm of another, or a minor.
Alternative relationships are slowly becoming culturally acceptable but still there is little understanding from those who practice heterosexual monogamous relationships within the “norm” Love is a necessity. Everyone needs it. We sing about it, we write poems about it, we watch movies about it. Our world spins on an axle of love. We cannot survive without it. Those who struggle with love often find themselves with feelings of isolation and depression. We need to give as well as receive. We seek and we find, but not always in places we expect.
Society is full of morals ,beliefs and creeds, rules and laws, symbolism, traditions and power. Society is a structured form of control. Step outside of the square of control and you will be liable for judgement and persecution. Although this world is one of individuals who share the similar interest of life it is the majority of these individuals who are under the control of authorities, media and the mind power that form our society. Those who choose to think and live outside of this social structure cause a fear of the unknown as they challenge the structure and it’s system. Within this social structure we see warranted laws and beliefs that protects one from abuse and harm. These help those within the structure live within peace and safety.
Love and sex, without power and abuse, are a cause for celebration not for shame. Love should be about freedom of the body and the mind. Freedom to relax and enjoy. Freedom to be at one with oneself and the other who shares this immense feeling. To love is to offer one the greatest of all gifts. To be loved is to feel wanted and needed. Love can build self esteem and self worth. It heightens our outlook on life and places us in a position where we feel desired and desire to be. The judgement, non acceptance, bullying and harsh treatment that society places on those who choose to love alternatively takes away this celebration of love. It removes the peace and freedom that love can bring and replaces it with condemnation and heartache. It causes confusion, loss of self worth and loss of self esteem. It causes many to live double standards within their life. To live with deceit and lies. To make choices that they should not need to make. It causes heartache to not only those who love but those who are associated with this love, finding a need to protect and shelter the lovers.
Still today society quickly lays blame, intolerance and judgement on those who love alternatively. A lot of this judgement comes from the fear that one carries around inside oneself. To some degree it is based on ones degree of ignorance and intolerance level and on our social inclination to group people in ways which allow us to find order in a complex world. Humans, as social beings, also have a personal preparedness to protect their own by defining others as essentially different from themselves. We define and classify those around us in order to sort our own belonging. I have often read that judgement (whether openly acknowledged or not) represents beliefs and attitudes which are based on ignorance, misunderstandings, fear and sometimes others’ powerlessness. It is a commonly seen that people who have experiences outside the ‘norm’ do not judge others. Their feeling of fear no longer needs to be defended. They no longer feel threatened by others and find comfort in knowing that others do not judge them. It is not until one finds themselves in a similar situation will one stop judging. There is truth in the old saying “ Walk a mile in ones shoes before you judge them”
Over the years society has changed and will continue to do so but not without a long hard battle for many to come. Change is slow. Far too slow. Too many hurt and too many are in pain. Too many families fall apart due to societies lack of understanding and acceptance. Morals and laws change slowly but not before many pay the price. As the strength and unity of those who choose to live a life of alternative love grows so will that of the understanding of society. It is love that makes this world go around. It is with love, and education, that tolerance and peace will grow.
(c) Jennifer Deaves