Oh No! It’s the Plural Police!

Hess Sakal, 2009

During my rounds in the online plural community, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of people and systems who have this tendency of trying to set up their system structure as though it’s the One True Way to be plural. If there’s anything I am seriously tired of, it’s the Plural Police.

The ‘Plural Police’ aren’t a cohesive monolith; there are different types of plural police, depending on the ideological position the system members take. There are those who think that you aren’t fit to be with the ‘in’ systems because you haven’t got fictive members from external sources. There are those who think that you’ve got problems because you DO have outsourced fictive members. There are the people who think that trauma-split systems are fucked up, and those who think that non-trauma-split systems are fucked up. And then there are the multiple systems who think that medians ‘aren’t really plural’, and medians who think that ‘full-fledged’ multiples are TOO plural.

And then you’ve got systems like ours, who fall under a lot of these categories, and really cannot just pick the ‘right’ side to be on.

It’s just a mess, and it’s ridiculous. What is the point of all this infighting? Sure, you can have ideological disagreements, but there is really no need to draw lines and invalidate others’ existences just because it’s not the way you do things. It’s kind of like the plural equivalent of the infighting within the LGBT community, where there are issues between gay and bi people, or LGB people and trans people, or classical transsexuals and genderqueer people. The world at large doesn’t give a shit if you’re trauma-split, insourced, outsourced, soulbonders, median, gateway, multiple or whatever. They’ve got the idea that ALL plurals are fucking nuts, REGARDLESS of origin. Why make it harder to achieve acceptance by constantly fighting over the minutiae of your systems?

I’ll confess that I’ve had my ‘Plural Police’ moments, especially around when we first came out. I used to be a lot less understanding of outsourced system members until I got to know more systems that had outsourced members, and that cleared up a lot of the misconceptions I had. I used to misinterpret a lot of things that trauma-split systems experienced, but getting to know people who fall under that spectrum helped. I think that a lot of the hostility comes from ignorance, and the only way to deal with that ignorance is through education and exchange, and talking to others about your experiences, if you’re open to that. There are still some things I personally don’t see as plausible, but it’s really not my place to judge the way their systems are. As long as they’re not hurting anyone, it’s just not my business. There are plenty of things that people do that I dislike; I stay out of it unless they’re personally affecting me or those I care about.

Plurality is a subjective phenomenon that is ‘localised’ to the people who experience it. That means that unless people are being jerks to each other, in- or outside of the system, it really doesn’t fucking matter what your system is like, as it isn’t going to AFFECT the way things are outside of it. The world isn’t going to end because System X split from trauma, or because System Y has Sephiroth taking art class, or because System M is median and tends to be blendy. It’s not my damn place to tell other systems how their structure should be, unless they’re using it to be manipulative or obnoxious to others. Just existing, in and of itself, is not a crime.

The idea that you have to be a certain kind of plural system in order to be acceptable is a bunch of bullshit. Who the fuck are you to tell everyone how their systems and brains should be? The idea that there has to be One True Way of Being Plural kind of flies in the face of plural activism. Isn’t plural activism about accepting thinking styles that are different from the norm?