Vision: Bullet Talking Points for The Future
Here are ideas from various members of the Plural community on what could change in society to help accommodate and make space for plurality, or remove singular-centric barriers to access for plurals.
Important Note: Things We are Not Looking For
We recognize some things just wouldn't work. However when we say "plural rights" or "access and accommodations" sometimes these are things singular folk think we want.
- We're not asking for extra votes in external elections. Our internal elections are our own business.
- We do not want a get-out-of-jail-free-card - responsible plural systems believe in group responsibility when it comes to external matters and the legal system.
- We're not asking for any extra financial benefits over anyone else we're asking for fair wages for equal work, no extra tax refunds or tax credits, no extra food stamps, no extra health benefits, no extra disability payments, etc. Just whatever anyone else in one body gets if we qualify by the same rules.
What We Would Like to See in 20-30 Years
Some of these may be easy and achievable immediately. Some may take longer. This is a long brain dump from various sources, barely organized.
Cultural Recognition/Global Destigmatization
- Allowing and accepting that plurals may be visible, openly plural, and not face repercussions for existing.
- The ability to be visible and open, without people automatically assuming were dangerous or shying away from us.
- Abolish the talking-to-self stigma. Talking to oneself is not "crazy" many folk do it, singular and plural. It's entirely valid and not in itself a sign of a dangerous person or a predictor of violence.
- There are similar stigmas for changes of style, appearance, habits, tics, phrasings, favorite word choices, etc. that particularly call out flagrant and even covert switching and spotlight this as "abnormal" in society. There are dozens of colloquialisms for abberations of mood, behavior, appearance, etc. that highlight this cultural bias and stigma. It needs to be dropped if plurals are to be safe in public spaces, and we know it's possible because when people are in plural-safe-spaces, these changes of mood, appearance, behavior, verbal or physical habits, etc. are taken in stride.
- Normalize accent switching. Don't get all weird about people changing accents. It happens.
- Trust our perception and self-knowledge as you would anyone else. If someone said they believe a religion, you don't give them the 5th degree. Don't question what we percieve and believe any more than anyone else. This is similar to any other belief system or religion, and should not be open to question.
- Accepting all(!) forms of plurality, and not questioning them.
- Plurality being seen as normal and healthy as long as the system does not ask for help, diagnosis or accommodation due to dysfunction, disability or distress.
- No more "jokes" about DID.
- Wider social acceptance of polyamory in general, and understanding various ways that plurals can function in poly relationships. Headmates can maintain independent individual relationships.
- Plural-safe spaces
- Plural-aware customer service, managers, law enforcement & social workers/services. Folk should be aware that a young alter may front or that amnesias can happen where someone becomes bewildered and doesn't understand where they are or what they were doing without it becoming an emergency situation. Helping someone relax and helping them stay safe for a few minutes, the situation is likely to fix itself.
Medical Autonomy & Accommodations
- DID not as a consideration for HRT beyond getting basic non-coercive reassurance that the system has been consulted and has agreed within their own decision-making models and come to an understanding as a group. Take our word for it. You would if we were singular.
- Destigmatization of group therapy & support groups for plurals and folk with DID & OSDD. Allowing members to socialize outside of facilitated groups without repercussions.
- Plural-aware medical staff [Criss-note: story of pharmacy]. Understanding differences in self-reported symptoms, physiological changes, pain tolerance, ability to understand instructions and directions, medication tolerance or efficacy differences. Differences in cognition and communication ability may affect ability to self-report symptoms to medical staff, and amnesias may make it difficult to report at all. So if DID is suspected or diagnosed, medical staff should be alert to the need to spend a little more time with the client to make sure they're getting accurate diagnostic and medical information, and perhaps ask more questions about symptoms, side-effects, medication doses & efficacy, as well as giving written instructions that the client can take home and share with others in their system.
- Guaranteed on-demand presence of a designated person of trust during all medical appointments, procedures, and consultations.
- Medical/scientific funding for research on overlap with other neurodivergent traits medical personnel resist comorbid plurality and autism, for example. But self-reports throughout the community show potential Venn-diagram overlaps and that they are not mutually exclusive while medical personnel, following the myths of "higher intellect" in DID and myths of "lower intellect" in autism, refuse to recognize comorbiditites or overlaps. They have yet to prove they must be mutually exclusive, which is a barrier to diagnosis and treatment or accommodations.
- We do not want to be excluded from definitions of plurality or diagnosable disorders based on our subjective perceptions of our origins. Whether we believe we created our plurality, were born plural, became plural through spiritual experiences, were traumatized, etc. we are plural. Whether we seek out or qualify for a diagnosis is a separate question, our choice, and entirely valid per the usual criteria.
- Don't ask for "gender" and "title" on forms. Gendering people, requiring gender, boxing people into gender, and giving limited options for gender. 3 options isn't enough. Use gender-neutral pronouns for people you don't know, whether singular or plural.
- Recognition of our group and individual pronouns some prefer they/them, some would like other pronouns, but being recognized as a group entity is affirming and comforting for those who seek it.
- Reconsidering "Real Name" Policies that disproportionately affect plural systems, trans persons, and victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and organized abuse groups. Kuza was going to cover this but could not present. Services and apps that require a real name can be very dangerous for some people, and it can be as simple as preference or it can be a life-or-death need to work under an assumed name.
- Accepting & acknowledgement that some folk in any audience might be plural i.e. don't automatically assume everyone in your audience is one-to-a-body.
- Quiet & socializing spaces outside of vendor area at events and conferences (as seen for Autism conferences).
- A place without music for chat/conversation and impromptu conversations.
- A space with sensory limitations for no-conversation defragmentation/unloading/rest.
- A craft/play/creative area for younger folk or creative folk to get some time.
- Dump the outdated Jeckyll/Hyde trope being applied to DID. It's not about DID. A grown man takes a potion that unleashes his Id. It's about patriarchal violence being barely contained, not about DID. Read the damn book.
- Plural representation in media as normal people, heroes, doctors, politicians, etc. Not the plot-twist, just a person. Falling in love, making mistakes, picking themselves up, just being boring. The main character's roommate in a sitcom. Someone's love-interest in a romantic comedy. No killer personalities.
- University departments should stop excluding education on plurality from curriculums. Stop calling it "controversial". Stop excluding it from professional trainings. It's shameful that the education of the entire health care industry including psychology, medical doctors, case workers, social workers, first responders and peer professionals, fails to include how to recognize or treat a valid DSM and ICD disorder that affects 1-3% of the population.
- Educating the general public about mental health, neurodiversity, sensitivity training, and empathy, etc. would be a huge boon to everyone.
- Open acknowledgement of plurals and our challenges as well as potential strengths in the workplace.
- Ability to be openly plural and out in more than just a few workplaces and industries.
- Workforce assistance, training programs, and other employment support including job placement and employer training.
- Inclusion of plural, trauma survivor and mental health issues in workforce sensitivity and anti-harassment trainings.
- Apps that allow multiple log-ins some who share a body and devices would enjoy easier ways to switch between several accounts, where Terms of Service allow it. This goes for games, gaming profiles, social media accounts, websites, etc.
- Early-intervention programs: education of social workers especially those working with abused, neglected & trafficked children to know the signs of dissociation and trauma so that they can be given proper support and therapy ASAP and head off dysfunctional and distressed plurality as early as possible. Basically recognize when plurality is an additional complication for trauma. All such children should be screened for trauma and PTSD or C-PTSD and related disorders and get early intervention.
- recognition of plural system member testimonies as valid in court
- recognition of crimes against plurals as hate crimes along with neurodiversity and disability hate crimes.
Other comments from the community we aren't sure everyone could agree to or there may be strong opposition to:
recognition of plurality as a possible long term disability (DID already exists as a disorder, and it's likely that DID &/or OSDD or both should be recognized as potential long-term-disabilities since they take 6-8 years to diagnose and upwards of 10 years to treat if not longer, and are often debilitating.)
recognition that plurality cannot be cured - The phrasing is the only issue. With this phrasing one is missing that plurality doesn't need to be cured in the first place. So we would word it "Recognition that plurality is not a disease and doesn't need to be cured at all."