Tamara Pincus has been out as bi since she was a teen. It took her many more years, though, to embrace her polyamorous side.
She and husband Eric have been married 11 years but she’s also had relationships with women. She also has a partner named James she’s been with two years. Eric has another partner as well.
Pincus, 37, was born in Seattle but grew up in Massachusetts and New York. She’s in private practice as a psychotherapist and sex therapist (tamarapincus.com) and also leads a monthly poly discussion group at the D.C. Center. It usually meets on the third Thursday of each month, though the March meeting will be March 27 because of a prior commitment. She came to Washington 16 years ago.
She says the LGBT movement should be open to less “heteronormativity.”
“I understand why the gay marriage movement has tried to make it look like we’re all just like you with two very normal looking white men with this happy little family, but we also need to be accepting of people who are different too,” she says. “You silence a lot of voices when you say, ‘We’re all just like you.’”
Pincus has two sons, ages 5 and 7 and lives in Alexandria. She enjoys board games and spending time with her family in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out as bi at 16 and as poly three years ago. The hardest people to tell were definitely parents of my kids’ friends, one of whom ran into my husband when he was on a date with someone else. It hasn’t really been hard to tell people I’m bi.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Buck Angel, Diana Adams, Anita Wagner Illig I could go on. I have a lot of heroes.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Describe your dream wedding.
Well, I had a big wedding at a resort in Leesburg complete with my red velvet dress. My grandmother said I looked like I belonged in a bordello. I don’t think I would want to get married again.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I am working really hard to make a more sex-positive world. I think accurate sex ed covering issues like consent would go a long way to ending child sexual abuse. I think addressing sexual shame would decrease so-called sex addiction and other problematic sexual behaviors. There are so many places where our culture’s being completely shut down around sexuality is harming us. Abortion rights for instance? Access to birth control? I could go on and on.
What historical outcome would you change?
If you change history then you change the present and I have no idea where we would be if what has happened hadn’t. Still if I had to pick one it would be nice if the Holocaust hadn’t happened.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
No idea. I would say some big influences have been “The Princess Bride” and “Rocky Horror.”
On what do you insist?
Consent! For instance I recently had to stop a stranger at a party from tickling my child without consent.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I took the Muppet quiz and found out that I am Kermit. Usually I post a lot of articles about trans issues, poly issues and sex worker rights.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Lately, Coming Out Poly.” (Which, as it turns out, is the title of the book I’m working on with my brother-in-law — formerly my brother-out-law. Thanks, legalized gay marriage in New York.)
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I love being able to love everyone. I wouldn’t change it.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe there are energies that science has not quite gotten a grip on yet.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
The more inclusive the better. I’ve felt kind of left out in a lot of ways even though I was very active in the LGBT movement in high school and college.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
World peace? A person I love? Who comes up with these scenarios?
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
The stereotypes about bi women that they will have sex with everyone or that they are just here to provide sexual entertainment for straight men.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
It’s a toss up between “But I’m a Cheerleader” and “The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls In Love.” There has yet to be a movie that comes close to covering the queer poly kinky world in which I live.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
All the ones where you try to look like everyone else or portray “normal” are highly overrated.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The “Vicki” Sexual Freedom Award given to individuals or organizations whose work and/or life embodies the mission and vision of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance to affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That it is really OK to be different and let others see your imperfections.
Well, if there’s a place that needs sex therapists, this is it. But really it’s because the people I love are here and I wouldn’t want to leave them.