Is Relationship Anarchy a Queer Identity?

Topher the Love Coach
2 min readApr 8, 2021

Relationship Anarchy is a relative newcomer to the world of alternative relationship styles. Coined in a 2006 manifesto written by Andie Nordgren, a member of a Scandinavian counterculture art group, the concept quickly spread across the globe. Focusing on consciously creating each relationship free from the expectations assigned to specific labels, RA presents a radical departure from societal norms. But is it queer?

When I say queer, I’m using the reclaimed sense of the term that began in the late 1980’s with Queer Nation and the queer movement. As the stereotype of the clean-cut, effeminate gay man in pastels became the face of LGBT in the United States, the founders of Queer Nation found themselves increasingly alienated within their own community. “We’re not gay,” they said, “We’re different. We’re strange. We’re queer.”

Their use of the term queer was intended to describe an identity that was outside the mainstream. While the broader LGBT movement sought cultural acceptance, Queer Nation and the queer movement that sprung up around it was anti-assimilation.

The two groups couldn’t have been more different in how they approached the concept of equal rights. The push from the gay community was additive. They demanded legislation to ensure equal rights with people in straight relationships in three core areas: access to marriage, adoption, and military service. QN insisted that rights were universal and a matter of human dignity. They argued that the state had no moral authority to establish a heirarchy of rights in the first place and that a standing military was incompatible with civilized society.

Queer Nation’s anti-establishment, pacifist views garnered the support of organized leftist organizations, but the movement collapsed under the juggernaut of the greater LGBT movement and its trinity of conservative-friendly goals. Perhaps the final nail in the coffin of the queer movement was the addition of the Q to LGBT, bringing queer identities back into the fold.

Today’s relationship anarchists take up many of the same issues as the queer movement. From an initial statement of “I do not create a hierarchy of value in my relationships,” relationship anarchists come to confront the moral authority of the state to regulate relationships and participation in violent and discriminatory state-sponsored structures. This makes Relationship Anarchy as a philosophical movement a spiritual successor of Queer Nation and, in as much as a person claims it as a part of their identity, a queer identity.

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Topher the Love Coach
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Topher has spent most of their life studying and teaching the psychological and sociological underpinnings of interpersonal relationships.