Tasmanian big love
On the opposite side of Earth from most of us, folks running PolyOz ("Oz" is Aussie for Australia) got written up in the daily newspaper of Hobart, Tasmania. The occasion was the Big Love series returning to local TV.
When Three's Not A Crowd
By Rebecca Fitzgibbon
...A defining factor of Poly relationships is that everyone involved knows about, and agrees to, everyone else’s involvement.
Former Tasmanian Shane Jones is administrator of the Australian online network of poly communities, PolyOz. Now living in Victoria, he believes the important goal is encouraging understanding. ‘‘Big Love does actually portray well in that the women are there by their own choosing they join the relationship,’’ he said. ‘‘The important thing is that it’s made clear to people that no one is coerced into it.’’
...After [the show's] success on SBS, [Channel] Nine approached Shane, his two female partners and other PolyOz members with an interview request from 60 Minutes.
They declined the interview, as well as one with Woman’s Day, which offered $3000 each for interviews. Potential sensationalism made them wary, despite their being willing to discuss the reality of polyamorous life.
‘‘Acceptance is the biggest thing,’’ Shane said. ‘‘The challenge that we’re facing today is probably what the gay community was facing in the 70s... and educating the public that we’re not a bunch of child molesters or preying at large, out to get people.’’
...Shane and Michelle met on an internet dating site soon after she ended a 17-year Monogamous marriage.... Shane was Open with Michelle from the start about his relationship with another woman. ‘‘When I met him... I had to do some soulsearching. I looked at the positives and negatives. It ended up being that his [having a] girlfriend wasn’t as big a negative as I thought it would be,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s about being honest with our feelings and saying ‘Yes, I do have another partner that I care for and I still want it to be open’. I found that very refreshing rather than being in a relationship where I was never allowed to tell my partner my feelings and be listened to and respected... Nothing is hidden.’’
Being accommodating of your partner’s emotional needs with other partners is not enough you have to be supportive as well, she said. ‘‘Polyamory is a journey and a lifestyle evolvement. Definitely for us, it’s not about sex it’s about having a loving relationship that is valid for all of us.
‘‘Polyamory is a step back to having an extended family, only slightly different. It’s more about having a true relationship with partners, not so much having a segregated family.’’
...Tasmania’s ground-breaking relationship register is leading the nation in recognising the rights of same-sex couples, but it does not presently permit multiple relationship registration.
At present, Australians seem to be more comfortable denying the existence of an intelligent, moral polyamorous community....
Did you think you'd ever see that last line in a Rupert Murdoch rag?
The article seems not to be on the newspaper's website, but you can read the full text here.
Just before the article came out, Shane had this to say about their interview experience:
It all went well. I have read the article before its submission earlier today and it seemed very positive. Rebecca was great to talk to and understanding of relationships that were 'outside the box'. I found her to be a lot more open in discussion of Polyamory than previous journalists and didn't get that feeling that she was out sensationalizing the lifestyle as has been my past experience. After all, we have had both good and bad experiences with the media and this time certainly had that good 'vibe' about it.
P.S.: If you want to see how a poly organization's website ought to be run to keep it fresh and lively, check out the PolyOz site.