Young activists show how it's done
Young Milwaukee Poly, an energetic new bunch of poly-awareness folks, gets some good local publicity on TMJ4-TV. They're featured in a 3-minute TV report that was broadcast at 10 p.m. last night (July 17, 2009). An article also appears on the station's website; it's a transcript of the video:
Big Love in Wisconsin
By Courtny Gerrish
MILWAUKEE A wife, husband, and his girlfriend all in the same house?! That's a typical day for one Milwaukee "family," and they aren't alone.
Boone Dryden, 28, loves being with his wife Ashley...AND his girlfriend Lyndzi Miller.... "It's normal for us. I mean we do the same thing in coffee shops, go to movies, or go out to dinner," Ashley explains.
All three practice Polyamory having more than one intimate relationship at a time.
"There are all sorts of variations. From triads, to in our case a 'W', cuz I'm at the center, and Ashley and Lyndzi both have other relationships outside of me," Boone explains.
Lyndzi met the Dryden's two years ago. She explains her attraction to the Polyamorous lifestyle, "I keep seeing all these relationships just crash and burn, and when I thought about marriage and open relationships, it was just, well, maybe that's the way to go."
So they formed a group called "Young Milwaukee Poly," where other Polyamorous and Poly-curious people can discuss the issues they face. They meet monthly at the Tool Shed on Milwaukee's east side.
Kris Jernberg has been Poly for 10 years. She says the biggest misunderstanding is the sex issue. "I'm not a swinger. I have to have a connection with the person I'm involved with," Jernberg says.
Rachel Keuler and Jeff Bauer are newer to the lifestyle. Rachel admits the jealousy factor can be tough. "I don't think you can ever really overcome jealousy, but find a way to deal with it in a constructive manner," Rachel says.
Psychotherapist Judy Bruett is a relationship expert. She has seen many relationship scenarios, but admits Polyamory is one of the most complicated.
"It just seems like it would be asking for trouble....and you'd have to have a lot of really good, honest, communication," she warns.
In fact, that's one of Boone's main messages to the group the importance of communication.
"We talk about everything, so I don't have to be jealous, they don't have to be jealous," Boone explains.
Even though it's not always easy, we found most people are proud to be Poly, and they aren't afraid to talk about it.
"The less shame you feel about something when you're telling someone about it, the less they're going to feel like you should be ashamed of it," Bauer points out.
Jernberg adds, "I figure the more love there is in the world, the better. Period."
...About 20 to 25 people attend the monthly meetings, and attendance continues to grow. You can find more information on their Web site, www.comingoutpoly.com.
Here's the original article.
And here's the TV broadcast. They look and sound great. Kudos for presenting our message so well! Pay attention, folks; this is how to do it.
Side note: It's interesting that so many use their full names in the media. I have an impression that young polys, raised with the internet, are more ready to be out in public, compared to older generations who may have lives more deeply invested in conventional versions of respectability.
Ashe, Boone, and Lyndzi started the discussion group last January. At that time they did a good interview with the city's weekly alternative newspaper The Shepherd Express. You can read it on ExpressMilwaukee.com, the paper's website:
All In the Family
By Laura Anne Stuart, MPH
...Ashe is a 22-year-old techie who's married to Boone, a 28-year-old writer and editor. Boone is dating Lyndzi, a 21-year-old student at UW-Milwaukee, and Lyndzi is dating John, a 23-year-old salesperson... Although each person in the group is not romantically involved with all three of the others, they are all friends and consider themselves a family.
...Over coffee and knitting (Ashe and Lyndzi are each working on a pair of gloves), we talked about their plans for the group.
Laura: So, why did you want to start the Young Milwaukee Poly group?
Ashe: It's extremely important to have community. The LGBT community is excellent in Milwaukee; there are so many different places to get support and related to people. There really isn't anything like that for poly people.
Boone: When you're part of a community, you can share knowledge and experiences and help someone else out. While we have different experiences in our poly relationships, we all [have] similar emotions and setbacks. Having a community can provide people to listen.
Lyndzi: For people that are new to the poly community, we've been through a lot of the ups and downs of being poly. One of the things new couples ask is, "Is this normal for this type of relationship?"
Laura: What is it like being poly in Milwaukee?
Ashe: I have not had any negative feedback. I'm out to all my friends. Most people are like, "What does that mean? How does that work?" Talking to other people in the same situation who are afraid to come out there's a lot of fear there for no reason....
Boone: I agree and disagree.... Poly seems so foreign and beyond the norm. I've had adverse reactions, but only from a couple of people older, more conservative. The automatic assumption was that I was having an affair and lying about the fact that my wife knew.
Ashe: Education changes everything, once people realize that it's a responsible, ethical choice and not cheating and being dishonest and hiding feelings. There's a logical reason that people choose this lifestyle people have the capacity to love more than one person. Cheating seems more acceptable because it's been going on forever and polyamory is foreign. This is illogical!
Laura: Why did you want the group to focus on people in their 20s and 30s?
Boone: There are a lot of younger individuals who are interested [in polyamory] and probably practicing to a certain extent and don't even know it. We're trying to tell them that it's OK and pull them out of the closet. Older couples have been doing it a while and are past the point of caring what other people think. Younger people have probably only had a couple of relationships, have more questions, and want to know if things are normal. Community is the key to this. We want people to know that it's OK, they're not strange, and to let people know that there are other people like them....
The whole interview (Jan. 15, 2009).