Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

July 10, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: Poly epiphanies, warning tales, and after Somerville, is Cambridge next?

Not so big a batch this week.

●  Minor aftershocks continue around the world from the news that Somerville, Massachusetts, has become the first city in the US to recognize domestic partnerships of more than two people. Many of the continuing follow-ons are in small religious publications expecting the end of days. More interesting was one in a local conservative outlet, the New Boston Post, whose reporter quizzed city councilors in Somerville's neighbor Cambridge — another poly-rich city — about whether they intend to follow suit. Where’s Cambridge on Recognizing Threesomes? City Councilors Address Polyamory (July 7)

By Tom Joyce

...Cambridge already has a domestic partner ordinance, but it only applies to two people living together.

However, two of the nine members of the Cambridge City Council tell New Boston Post they would like to change that.

That includes Councilor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, who cited making it easier for people who consider themselves loved ones to visit a partner in the hospital.

“Somerville recently removed barriers to recognition for polyamorous relationships by passing a domestic partnership ordinance that doesn’t limit the definition of partnership to two people,” he told New Boston Post in an email message. “I’d be happy to see Cambridge remove those barriers as well so that all our residents can have the same benefit of visiting their partner in the hospital regardless of their relationship status. As one of the Somerville City Councilors noted, government has historically gotten things wrong when it’s tried to define what a family is.”

...Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan also sees Somerville’s change as a step in the right direction.

“I am excited about the change in Somerville and I’m very supportive of updating Cambridge’s Domestic Partnership ordinance accordingly,” Zondervan said... “Cambridge should build on this pioneering ordinance by joining Somerville in legally recognizing polyamorous relationships, which are valid family arrangements deserving of equal recognition and protection.

“People in polyamorous relationships should be able to access the legal benefits that come with domestic partnership, including the right to confer health insurance benefits or make hospital visits,” he said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the community to update this law as soon as possible.”

Conversely, Councilor Denise Simmons told New Boston Post that it’s not an issue that’s on her mind. ...

Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui could not be reached for comment on Monday.

●  A long Poly 101, well-meaning but scattered, appeared in the UK edition of the posh women's magazine Elle: A Definition of Polyamory, How It Works And Why It's Not All About Sex (July 6). The author, obviously new to the subject, bumbled a number of things but did better when she just quoted more knowledgeable people. Starting with the definition.

Nick Dolding / Getty

By Becky Burgum

...As explained by Dr Elisabeth Sheff, author of The Polyamorists Next Door, to Psychology Today in 2018, 'Polyamory is a form of consensual non-monogamy (CNM) with emotionally intimate relationships among multiple people that can also be sexual and/or romantic partners.'

...The term 'polyamory' is believed to have been officially coined and popularised by US poet Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart in 1990, in an article entitled A Bouquet of Lovers. In 1999, she was asked by the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary to provide a definition, reports the Dictionary. [She] defined polyamory as: 'The practice, state or ability of having more than one sexual loving relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved.'


...Charyn Pfeuffer, 47, from Seattle and author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating, has dated both monogamously and non-monogamously over the years. ... The author explains that given her huge capacity to love and care for others, non-monogamy (specifically polyamory) allows her to tear down the social constructs we’ve been taught, and allows her to love multiple partners with total transparency.

'Polyamory isn’t for everyone; ditto for monogamy,' Pfeuffer continues.... 'Like any relationship, it’s a commitment (but with multiple partners) and requires constant work.'

Philip Lee Harvey / Getty

...'Free love' or non-monogamy has been practised for millions of years, with anthropologists arguing that polyamory was common among hunter-gather societies.

As psychologist and author Christopher Ryan previously stated: 'These overlapping, intersecting sexual relationships strengthened group cohesion and could offer a measure of security in an uncertain world.'


...The boundaries of all polyamorous relationships can be different, like they are in other types of unions.

Dedeker Winston, co-host of the Multiamory podcast and author of The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory, currently has two partners who she's been in relationship with for seven and four years, respectively.

'I haven't had any kind of "rule setting" conversation with either of my partners,' says Winston. 'But we have, over the course of the relationship, figured out mutual best practices that make sense.'

Practices include communicating honestly, being proactive in talking about sexual health and having regular relationship check-ins to make sure everyone is feeling fulfilled.

'I like to turn more towards figuring out my personal boundaries and coming up with best practices with each partner,' Winston, who is also a relationship coach, continues. 'In my work with clients, I see restrictive rules often fail miserably as many people find themselves agreeing to rules that they can't abide by once they are actually exploring multiple relationships.' She argues that this often leads to rules-lawyering or finding loopholes....

...'I can say hands down that I've experienced more joy, trust, compassion, growth, and moments of tenderness than I ever did in monogamous relationships in my past,' she notes.

...Dedeker explains that people often make the assumption that polyamory is something that couples do, rather than something that individuals do. ... Our monogamy-dominant cultural narratives lead many people to believe that you can only really care about one person romantically.'

Mangostar_Studio / Getty

Is polyamory the same as an open relationship?

Not necessarily, although both are considered non-monogamous.

According to the Handbook of the Sociology of Sexualities, an open relationship is typically defined as having sexual intercourse with others (other than one's partner/spouse) but that those sexual encounters don't develop into relationships. Meanwhile, polyamory involves having multiple relationships. Love and emotional connections are the driving forces in the latter.

In 2018, Renee Divine, L.M.F.T., a sex and relationships therapist in Minneapolis, clarified the difference to Women's Health, noting: 'An open relationship is one where one or both partners have a desire for sexual relationships outside of each other, and polyamory is about having intimate, loving relationships with multiple people.' ...

●  From a Medium author comes Did You Actually Think That Polyamorous Relationship Would Work? (July 10).  It's an object lesson about a quad of naive newbies that exploded because they failed to grasp, like so many people from mainstream culture, the foundational work they needed to do around boundary discussions, building serious non-mainstream relationship skills, and creating a culture among themselves of abundant fearless communicating.

Janet Sung

The more, the merrier’ doesn’t always apply — especially without the proper boundaries.

By Aliya S. King

A few years ago, a man and his wife wanted to inject a little excitement into their sex life. They decided to add a third party — a woman who was interested but was also married. They made arrangements for both couples to have a few meet-and-greets over drinks. Things clicked, and one night, that foursome met up at an area hotel, where they all had sex. A few weeks later, it all went down again.

There were never any conversations about the rules of engagement. It was simply two couples that were attracted to each other having some fun.

I heard about this arrangement for months. It was all about this spicy new sex, which made their challenging adult lives — soul-crushing jobs and raising young children — more bearable. My friend called it a polyamorous relationship, but I knew better. Polyamory is often about much more than just sex; it’s an actual relationship. I kept my thoughts to myself, though, mostly because I wasn’t asked.

Over time, the two couples’ relationship morphed from strictly sexual to something more. The women set up poker nights with friends on the weekends and met at Starbucks for the occasional post-yoga coffee. The two men went to sports bars and watched gaming events often. The four people enjoyed each other’s company in and out of the bedroom. Eventually, they all began to attend their children’s sporting events and school activities together.

...I watched this poly relationship grow over time, and I wondered to myself, did they ever set any boundaries? Turns out, they had not.

One day, the two dudes got into a minor tiff over a golf game. They stopped speaking and expected their wives to follow suit — but the wives had no intention of doing such. They lied to their husbands and began sneaking around to hang out. Eventually, the weekend sex continued… without their husbands.

In time, the shenanigans came to light. They all went into therapy to set boundaries, but it was too late. Both couples divorced.

Kicker: The two wives are now in a relationship together.

Yes, polyamory exists. And yes, with the right boundaries and communication, it can work. But most of the time, people fast forward past that part and jump straight into bed for the sex portion of the programming.

...After watching my friend’s life go left, I’ve learned that a polyamorous relationship takes planning and forethought because a poly relationship is only as strong as its weakest person-to-person bond. I truly believe that my friend’s poly relationship could’ve made it had both couples sat down, both separately and together, to discuss what they wanted and how they’d handle various scenarios (like, say, a conflict between the two couples).

...Are you built for it? Ask your partner the following:

    What do we do if one of us begins to feel uncomfortable or jealous?
    What do we do if we no longer want to participate in the sexual part of the relationship?
    What do we do if anyone at all feels anything off, ever, at any point in time?

If you can go in with those three questions answered, either between you or with the help of a professional, your relationship might be able to handle the risks. ...

Asking and answering such questions isn't enough, say I. You need to settle on realistic answers! For that, learning the poly-community wisdom will probably do you better than some therapist. To improve your odds, seek out good, experienced poly community.  

● A queer black solopoly woman writes in The Guardian, My pandemic epiphany: the best part of having eight partners is being alone (July 10)

On my 20th birthday, the first person I’d ever been in a long-term relationship with proposed to me. We’d been dating for almost three years. I said yes. Everyone we knew was shocked. ...

When my partner proposed, he knew the deal. We were both queer weirdos who were happy to explore. We had multiple discussions outlining our boundaries. We read books like Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up [written for couples – Ed.] and thought we had our open relationship figured out. ... As long as we were each other’s primaries, it didn’t matter. Sure, I thought most people who decided to get married at 20 were rushing into a mistake, but we were different. We had rules.

Of course, we were not different. Two years after the proposal, we would break up after a number of rules were broken. Our shared copy of Opening Up was left in a Goodwill donation bin, despite the personal inscription from Taormino herself wishing us luck.

...Freshly single, I started identifying as solo poly. Solo polyamorous people have no boyfriends, no wives or open marriages; no primary or secondary partners. Instead of using labels, the needs, rules and responsibilities of the relationship are agreed with each partner you have. [That actually sounds more like the Relationship Anarchy wing.]

To sum that up, basically, my relationship status is almost always: I’m seeing people, but I’m also single. The people I’m seeing know this. I’m also bisexual and date people across the gender spectrum.

...Over seven years, I’ve redefined my rules and expectations multiple times based on my needs as a queer black woman. At this point, it’s easy to spot the red flag [if] the second someone thinks I might save their marriage or spice up their life. I stick to my rules and I don’t have to waste my time. In solo polyamory, I am mostly able to embrace my isolation. It’s hard to explain, but my favorite part of having eight partners is being alone.

...When the world was forced to isolate, I realized my real motivation for being poly. It’s not my single-parent upbringing or some dark tragedy I survived. It’s not an insatiable need for drama or outsider status. It is an absolutely boring love of rules. 

That's Friday Polynews Roundup for now. See you next week if not sooner. Be safe, don't be a knucklehead (or let them near you), and we will get through this. Somehow, eventually.

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July 3, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup – Poly domestic partnerships recognized, keeping community during Covid, polyandry for China? And more

Welcome to Friday Polynews Roundup for July 3, 2020.

●  The city of Somerville, Massachusetts, became the first in the US to enact a domestic-partnership ordinance that includes polyamorous partnerships of three or more people. 

The news broke in the local Somerville paper on Wednesday, when I first posted about it. Now the news has gone national, first in the Boston Globe, then the New York Times, CNN, Fox News and elsewhere. And, later, around the globe (for instance Vietnam Times). I've updated that original post accordingly.

The Globe has just followed up with a short feature article quoting some well-known poly community leaders locally and elsewhere: Somerville’s new polyamory-friendly policy a ‘turning point' (July 2):

Somerville City Hall

A new domestic partnership policy in Somerville that recognizes polyamorous relationships is a powerful symbol, advocates and academics said, though the specifics of its protections remain limited.

...“The Somerville ordinance is an exciting turning point for people who are polyamorous or in multipartner families,” said Diana Adams, the executive director of the Chosen Family Law Center in New York. “There has been tremendous momentum and energy and hope for this for many years.”

Adams said the law center hoped to push similar ordinances in other small, progressive cities, in a strategy similar to the one that secured the legalization of same-sex marriage across the country. ...

While it broadens and reframes the idea of who counts as a family, the legal protections conferred by the ordinance seem to be narrow, said Kimberly Rhoten, an attorney and graduate student at Boston University who focuses on how the law relates to gender and sexual minorities.

Any benefit that the city provides to domestic partners — like hospital or prison visits — can now also apply to multiple partners in a domestic partnership. But private employers aren’t required to provide health insurance for domestic partners. So one of the primary concerns that prompted the ordinance, accessing health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, remains unaddressed, Rhoten said. And the question of how the ordinance might affect state and federal family leave is unclear, she said.

“It’s a signaling boost for this community that the city is recognizing more than two partnerships,” Rhoten said. “However there are legal pitfalls involved with the ordinance. We’ll wait and see what happens.”

...Under the ordinance, people qualify for a domestic partnership if they “consider themselves to be a family” and are “in a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment and intend to remain in such a relationship.” It does not require that domestic partners be in a romantic relationship.

...Some described it as one piece of a much broader movement for LGBTQ rights.

“I would say that polyamory and consensual non-monogamy in general is riding on the coattails of queer liberation,” said Elisabeth ‘Eli’ Sheff, an international expert on children growing up in polyamorous families and author of the book “The Polyamorists Next Door.” “I definitely see it as a trend towards greater recognition of existing diversity.”

That recognition is one of the crucial parts of the new ordinance, said Jay Sekora, who runs the group Poly Boston, which has about 500 members and hosted dinner outings and discussion group in pre-pandemic times. ...

“I was really excited that a town in my state would recognize the fact that families can’t be defined by government restricting the number of people, or the genders of the people involved, or anything like that,” said Valerie White, the executive director of the Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is based in Sharon. White said she has been practicing non-monogamy since the 1960s.


●  Polyandry is proposed to solve China's massive gender imbalance. China, like India, has a crisis-level overabundance of men. Both societies traditionally value sons over daughters. Combine that with economic and population pressures to have have small families, plus sex-determination technology for aborting female fetuses, and China now has tens of millions of men who will never be able to marry. "Bare branches" of the family tree, they are called.

In societies everywhere, "excess males" are known to correlate with social instability, crime gangs, private armies on the loose, and countries making war on their neighbors, conveniently keeping the excess males away from home and maybe using them up. The Chinese know they have a problem. 

By Anna Fifield 

Chinese authorities have been trying for three years to reverse the devastating imbalances of their one-child policy and coax couples to have more children. ... None of this has worked. China’s birthrate remains stubbornly low and men greatly outnumber women, creating a demographic crisis....

But now, an economics professor at Fudan University in Shanghai has come up with another — and, unsurprisingly, controversial — solution: Allow women to have multiple husbands, and they will have multiple babies.

“I wouldn’t suggest polyandry if the gender ratio was not so severely imbalanced,” Yew-Kwang Ng, who is Malaysian, wrote in his regular column on a Chinese business website this month. The headline asked: “Is polyandry really a ridiculous idea?” ...

The Post got the news from the China-watchers' site SupChina:  Should Chinese women have multiple husbands? (June 3):

Yew-Kwang Ng offers his proposal

The controversial article (in Chinese) was published on June 2 by NetEase Finance, a website dedicated to business news. Titled “Is polyandry really a ridiculous idea?” the piece is part of a weekly column written by [Ng]. In the latest installment of the series, [Ng, sometimes given as "Huang"] said that in China, where the sex ratio was 117 men to 100 women, the severe gender imbalance has caused a fierce competition among males looking for wives, leaving millions of bachelors struggling to “have their psychological and physical needs satisfied.”

Huang then [proposed] decriminalizing sex work and allowing women to have several husbands.

...“Polyandry has a long history and a scope of application. The practice also exists in modern times,” Huang wrote, citing an example of Tibet, where polyandry became illegal after China’s annexation in 1950.

...Some people opposed his idea because polyandry defied their traditional views about marriage. But more people, mostly women, criticized Huang for his misogynist attitude toward women, saying that he saw women as nothing more than reproductive tools and objects to fulfill men’s sexual needs. ...

The polyandry solution has been floated in China before. The fact that government censors allow this discussion suggests that the government is not opposed in principle.

A wider culture of modern, gender-egalitarian polyamory might make the idea a little more plausible — especially from the women's point of view. We've already seen stirrings of modern polyamory in China and Hong Kong, but it's got a very long way to go.

The real answer, of course, is to dump a whole tangle of bad culture overboard and start valuing girls as much as boys.  

● Plenty of poly-in-the-time-of-Covid articles have appeared in mainstream media; scroll through the last three months here. Most of them are fairly alike.

But here's one from inside the poly world's Neo-Pagan wing, a source of our being that goes back more than 30 years through the originators of the word itself. So the article is more interesting than most, despite a bland headline. It speaks of the damage not just to private poly relationships but to our wider communal sensibility. And it makes the encouraging point that this is hitting us nowhere near like AIDS hit the gay community, and look how strong they came back.    

The Wild Hunt is a Pagan community news site that has been running since at least 2000. Pagan and poly during COVID-19 (June 29). 

By Manny Tejeda-Moreno

Sam can’t begin to tell how many changes COVID-19 has forced on his relationships. “I don’t know,” he says. “I’ve lost count.

Sam... has a wife and a boyfriend who live apart from one another. His wife was planning a vacation to Spain while Sam and his boyfriend, Manny, were planning to visit Chile. “All plans have been canceled,” Sam says. “But that’s not the hard part. Our relationships are on hold.”... Sam has only seen his partners online since March – they video chat daily.

Many polyamorous people are experiencing similar situations.... One person, who requested not to be identified, said that her community and relationships had fallen apart because of social distancing. She lives in Spain, and the pandemic hit so forcefully and so completely there that her community has barely begun to process the trauma. Even now, she says, many will not see each other because of the risks it poses to their community.

Allie Phelan, the Polyamorous Librarian, agrees. While Phelan is not Pagan, she is an active advocate and educator on polyamory.

“Just a few months ago,” says Phelan, “we were a thriving community. There’s a polyamory holiday called Metamour Day, sponsored by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, where people honor their partners’ partners, and a group of about two dozen of us got together and had a potluck. It was an incredible way of celebrating how connected we all are. Some of us were meeting for the first time, and some of us had been friends long before the people involved had gotten together, so it was a great mix that showed a lot of different facets of what polyamory is all about.

“Now we don’t know when we could do something like that again, and almost none of us have seen each other anywhere but Zoom since then.”

Rayna Templebee, who lives in South Florida, identifies as a queer Pagan woman and is part of polyamorous relationships. She said her partners have talked about COVID-19, but her experience is a little different.

Rayna Templebee

“I think what we learned during the HIV pandemic hasn’t really been in play as much for poly people during the COVID pandemic since this isn’t a sexually transmitted disease,” says Templebee. “The conversations that poly people have all the time about their partners’ sexual status and health have made conversations about COVID and quarantine easier. I think there is just an acceptance within most of the poly world that our health is all inter-related and that’s important and worth careful attention.”

Some of this is well-trodden ground for the poly community. Manny, Sam’s partner, remembers HIV and the conversations around the pandemic when no cure was available. He mentioned to Sam that, although COVID-19 is not the same as the AIDS crisis, the negotiations seem the same. ...

...“Do I keep visiting my partner who lives three hours away or not?” she says, giving one example. “I live in a town that had a curfew at one point, that was a consideration in traveling to see him. I had conversations with him and my nesting partner about all our mutual risk exposure levels, and whether we were able to decide to be one biome for the quarantine. Since all three of us were working from home, we decided it was safe enough to continue visits and that we would maintain the boundaries of our biome – which also includes my adult kid who lives at home and goes nowhere. He is much more strict than the three of us. But then my partner’s daughter and her two moms – they live in another town, what to do about the monthly visits to see her?”

Many polyamorous individuals we contacted... confirmed the scope of emotional stress.

“Guilt is a big one around here,” says Phelan, “especially in regards to class issues. ... In a scenario like this one, you have people who can work from home who can much more safely ‘pod up’ than essential workers, leaving people isolated.”

“Podding up” is a form of the quarantine bubble... Pods require boundaries, dialogue, and negotiation – the strengths of the poly community noted earlier by Templebee.

Templebee said there are many in her community who are “deciding to create biomes like ours.” At the same time, she noted she has seen “lots of poly people putting any new dating completely on hold and hanging out in Zoom meetups instead – online gaming has been really popular in our poly meetup and I think a few people who have been gaming together may end up dating once they are comfortable with face to face interaction again.”

Not everyone in the polyamorous community is podding up, though, or even living with a partner. ...

●  Meanwhile Huffpost, in its series Risky Business: Love And Sex In A Germaphobic World, tags the poly/CNM base with a nice story: What It's Like To Be In An Open Relationship During COVID-19  (June 29). You may remember the first polyfamily it interviews, Summer, Jimmy, and Chacha Silva, from the tabloids:

Chacha, Jimmy, and Summer

Summer Rain, Chacha, and Jimmy Silva live together in Los Angeles as a triad.... The trio “wed” last year, after Jimmy proposed with rings made from the same stone, for symbolism’s sake. ...

Their relationship is also an open one: “We see other people, together,” Jimmy explained.

It’s a complicated arrangement that works perfectly for them. But now ... the last few months have been considerably more complicated for the trio.

“The pandemic has affected our travel plans, which we had arranged to see a date of ours,” Jimmy, who works in the cannabis industry, told HuffPost. “I think everyone has been less inclined to hang out and see other people.”

To compensate, the throuple has had a lot of virtual dates with new matches on Facetime.

...Once they do meet a [potential] sexual partner in person, they’re not going to take any risks; they care too much about each other to put each other’s safety on the line for sex, Jimmy said.


...Chloe, a digital creative worker in New York City, has been in an open relationship with her boyfriend for eight months. Since COVID, their mutually agreed-upon arrangement has morphed to fit the times.

Now, the couple each has a designated “safe” person they’re allowed to hang out with in an indoor setting. Everyone else is off-limits.

... “We trust that the two additional people we are spending time with indoors, without masks on, are being honest about their exposure to others too,” she said. “Of course, this comes with a risk, but we have set up precautions around it.”


...Many couples said they’re used to having candid conversations; strong open relationships tend to be transparent, with clear-cut rules that are renegotiated when necessary. Talking about the virus and what’s tentatively off-limits now is relatively easy, they said.

“The great thing about being in an open relationship is that we’ve become very comfortable and confident having conversations about sexual health and safety with our intimate partners, so for us with this pandemic it just means we are adding a few more questions to that list,” Lucie said.

The Silvas, meanwhile, said that making sure each person feels safe, secure and prioritized remains at the top of their minds. ... if [Jimmy] and his wives are seeing anyone new, they’re doing so because they have a baseline trust in that person, he said. And they’d certainly wait for that person to get tested or quarantine for 14 days.... “We communicate deeply and often with our partners. We’d normally know someone for the 14-day grace period prior before engaging in sex anyway.”

●  Batting away a different source of trouble, Polyamorous throuple hits back at cruel trolls, in Yahoo Lifestyle, June 29. 

By Kristine Tarbert

This polyamorous throuple is hitting back after cruel trolls told them they were ‘going to hell’.

Shayla Oliphant first met James Bolden in high school.... [In 2015] the couple decided to switch things up and spoke about extending their relationship. That’s when the pair, now 26 and 28, met Shantay Nelson, 30, and the group began their life as a throuple in 2019.

“Everything changed when Shantay joined us,” Shayla, from Arizona, said.

“James and I were able to watch each other fall in love with her, which extended our own relationship with each other. From the beginning, we all just clicked. ...

“Polyamory is something that has to be experienced to be fully understood. It’s about communication, commitment, and love. 

The trio has never been happier, yet navigating a polyamorous relationship isn’t without its struggles. ...

“Once after posting a picture of us all on Instagram, someone commented telling us how we were ‘disrespecting the Lord,’ and would ‘go to hell’ for what we were doing,” [Shayla] revealed.

[But closer to home,] “Everyone has been more than accepting to all of us. Shantay’s sister was hesitant at first but she realised how truly happy Shantay was. Likewise, my mother was confused but has warmed to the idea since then,” Shayla said.

“Thousands of people listen to our podcast, 3lationship Goals, and send messages of love and support - whether they are polyamorous or not. ...” 

●  And while we're going on with profiles of MFF triads, this one's making the rounds of the Murdochs' News Corp. empire: Colorado ‘throuple’ expecting first child, wants girlfriend to breastfeed. We first saw it on the site of the New York Post (July 1).

Jess Woodstock, Lo and Mike Taylor (@wearethr33_/Mercury Press)

By Jackie Salo

And baby makes four!

...Though Lo Taylor is carrying the baby, she and her husband, Mike Taylor, want to give their girlfriend, Jess Woodstock, a more hands-on role raising the little one, News.com.au reported.

“I wanted Jess to be in this baby as much as possible because it will look like me and Mike, so we want as much of her DNA as we can get too,” Lo told the outlet.

The Taylors were already married when they had a threesome with Woodstock in July 2018 that quickly progressed to something more serious.

“I remember the day after we met Jess we were at her house and we both agreed we wanted to see more of this girl, we both just loved being around her, it was organic like any normal relationship,” Lo said.

...Woodstock said she plans to sync up her cycle and hormones with Lo to stimulate her body’s milk production, the outlet reported.

...“Not a lot of women can say, ‘I’m going to take this shift off and let my girlfriend breastfeed tonight,'” Woodstock said. ...

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July 1, 2020

Somerville, Mass., Recognizes Polyamorous Domestic Partnerships

The city of Somerville, Massachusetts, has just passed a domestic partnership ordinance that includes polyamorous partnerships of more than two. Somerville is a progressive, densely populated of 81,000 bordering Cambridge and Boston. From the Somerville Journal today (July 1), via WickedLocal.com:

(Somerville High School, next to City Hall)

By Julia Taliesin

On June 29, Somerville quietly became one of the first cities in the nation – if not the first – to recognize polyamorous domestic partnerships.

The historic move was a result of a few subtle language shifts. For example, instead of being defined as an “entity formed by two persons,” Somerville’s ordinance defines a domestic partnership as an “entity formed by people,” replaces “he and she” with “they,” replaces “both” with “all,” and contains other inclusive language.

On June 25, the City Council passed the ordinance recognizing domestic partnerships unanimously, and on June 29 Mayor Joe Curtatone signed it into municipal law. The city is in the process of changing the application to include space for more than two partners, but polyamorous partners will be able to file soon.

Ward 6 Councilor Lance Davis, who chairs the Legislative Matters committee that reviewed the ordinance, said this began by just wanting to draft an ordinance recognizing domestic partnerships. Somerville didn’t have one, and a constituent request moved the council to work with the city on an ordinance.

“During our initial conversations, a couple things jumped out,” said Davis. “The first draft required domestic partners to notify the city of any change of address, which struck me as not in line with what married folks have to do, and required that they reside together, which again struck me as something I’m not required to do as a married person, so we got rid of those provisions.”

About an hour before the June 25 council meeting, he heard from fellow Councilor J.T. Scott.

″[He] reached out and said, ‘Why is this two?’ And I said, ‘I don’t have a good answer,’” said Davis. “I tripped over my words a bit, and played devil’s advocate, but I had no good reason. So, I pulled it out, went through quickly making whatever word changes necessary to make it not gendered or limited to two people.”

The ordinance passed unanimously.
“I’ve consistently felt that when society and government tries to define what is or is not a family, we’ve historically done a very poor job of doing so,” said Davis. “It hasn’t gone well, and it’s not a business that government should be in, so that guided my thinking on this.”

Leading the way
The changes are small, but powerful: If you put the Cambridge and Somerville ordinances side-by-side they appear nearly identical save for a few differences, namely that the Cambridge ordinance defines a domestic partnership as including only “two persons” and requires partners to live together.

It’s the first time that family law attorney Andy Izenson has seen a municipality do anything like this. Izenson is the senior legal director, vice president, and secretary of the nonprofit Chosen Family Law Center in New York. The center also has an initiative, the Poly Families Project, which offers direct, affordable legal support to polyamorous families across the country.

“I think it’s pretty amazing – strategies like this are the best chance we have of moving towards a legal understanding of family that’s as comprehensive as it needs to be to serve all families,” said Izenson. “I’ve seen a few other small-scale or local entities that have taken steps towards recognizing that relationships between adults are not only between two adults, but this is the first time I have seen this strategy brought to fruition.

Izenson noted states recognizing third-parent adoptions action that is close to offering broader rights to families, but pointed out that most gains in “marriage equality” have all been carefully defined as between two people.

“There’s a reflexive flinch away from families including more than two partners,” they said.

Izenson called out mainstream media, certain sects of Christianity, and the bottom-line of capitalism for maintaining this cultural flinch. For example, health insurance companies are incentivized to limit the definition of family so they do not have to cover more people.
Regardless, Izenson is hopeful that this move indicates even a small change in the way we think about the legal rights of families.

There are two kinds of legal advocacy: the bottom-up kind and the top-down kind. Top-down meaning law that comes from the Supreme Court...which, in terms of day-to-day life is more reflective of culture change than leading the way. This type of bottom-up work – local people making policy regarding their neighbors – that’s the sort of thing that’s not only reflective of a culture shift, but a shift towards acceptance and support of a broader variety of families.”

The original article (July 1). A sidebar notes that under Massachusetts law, domestic partners are not legally considered family and do not have many of the rights and responsibilities of the married. For instance they do not inherit a partner’s assets by default; the partner must write a will.


More ambitious local efforts have been bubbling elsewhere. As that article in Real Clear Investigations reported on April 22, 

Activists are already working with elected officials in more than a dozen local governments, especially in California, to expand local anti-discrimination ordinances to include a new protected class, “relationship structure,” said Berkeley psychologist and poly activist Dave Doleshal.

Most efforts are at the informal stage but the city of Berkeley did consider a formal proposal to extend protections in housing, employment, business practices, city facilities or education to swingers, polyamorists and other non-monogamists. The proposal stalled last year amid concerns that it would have required employers to provide health insurance to numerous sexual and romantic partners outside of marriage.

The Boston area has had a notable polyamory scene for at least 25 years, though it remains more scattered and unorganized than in many other progressive cities. Cambridge and Somerville, sometimes informally called "Camberville," have long had a significant poly presence along with their suburbs just to the north.

So about that ordinance: Cambridge, are you next? And how about those suburbs, Medford and Malden?


Update next day: The story made this morning's Boston Globe: Somerville recognizes polyamorous relationships in new domestic partnership ordinance (online July 1).  For a while it was the paper's second-most-read story online.

There's little in this brief piece that's new from the Somerville Journal story, but here are bits that are:

By Jeremy C. Fox

...The city had never had a domestic partnership ordinance before, [City Councilor Lance] Davis said, unlike Boston, Cambridge, and many other Massachusetts cities that introduced such policies before same-sex marriage became legal in the state in 2004.

The issue arose recently because of the coronavirus pandemic, as Somerville residents in committed relationships who aren’t married approached Davis and other councilors with concerns about being able to visit sick partners in the hospital, he said.

The inclusion of relationships between more than two consenting adults was added just before the meeting at the suggestion of Councilor J.T. Scott, according to Davis. ...

...So far, the public response to the measure has been entirely positive, Davis said.

“I got an e-mail from someone at my church that said, ‘Wow, this is amazing. Thank you so much for doing this,’ " he said. 

Ronaldo Schemidt/ AFP

By Ellen Berry

Under its new domestic partnership ordinance, the city of Somerville now grants polyamorous groups the rights held by spouses in marriage, such as the right to confer health insurance benefits or make hospital visits.

[JT Scott said], “Here in Somerville, families sometimes look like one man and one woman, but sometimes it looks like two people everyone on the block thinks are sisters because they’ve lived together forever, or sometimes it’s an aunt and an uncle, or an aunt and two uncles, raising two kids.”

He said he knew of at least two dozen polyamorous households in Somerville, which has a population of about 80,000.

“This is simply allowing that change, allowing people to say, ‘This is my partner and this is my other partner,’” he said. “It has a legal bearing, so when one of them is sick, they can both go to the hospital.”

...Under the new ordinance, city employees in polyamorous relationships would be able to extend health benefits to multiple partners. But it is not clear, Davis said, whether private employers will follow the city’s lead.

“Based on the conversations I’ve had,” he said, “the most important aspect is that the city is legally recognizing and validating people’s existence. That’s the first time this is happening.”

He said he had considered the possibility that a large number of people — say, 20 — would approach the city and ask to be registered as domestic partners.

“I say, well what if they do?” Davis said. “I see no reason to think that is more of an issue than two people.”

...[JT] Scott, the councilman, said he had been inundated by calls and messages all day, including from lawyers interested in pursuing a similar measure at the state or federal level.

Under the ordinance, domestic partners, whether in groupings of two or more, would not necessarily be romantic partners.

"Folks live in polyamorous relationships and have for probably forever. Right now, our laws deny their existence and that doesn't strike me as the right way to write laws at any level," said Davis. "Hopefully this gives folks a legal foundation from which to have discussion. Maybe others will follow our lead."

A 2-minute video report from Boston's NBC News-10: 

A left-leaning Massachusetts city has declared it will recognize polyamorous relationships following a unanimous city council vote, according to reports Wednesday. ...

Also USA TodayCBS News.... and as far as New Zealand and Vietnam.


The Globe has just followed up with a short feature quoting some well-known poly community leaders locally and elsewhere: Somerville’s new polyamory-friendly policy a ‘turning point' (July 2):

Somerville City Hall

By Zoe Greenberg

A new domestic partnership policy in Somerville that recognizes polyamorous relationships is a powerful symbol, advocates and academics said, though the specifics of its protections remain limited.

...“The Somerville ordinance is an exciting turning point for people who are polyamorous or in multipartner families,” said Diana Adams, the executive director of the Chosen Family Law Center in New York. “There has been tremendous momentum and energy and hope for this for many years.”

Adams said the law center hoped to push similar ordinances in other small, progressive cities, in a strategy similar to the one that secured the legalization of same-sex marriage across the country. Polyamory refers to people in consenting relationships with multiple partners.

While it broadens and reframes the idea of who counts as a family, the legal protections conferred by the ordinance seem to be narrow, said Kimberly Rhoten, an attorney and graduate student at Boston University who focuses on how the law relates to gender and sexual minorities.

Any benefit that the city provides to domestic partners — like hospital or prison visits — can now also apply to multiple partners in a domestic partnership. But private employers aren’t required to provide health insurance for domestic partners. So one of the primary concerns that prompted the ordinance, accessing health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, remains unaddressed, Rhoten said. And the question of how the ordinance might affect state and federal family leave is unclear, she said.

“It’s a signaling boost for this community that the city is recognizing more than two partnerships,” Rhoten said. “However there are legal pitfalls involved with the ordinance. We’ll wait and see what happens.”

...Under the ordinance, people qualify for a domestic partnership if they “consider themselves to be a family” and are “in a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment and intend to remain in such a relationship.” It does not require that domestic partners be in a romantic relationship.

...Some described it as one piece of a much broader movement for LGBTQ rights.

“I would say that polyamory and consensual non-monogamy in general is riding on the coattails of queer liberation,” said Elisabeth ‘Eli’ Sheff, an international expert on children growing up in polyamorous families and author of the book “The Polyamorists Next Door.” “I definitely see it as a trend towards greater recognition of existing diversity.”

That recognition is one of the crucial parts of the new ordinance, said Jay Sekora, who runs the group Poly Boston, which has about 500 members and hosted dinner outings and discussion group in pre-pandemic times. ...

“I was really excited that a town in my state would recognize the fact that families can’t be defined by government restricting the number of people, or the genders of the people involved, or anything like that,” said Valerie White, the executive director of the Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is based in Sharon. White said she has been practicing non-monogamy since the 1960s.

Update July 8: 
Somerville's other newspaper, the Somerville Times, has published a very detailed account of the process by which the ordinance was written. Nothing new of interest, but here it is for anyone researching the details: City approves polyamorous domestic relationship recognition (July 8).

It includes a link to an official City of Somerville page linking to the ordinance itself and listing the six, mostly one-word little amendments that were made late in the game to include multi-partnerships, turning a barely noticeable bit of local city business into landmark news that has flown around the world. 

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June 26, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup – A mono goes poly for lockdown, a poly person goes mono, and good stuff for safe poly bubbling

Welcome to Friday Polynews Roundup for June 26, 2020. Not a very busy week this time. Here you go.

●  Metro UK is Great Britain's largest-circulation newspaper, with 1.3 million print copies distributed daily on public transit and elsewhere. It has become rather obsessed with polyamory stories in the last few years, no doubt responding to reader attention.

On Wednesday it presented a tale of three gay guys who formed a poly household under quarantine pressure: I went into lockdown with my new boyfriends and we’re thriving (June 24)

By Thom James Carter

My friend Astrid called.... She asked, ‘Have you met someone yet?’ When I replied no, it was both truthful and a white lie. I hadn’t just met one man, but two – and all three of us are now happily living the polyamorous life together in lockdown.

...In winter last year, I met Adam through a gay app. ...  We realised we got on like a house on fire. That’s when Adam introduced me to Steve, his boyfriend and suggested that if we got on well too, they could transition from an open relationship to a three-person relationship that included me.

None of us had ever tried polyamory before, but with open minds, we wanted to explore if it could work. It did: I’d go over to their place on the weekends, and they’d come to mine in the middle of the week. We even went to Lisbon for a long weekend after Christmas. And it all felt easier and far more natural than any of us had anticipated.

Four months later, countries began going into lockdown and it looked like the UK would follow suit. Despite being fiercely independent (read: I lived by myself) and an introvert who needs as much time alone as with others, I discussed staying with Adam and Steve – who already lived together – for its duration. Although I was initially worried I’d be a nightmare to live with, as I’d gotten used to being on my own, what caused more distress was the possibility of not seeing Adam and Steve....

Ella Byworth/ MetroUK
So I grabbed my essential items, locked the door behind me, and went.

...What’s surprised me most, as somebody who had previously only practiced monogamy, is the utter absence of jealousy. Open displays of affection between Adam and I, or Adam and Steve (and so on), aren’t met with a withering glance from the other person as if to say: ‘Why aren’t I involved?’ Acts of displaying love are encouraged — as they should be. (And, yes, the same sentiment applies to sex: It happens as-and-when, with any one of us, and without a scoreboard being kept.)

...Polyamory has its positives when it comes to the more mundane parts of life, like household chores. In my previous monogamous relationships, there was always a tit-for-tat game of ‘I cleaned the bathroom so it’s your turn to do the kitchen!’ What makes it much simpler as a throuple, I guess, is that our domestic activities don’t rely on two people equally pulling their weight, but rather three.

...It’s been like a Big Brother-esque experiment to see if three gay men’s relationship could thrive during a pandemic. And it has. The occurrence of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown has provided many of us with the chance to re-evaluate our lives and reflect. ... Now we know we live well together, there’s the strong possibility that living under one roof will continue long after the pandemic.

●   From the opposite side of the world, on the MTV Australia site, a genderqueer poly person tells an opposite story: How Coronogamy (Coronavirus-Induced Monogamy) Has Changed My Sex Life (June 24)

I’ve been polyamorous for nearly 20 years. Non-monogamy is all I’ve known, and normally I don’t like to define things in a hierarchy, with a primary partner and secondary partners. To me, part of the point of having open relationships is that you leave the paddock unfenced. Things go how they go.

But I live with my girlfriend and no one else, so once the lockdown started in Victoria, we found ourselves in social isolation together. At first, I found it confronting to be thrust into what felt like forced monogamy. 'Coronogamy,' I called it – coronavirus-induced monogamy.

...This felt different and inorganic. Though ultimately, we decided ourselves that we wouldn’t see other people for a bit, I resented feeling like the state had steered me into precisely the kind of relationship hierarchy I’d spent so long trying to avoid.

There’s a lot of advice out there for people who are ‘opening up’ their relationship – not so much, it seems, for what to do if you’re ‘closing down’.

...As a queer person of colour who relies on a lot of different people for care and support, I winced at how government responses reinforced the nuclear family as the primary organising unit of society. It made me think of that poster by Deborah Kelly and Tina Fiveash that shows a white family eating sandwiches: ‘Hey hetero, when they say family, they mean you!’ Very quickly, we saw how lockdown laws targeted communities that are already overpoliced while wealthy neighbourhoods received few fines. ...

...While time was disintegrating, space was also warped. Everywhere outside my flat seemed more or less equidistant, so I took that as a sign that I should put more effort into my neglected transnational friendships. ... As a genderfluid person, I relished how cybersex let me build my body in words, and I discovered that the lockdown could be weaponised in all sorts of fun and kinky scenarios. It’s a good time for anyone who gets off on withholding.

But quarantine can also trigger its own special brand of dissociation and dysphoria. When everything is unreal and endlessly deferred, it’s all too easy to ghost on yourself. Some days I seem to just disappear. ...

●  Buried down in my long post last week was an aside linking to resources for building a responsible poly bubble. Especially if you might share or advise about that to a group. From Steve Ks in Vancouver,

Nienke E. van Houten, a B.Sc. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology, is a scientist who has studied vaccine design. She's new to poly, but coincidently had organized an info session for the Vanpoly group about polyamory and COVID-19, with behavioral epidemiologist Dr. Kiffer Card, called "Building a Bubble While Poly". Here is the publicly available information from that seminar that may be useful to others in the polyamorous community.

●  Distant early movie announcement, from Variety: Colomo’s Comedy ‘Polyamory for Beginners (June 23) 

 Latido Films, Amazon Prime Video, and Vértice Cine have boarded Spanish filmmaker Fernando Colomo’s comedy project “Poliamor para principiantes” (“Polyamory for Beginners, or a Swindlers’ Hot Dream”). ...The film will begin shooting in early October. ...Amazon Prime Video has acquired Spanish TV rights.... 

...“Colomo has a very intelligent take on the transformations of Spanish society and knows how to sharpen its contradictions,” said Latido Films CEO Antonio Saura.

...[Producer Álvaro] Longoria added: “Polyamory is a reality that affects societies around the world, but in this case it’s told from Spain, a country full of taboos and once highly religious.” ... 

That's Polynews Roundup for now. See you next week. Be safe, dear friends.

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June 19, 2020

Friday Polynews Roundup: Black & poly realities, backstory of excellent coverage, Supreme Court, unicorning that worked for everyone, and more

Welcome to Friday Polyamory News Roundup for June 19, 2020.

Happy Juneteenth. Moose is out this morning for a commemoration in the Black quarter of our town's colonial-era burying ground, which holds the mostly unmarked graves of both the free and the enslaved who lived, or were held, in our nice, picturesque New England village. This afternoon we continue the daily Black Lives Matter vigil on the road in front of the Town Common, to be followed by another event at the burying ground.

Our Massachusetts town was founded in 1730 with the construction of what's now our Unitarian Universalist church on the Common; back then it was Puritan. A couple years ago the town historian discovered that the founding minister owned an enslaved woman named Nanne. Say her name. Because no record of her exists ― no last name, whether she was a child, middle aged, or elderly, nothing ― except for a line in the minister's will. He left her to a relative along with other property. At least she has a plaque now in the sanctuary. We don't even know if she's buried in the Black quarter; records of who is there barely exist.

Jumping across almost 300 years of American history to this week's polyamory in the media, we have...

●  A thoughtful and revealing perspective in Dismantle magazine, "an online magazine that frames fashion and popular culture as tools for creative identity exploration, activism and social change": “Poly Wanna What?” A Black Man’s Journey into Love, Polyamory & Kink (June 15).

By Ricardo Coleman

I distinctly remember the first time that I encountered the word “polyamory.” Like millions of other hopeless romantics, I was swiping away on Tinder one night in the summer of 2018 and looking for my next great love. I kept seeing this word strategically placed in bios ― usually paired or associated with “ethical non-monogamy.” I dismissed the concept out of hand. ...  

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Certainly, I have seen people who use it as an exercise in self-indulgence, but in a way that is similar to what I have observed among those who identify as monogamous. But also I have found that there are polyamorous folks currently in, or actively pursuing, ethical, loving and committed relationships.

Importantly, though, polyamorous culture is not the utopic space that some claim it to be. It is not outside of the world of mental health struggles, racism, and class and gender dynamics that pervade many people’s romantic pursuits. However, it does offer valuable ways of thinking about love and intimacy that need to be explored and critiqued so that the good stuff doesn’t get lost.  

Despite my mind-opening introduction to polyamory, I continued to hold on to my misconceptions about this type of relationship until I met her — I’ll call her Lucia. She was gorgeous and blonde, with big green eyes that could make you do anything she wanted. You could tell that they were full of kindness, and a fiery spirit, but I could also tell that there was a deep well of pain. ...

Illustration by the author

... I have never believed that I was jealous or possessive of my partners, but then again, I had never been in a relationship structure that challenged me in such ways. The spectre of her desire to take on another partner grimly hung over me. ... Plus, some other real differences existed between us. 

Our relationship was “interracial” ... for many it is still an uncomfortable pairing. I could hang out with her and her friends, but eventually, things were done and discussed in that space to which I just couldn’t relate. I began to feel left out. They seemed to speak about and enjoy a world that I could never know. She may have felt the same way about my world, although she never mentioned it. 

Importantly, despite her stated rejection of a racist upbringing, sometimes she said things that made me feel uncomfortable. She meant well, but it felt as if I was being fetishized by the woman I loved. If it had been anyone else, I would have checked them — and hard. ... 

I would come to find that in the polyamory, kink, and BDSM communities, these kinds of microaggressions happen more than most would like to admit. I desperately wanted to hold onto my black humanity in the face of these daily exclusions — but also hold onto my sexual identity and community. However, we live in a world where black pride and dignity are often viewed as highly problematic and dangerous....

So I struggled with the question of how I could reconcile my black identity and still function within a paradigm that positions itself as more enlightened than monogamy, yet is also limited by the same racial, cultural, and social prejudices and biases. While I’m open to dating outside my race and culture, I observed that many of the same people who proudly describe themselves as anti-racist liberal allies aren’t as open. I quickly observed that they don’t know or associate with many black folks outside of totally paternalistic relationships. ... To those who self-assuredly hide behind the mask of liberal enlightenment, yet maintain contentment with their whiteness, this “knowing” is just the toleration of a native nuisance that they have to deal with, same as the mosquitoes and potholes. ...

...I’ve never quite figured it out — maybe it is a “superpower’’ resulting from living and surviving in a systemically racist society — but black folks seem to have a strong intuition that tells us when non-POC are uncomfortable around us. Sometimes the signs are subtle, and they are sometimes nakedly present. When it kicks in, it causes a distinct uneasiness and can make many emotions arise. An environment where people are in wildly varying stages of undress can become a very precarious place. ...

As I have said before, for good odds of success with polyamory you need community. Coleman doesn't mention the POC poly support communities that have been built in the last several years, such as Black & Poly, now with chapters in many cities, and Black Poly Nation, whose Facebook membership is growing by more than 2,000 people a month. Or the POC-centered conventions PolyDallas Millennium in Texas and Black Poly Pride in Washington, DC (both cancelled for 2020 due to Covid-19). Other suggestions? Please put them in the comments here or email me at alan7388 at gmail, and I'll add them.  Update:  Steve Ks suggests, Toronto Non-Monogamous BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour). "That group has over 500 members, has lots of activity, and its founder, Millie Boella, attended one of our Vanpoly meets recently. She's awesome."

Whoever and wherever you are, you need to find poly community. Good community, that is.

●  Big news this week was the Supreme Court's surprise ruling that employment discrimination against LGBTQ people is illegal. Wow! Poly people wondered: Could we be next?

No, LGBTQ attorney Jonathan Lane tells us: The LGBTQ employment discrimination cases and the polyamory community (June 15). Key parts:

...​​There are currently in the United States no laws anywhere which ban discrimination based on polyamorous relationship structure or orientation. ... So where do today's Supreme Court's rulings in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and its companion cases leave the polyamory rights movement? About the same place it was yesterday.

The Court's decisions rely entirely on the Civil Rights Act of 1964's prohibition of employment discrimination "on the basis of sex." Sex here means male or female. The extension of this law's protections to the LGBTQ community were not intended when the law was drafted, but the logic is clear and compelling enough to win over two of the Court's five social conservatives: When you fire a man because he has or desires sexual relationships with a man, but you wouldn't fire a woman for doing the same, you discriminate based on sex. When you fire someone assigned male at birth for identifying and dressing as female, but you would not do the same for someone assigned female at birth, you discriminate based on sex.

Polyamory provides no comparable rationale to hook onto the existing protections of any of the classes of people protected by the Civil Rights Act. ...

Maybe someday a more liberal Supreme Court will extend discrimination protections on the basis of constitutional cases like Lawrence v. Texas, which established a right to sexual privacy. But in the foreseeable future, the emerging polyamory rights movement will need to continue its initial steps on the path taken by the LGBTQ community up until today, gradually convincing city governments to ban employment discrimination, and eventually working up to state legislatures.


●  The backstory to that excellent media we got. A few days ago I posted about the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's long and remarkably well-informed article, "Polyamory during a pandemic? It's complicated".

Turns out it didn't get that good by chance. When people in the Vanpoly group in Vancouver, BC, found out that the story was in the works, they turned seriously proactive. Steve Ks write to us,

Carole Chanteuse and I monitor the info@vanpoly.ca email address on behalf of Vanpoly. ... We felt that the reporter's initial request (on May 21) was respectful and well-meaning, but was couched in the usual misconception that poly is all about couples opening up or seeking a third. If floated in our group as is, we felt the request could receive a predictable backlash from people tired of that constant media misconception, especially from those who considered themselves solo-poly or relationship anarchists.

Carole diplomatically corrected the reporter, who was then happy to adjust their pitch.

In the past we've maintained a list of members who we knew were well spoken that we could refer to media on short notice. That list was getting out of date, so our group's admin team agreed to put a call out to people we thought could represent us well for those willing to be interviewed, and we would present a list of people the reporter could choose from. To make that easier for the reporter, and to ensure that a diversity of styles could be represented, we would confirm each and ask a few questions first.

The call was an edited version of the reporter's pitch, along with Carole's response. That resulted in a healthy discussion and a number of people who considered themselves solo or diverse stepping forward saying "we need to be represented". I contacted each who stepped forward or was suggested.

One of the people recommended was Nienke E. van Houten -- a B.Sc. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology and a senior lecturer at Simon Fraser University (near Vancouver). She's a scientist who has studied vaccine design. She's new to poly, but coincidently had organized an info session for the Vanpoly group about polyamory and COVID-19, with behavioral epidemiologist Dr. Kiffer Card, called "Building a Bubble While Poly".

In presenting our list to the reporter, I hoped they would pick up that we in the polyamory community treat safety very seriously in all aspects of our lives -- and as part of that we're doing a seminar on keeping ourselves safer during the pandemic.

I was happy to see that the reporter did pick up on the seminar. Here is the publically available information from that seminar that may be useful to others in the polyamorous community.

Pay attention. They showed how it's done.

●  From a large business publication in South Africa: What is shaping culture? Polyamory: Multiple + Love (June 1)

"The Triad Family is a Christian polycule from Baltimore, USA on Instagram as @thetriadfam"

By Brett Rogers

It’s not that long ago that people were absolutely petrified of exposing their ‘abnormal relationships’ to the real world. People could be, and were, ostracised from family, friends and places of work. Under no circumstances are we saying that that is no longer the case, but there is a sea change happening where people with alternative relationships are emerging from the shadows of social judgment and criticism.

...What can the mainstream learn from polyamory?

Communication: Polycules are committed to regular, honest and frank discussions about how they feel and the state of their relationships.

Rules: These are vital to establish the parameters of the relationship, what are we ok with, and what are we not ok with? This is not about ruling a relationship with an iron fist, but is about complete freedom within those parameters.

Honesty: This one is hard but brings clarity.

Consent: Permission is always sought out between the people involved. There is no middle ground, it’s either yes or no. Something that we as South Africans have a major problem with. ...

Brett Rogers is culture lead at Cape Town advertising agency HaveYouHeard and content curator for In_, which showcases cultural forces that are changing the world.

●  Season 2 of The Politician premiers today on Netflix, with its supposed-to-be-edgy plot of young upstart Payton trying to unseat an entrenched woman state senator who, his campaign has discovered, is secretly in a poly relationship with two men (see Friday Polynews Roundup for May 22).

But after this disparaging review today in Hollywood Reporter, I don't think I'll bother. 'The Politician' Season 2: TV Review (June 19).

By Daniel Fienberg

...The problem is that Payton is annoying and fairly awful and the show has never found any way to illustrate why his peers have dedicated themselves to him.... Though I guess it's easy to understand why his election team includes nobody he didn't go to high school with.... 

The Politician doesn't really exist in our current political reality at all.... The real world is coming apart at the seams and The Politician dedicates an astonishing amount of its limited time to debating the rules and strategy of rock-paper-scissors. And here's the thing: That subplot is the best part of the season. That's how edgy The Politician has become.

...The show's bizarre pride in saying "throuple" over and over again, as if they'd tapped into the latest in outré sexuality, is straight-up sad....

Here's the 3-minute trailer:

Update: Best of all worlds! Refinery29 is posting detailed recaps. Read the drama quick, no hours of watching. I admit I started and got hooked.

●  On a recovery site called The Temper, "life through the lens of sobriety, addiction, and recovery": I’m a Better Polyamorous Partner Now That I’m Sober (June 17).

Growing up, I was shown that love is synonymous with giving yourself away to others, for if I didn’t put other people first, I’d somehow be unworthy of them. Through monogamy and then polyamory, I didn’t know the most important lesson in healthy relationships was that I had to actively, radically, and intentionally, love myself first on my way to understanding what nurturing and soul-filling relationships with others could be.

Polyamory, like any relationship, requires conflict resolution and communication. We blossom when we assume positive intent on behalf of the person with whom we’re in a relationship. We grow when we seek to understand and listen. ...

When I quit drinking I decided to build a life I wouldn’t want to escape from. ...

●  And finally, our happy polyfamily tabloid story the week: Wife opens up after inviting another woman into marriage (June 18). This isn't in an actual printed British tab yet; it first appeared just now in Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.

Moral of this story: Don't go judging that unicorn hunting never works out.

A woman has opened up about how she revealed to her husband she is bisexual before inviting another woman into their marriage.

Media Drum World/Australscope

High school sweethearts Cierra Applegate and David fell in love in 2012. 

“He was the first and only man I've ever been interested in, let alone in love with. We got married at the age of twenty-one,” Cierra said.

“When I was twenty-three, I came out to him and some other people close to us [as bi], and we decided to change our lifestyle.

...“In May 2019, I met our lovely girlfriend Mariah on a dating app and was upfront about our situation, and she was interested and so we set up the first date. And now it's been almost a year of bliss with my two favourite people,” Cierra, 24, said.

“David and I are husband and wife. We are both dating Mariah and there is both a physical and emotional relationship between all parties.

“Including Mariah in our lives has brought new perspectives, new hobbies and life experiences that would’ve been unexplored had another personality not been present and the tearing down walls of jealousy and distrust in your partner,” she said.

“We’ve learnt to love ourselves and one another differently and with a new appreciation. We’ve also learnt better ways to communicate with one another after learning how another person operates and how they feel most loved rather than the person we’ve always been with and known.

“To us, it means that we can share our love with not only one another, but another person. We feel like our marriage is so full of love and feeling free to express ourselves, that this isn’t something that negates from our relationship, but rather builds it and creates new forms of trust and respect.”

Whilst they couldn’t be happier in their polyamorous relationship, after a few months of dating as a threesome, they began to encounter jealousy between Cierra and Mariah, 21, which caused them to split up mid-September 2019 for over two months before they reconciled again at the beginning of December 2019 and have been smitten ever since.

“We worked through the negative feelings I was having and the toxic jealousy and focussed instead on how happy I am to see two people I care immensely about having a wonderful time with one another and being there for me.”

“...I get two people that console me after a bad day; I get to look forward to two texts every morning. I get to cry on two shoulders. ... At the end of the day, we know that not everyone will accept us, but life is too short to not live it to the fullest,” she said.

“When any tinge of jealousy arises, we communicate to one another immediately. We try to check in with one another once a week to make sure no one feels left out or suffocated.

“We also understand that because Mariah is not living with us and that we are married, there is an understanding that when she feels lonely or jealous, she can always reach out, video chat or even stop by.

“We are working very hard on being individuals first so that way what we bring to the table is the best version of who we are and that we can bring all our different perspectives and experiences together for one amazing relationship.”

That's Friday Polynews Roundup for now.  See you next time!

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