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

August 7, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: Great NY Times feature on poly parenting. Pandemic hell choices. RA for 2020. And Covid knuckleheads turn real-life Kimchi Cuddles' daughter against her.

Welcome to Friday Polynews Roundup for August 7, 2020.

●  The week's big poly-in-the-media item was this stellar piece in the New York Times: The Challenges of Polyamorous Parenting, in the Parenting section (online Aug. 4; not in a print edition.) Excerpts:

Starting a family with more than two parents can present legal and social pitfalls. Here’s how some parents are making it work.

Avary Kent, her husband, Zeke Hausfather (seated), and her partner, David Jay, drafted a co-parenting agreement that outlines their rights and preferences for raising their daughter. (Photo: Aubrey Trinnaman / New York Times)

By Cynthia McKelvey

...Though nonmonogamy seems to be on the rise — or at least society is more open about it than ever before — families consisting of three or more parents can face challenges that are in some ways different from, and similar to, those faced by divorced parents, single parents and L.G.B.T.Q. parents.

There’s very little research on families consisting of more than two romantically involved parents, according to Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., a co-chair of the Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force, Division 44 of the American Psychological Association. ...

To understand how new and prospective nonmonogamous families can take on challenges like child custody, adoption and just day-to-day life, I spoke with a sociologist, two psychologists, a lawyer and members of two nonmonogamous families.

“I would say the biggest problems that polyamorous parents face is you can only have two legal parents in most places,” said Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D., a sociologist and author of “The Polyamorists Next Door,” a 15-year ethnographic study of the polyamory community. “If you have another parent that wants to take on parental rights, then one of the existing parents has to terminate parental rights prior to adding a new parent.”

...California is one of at least 12 states that has recognized families with three or more parents in some capacity, making it easier for nonmonogamous families to gain legal parenting protections.

For parents who don’t live in one of those states, or who just don’t want to go through the legal rigmarole of multiparent adoption, writing out a co-parenting agreement can help. These delineate what is expected of each parent in terms of child care, financial assistance and other day-to-day logistics. They also can create contingency plans in case a parent leaves the relationship, becomes ill or dies.

That’s what Avary Kent, her husband, Zeke Hausfather, and their co-parent, David Jay, did before Kent became pregnant with their daughter. Their co-parenting agreement outlines how they will deal with conflict, discipline, health care and what constitutes a loss of parenting status.

Polyamorous parents who are raising children as a unit must decide how open to be with family and community members. (Photo: Aubrey Trinnaman / New York Times)

These agreements are not legally binding, but they can help in situations like custody battles or if family members like grandparents object to the co-parenting agreement, according to Jonathan Lane, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who specializes in family law. ...

Coming out

Research on the effect of growing up in a nonmonogamous family on children also remains sparse, Dr. Schechinger said.

“From what we do have, there’s nothing to suggest that children in these situations are faring any better or any worse,” Dr. Schechinger said. However, research does show that families who experience prejudice — because of their sexual orientation, race, religion or other factors — do experience more stress, anxiety and depression.

That leads to the question of whether or not to come out as a nonmonogamous family. ... “I want to encourage parents to know that there’s not clear evidence that they should or should not be out. It’s situation-specific, and it’s OK for them to use their intuition about whether or not to be out,” Dr. Schechinger said. “Because in some spaces it may not be safe and then they have to remain closeted.”

Day-to-day challenges

...Amy Moors, Ph.D., a co-chair of the nonmonogamy task force with Dr. Schechinger, also said that concerns over the children are often ways to enforce prejudice over minority groups. ... She and other experts suggested that nonmonogamous families look to how gay families have fielded these sorts of objections to them parenting. This can include how to handle prejudice from family, schools and the judgment their children may face from classmates.

Selke said that she and her family made a conscious choice to surround themselves with other untraditional and L.B.G.T.Q. families, so that their twins can grow up seeing the many forms family can take.

The benefits

The nonmonogamous families interviewed cited the many benefits of co-parenting. At the top of the list was resources, in every sense: More parents mean more time, more love, more experience, more finances and, best of all, more sleep, they said.

Selke said that nonmonogamous parenting has also enabled her desire to shed some traditional gendered parenting roles. With three parents, there’s no script for the division of labor. It becomes more about who does whatever task best, who is the most available or who hates it the least.

The children also report benefits, Dr. Sheff said. As kids from these nontraditional families begin to enter school and see their peers with two parents, rather than seeing themselves as unusual, they see their peers as bereft.

“The kids come home and they’re like, ‘Oh, my poor friend, they only have two parents. Can you believe that? How did they get anything done?’” Dr. Sheff said.

Jonathan Lane, the attorney quoted, says, "I am very excited this was finally published – I was interviewed for it over a year ago!"

●  Another non-monogamy researcher, Terri Conley, is profiled at length in Bustle: How One Psychologist Upended Everything We Know About Women, Sex, & Monogamy (Aug. 4) Go read the whole story; it's long and interesting. Excerpts: 

'We Need To Rethink Casual Sex': Terri Conley during her April 2016 TED talk

When she was still in grad school, social psychologist Terri Conley, Ph.D., collected some data indicating that single people practice safer sex than those in relationships. Her methodology wasn’t perfect, and the sample was small. There was every reason to forget it. Conley couldn’t stop thinking about it.

What would be the problem with relationships, she wondered, such that people with partners were at higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases? It occurred to her that it might have something to do with the monogamy agreement — the implicit understanding, often undiscussed, that the partners in a two-person couple will only have sex with each other. She designed a study comparing safe sex practice among consensually non-monogamous people to that between people who claimed to be monogamous but were cheating. She found "a whole host of better outcomes” among the people in open relationships — more effective and frequent condom use and lower likelihood of an encounter taking place under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She submitted the paper for publication in the late aughts.

“It was like I shot the reviewers’ dog,” Conley recalls. Their responses ranged from “this paper is irresponsible” to "Oh, this must be a master's thesis” — in other words, amateur.

Suspecting that the stigma surrounding open relationships was at work, Conley took a different tack. She had been positioning the paper as a study of a sexual minority group that turned out to have safer sex than people in traditional relationships. Now, "I took exactly the same table — I did not change one data point — [and] I changed the framing to say, ‘Oh my gosh, people who commit infidelity are the worst. They're even worse than this other group [consensually non-monogamous people] that you thought was so awful.’ ” The paper was accepted.

It was the first of many times Conley would encounter outsized resistance to the work that has made her one of the most influential sexuality researchers of her era. As head of the University of Michigan’s Stigmatized Sexualities Lab, Conley observes sexual dynamics that won’t shock anyone who is on Tinder in the year 2020 but that nonetheless upend decades of received wisdom in the social sciences. Through rigorously designed studies, Conley... has empirically undermined the idea that women are too “relationship-y” to enjoy sex for its own sake and that having sex exclusively with one chosen mate is the only stable, satisfactory relationship structure. Given that everything from Christian morality to the intergenerational transfer of wealth to the wedding industrial complex is heavily invested in monogamy — "sometimes you have ideologies that control everyone,” Conley reflects — the implications of this research are vast. Colleagues across multiple subfields of psychology describe her as brilliant, fearless, and most impressively, convincing them to change their minds. Conley claims she just provided the data to support what everyone already knew: Monogamy actually isn’t great for everyone, and that really freaks some people out. ...

In 2011, she published a paper that methodically dismantled a textbook social psychology experiment, one that had propped up our most guarded assumptions about sex for a generation. ...


...She found that women and men are equally satisfied in consensually non-monogamous relationships, undermining the notion that women are more naturally inclined toward monogamy. She even had data on how much we don’t want to see this data: In one experiment, she showed that people consider a researcher presenting findings favoring polyamory more biased than one presenting findings in favor of monogamy. The wording the researchers used was identical.

[Paul] Abramson [of UCLA], who spent a large swath of his career studying how to reduce HIV transmission rates, compares Conley’s work to research done in the late 1950s through the ‘60s that ultimately led psychology to stop treating homosexuality as a mental illness. “Terri was attempting to undermine the moral contempt for something other than normative marriage. [She] asked, ‘Well, what does the data say?’”


...Now Conley is after the sacred cow that has been the backdrop of her entire career. You can’t dismantle the idea that women invariably suffer in nontraditional relationships without disproving the notion that women biologically want sex less than men, so that is Conley’s focus now. Building on her work around casual sex, she has found that gender differences in who wants sex evaporate in the presence of orgasm. If you’ve orgasmed before and expect to again, you’re more likely to say yes to sex, regardless of your identity. The explanation could be biological — maybe female bodies aren’t capable of orgasming quickly or easily outside of partnered sex — but Conley doesn’t buy it. ... “We know that women and men orgasm in the same amount of time when they're masturbating.” ...

●  Am I mistaken, or have we been hearing less about Relationship Anarchy as poly spreads to the mainstream? If you don't know what RA is about, a time will come when you should. An excellent new primer is out this week from MindBodyGreen, A Beginner's Guide To Relationship Anarchy: Examples & How To Practice (Aug. 2). Save it to send to the curious. Excerpts and section titles:

By Kesiena Boom

Kesiena Boom
...Relationship anarchy is a way of approaching relationships that rejects any rules and expectations other than the ones the involved people agree on.

This approach "encourages people to let their core values guide how they choose and craft their relationship commitments rather than relying on social norms to dictate what is right for you," Dedeker Winston, relationship coach and co-host of the podcast Multiamory, tells mbg.

People who practice relationship anarchy, sometimes abbreviated as RA, are beholden to themselves and only themselves when it comes to choosing who they conduct sexual or romantic relationships with and how they do it. Relationship anarchists look to form relationships with people that are based entirely on needs, wants, and desires rather than on socially mandated labels and expectations. Some central tenets of relationship anarchy are freedom, communication, and nonhierarchy.

An RA mindset also seeks to dissolve the strict divides between platonic friendship and sexual or romantic love that exist in wider society. Practitioners of relationship anarchy see it as superfluous at best and harmful at worst to rank relationships in order of importance according to the presence of sex or romantic love, and they reject the prioritization of romance above friendship and the elevation of the monogamous couple above all else....

The relationship anarchy manifesto.

The term "relationship anarchy" was originally coined by Andie Nordgren, who published an instructional manifesto for relationship anarchy in a pamphlet in 2006. Nordgren outlines the following principles to guide you through a relationship anarchist life:

1. Love is abundant, and every relationship is unique. ...
2. Love and respect instead of entitlement. ...
3. Find your core set of relationship values. ...
4. Heterosexism is rampant and out there, but don't let fear lead you. ...
6. Fake it till you make it. ...
7. Trust is better. ...
8. Change through communication. ...
9. Customize your commitments. ...

Relationship anarchy versus polyamory versus monogamy.

A monogamous person chooses to eschew all sexual and romantic bonds with people other than their one chosen partner. ... Winston says relationship anarchists can also engage in monogamous relationships.

Relationship anarchy thus differs from polyamory, which it is sometimes confused with. Polyamory is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the informed consent of all partners involved. It is sometimes known as ethical or consensual nonmonogamy. To be polyamorous means to acknowledge that people can love more than one person simultaneously. This is different from an open relationship, in which the couple goes outside of the relationship for sex, and not necessarily for lasting and committed emotional intimacy or love.

How relationship anarchy works in practice.

..."Typical is a myth. In reality, each of our lives is unique and one-of-a-kind, which is also true for people practicing relationship anarchy,” says Anna Dow, LMFT, therapist and founder of Vast Love, a coaching and counseling practice for people navigating nonmonogamy.

She continues, "A lot of people hear the word 'anarchy' and think of radical punk rockers with tattoos and mohawks. While that's sometimes on point, the lives of relationship anarchists are also as varied as they come. Relationship anarchy is the 'choose your own adventure' version of relationships. It's a belief in coloring outside the lines and going off-trail. ...

That being said, a common thread between all relationship anarchists is the time given over to communication. Dow says one characteristic that links together those who are well suited to RA is "strong communication skills, including the abilities to empathetically listen and to authentically express one's feelings/needs in a direct way. ...

Common misconceptions.

"...Relationship anarchy is not a justification for people to do whatever they want in relationships without consideration of other people's feelings, needs, desires, or boundaries," says Dow.

It's not for those who are looking for an easy way out. ..."It's not a magic spell for reducing the amount of work that you need to put into your relationships," cautions Winston. 

[Says Josie Kearns,] “To me it means that my partners and I don’t control our relationships with other people — we set boundaries, but we don’t ask to enforce rules on each other....”

Relationship anarchy may be unfortunately named for the current times. But taken literally, the word is precisely correct: Its Greek roots mean no ranking. 

●  Autostraddle, a leading online lesbian magazine, fields (at great length) a question about roommate pandemic hell choices: Can I Tell My Poly Roommate Not to See Her Partners Because of Coronavirus? (Aug. 4)

My roommate “Nora” and I (both women in our early thirties) have been in self-isolation since mid-March. ... After an initial two-week total quarantine, I resumed seeing my partner, “Casey,” who lives alone (they have various health problems that make coronavirus significantly more risky for them). Nora recently brought up how frustrated and sad she’s been feeling about her romantic prospects as a poly person when I am able to continue my monogamous relationship. She even mentioned that she resented the fact that I could continue to see Casey (who is a relatively new partner) when she can’t continue to see her longer-term partner(s), both of whom live with their own primary partners, who in turn have other partners, etc.

She said that she couldn’t bear the thought of going the summer without some kind of in-person intimacy and that she didn’t want to be made to feel “responsible” for following isolation just so I can see Casey.... But in the current moment, our personal lives are actually mutually exclusive....

...What can I do? Do I have any rights to safety after our state issues a possibly-misguided plan to reopen? ...

...While I think you may be feeling overwhelmed, I want to resist the idea that this question is impossible just because the solution is not simple and easy (or that there even is one correct solution). ... Something my best friend and I have been saying to each other recently feels true when I read this question: “There are no good choices.” How to make the best choice for everyone involved when there are no good choices? Let’s attempt. ...

...As each day passes, it becomes clear the United States does not have a handle on the pandemic. Shelter in place was not supposed to be a new way of life indefinitely; it was meant to buy us time, to flatten the curve. The government squandered that time. I do not know when the pandemic will end, when it will be “safe” to be around each other again. But I do know that it becomes increasingly difficult to ask individuals to make huge personal sacrifices, at great cost, when it is clear the government is doing almost nothing to move us toward a different world. ... Scientists have started to talk about how we can practice harm reduction when it comes to living our lives, because the alternative is not sustainable. ...

●  You want pandemic hell choices? What about when a denialist partner turns your child against you?

The following is one of the saddest things I've seen yet. Tikva Wolf's Kimchi Cuddles poly comics are often, she says, "partly autobiographical." Such as these two latest. The Kimchi character in them is Tikva, "Vajra" is Tikva's live-in co-parent (they ended their romantic partnership a while ago but stayed on friendly terms), and their daughter is getting toward her tweens.

They live in a hippie-ish town in the South, in a county with (I looked it up) a daily covid infection rate that is currently about the South's average.

The Facebook page for this episode of the strip, with many comments and observations. Tikva posted there,

I live in an area that already had a high concentration of anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists so naturally there are huge crowds thinking that their organic elderberry syrup makes them immune (and don't care to wear masks for anyone else's sake). Even many folks who are trying to be safe are in large networks they are unable to trace.

Her followup strip:

The Facebook page for this one. She really did kick him out. She posts, 

I am close to a lot of medical professionals, and know people who have either died or are having ongoing health problems now, so I'm taking it seriously. I don't want anyone's blood on my hands, especially if I can prevent that through taking simple precautions. And only sharing living space with people who are on the same page with safety protocols is a personal boundary of mine.

She writes to me, "I threw a whole bunch of different events from 4 months into [those] 2 comics. But I did want to talk about 2 important issues: BOUNDARIES in times of covid, and showing how poly-parenting can be more difficult right now for a multitude of reasons."

In my own part of the country (Boston area), covid-denying knuckleheads all seem to be angry Trumpies. But in some places, nice, progressive people can be just as self-deluding, conspiracy-grabbing, and dismissive of all facts and evidence that don't make them feel good. The only difference is that they frame their nonsense ("masks do more harm than good") with flowers and elderberry syrup rather than AK-47s.


●  After the advice column in Slate regarding teen polys that I highlighted last week, this Dear Abby is in newspapers everywhere this week:

My 14-year-old daughter recently came out of the closet, and it has made my husband and me quite upset. She says she is "bicurious, pansexual and polyamorous." She now insists everyone call her by a gender-neutral name, gave herself a side shave and dyed her hair pink after we repeatedly told her not to. She wants us to refer to her as "they" and not "she."

Boys used to like her.... She is disrespecting us and ruining her image. ...She is now getting chubby, looks horrible and is depressed. Help!  — Dad Without Answers

Dear Dad: Your daughter may, indeed, be depressed. She's at an age where she is trying to figure out who she is, and because she has lost her friends and her parents are mad at her, I can understand why. ...

Look again. Did you notice the gender of the parents?

●  Upcoming TV, perhaps. Hollywood Reporter says "prolific writer/producer" Lena Waithe is developing series a series titled "Open" for Amazon Studios: Lena Waithe Developing Open-Marriage Drama (Aug. 3)

..."My mission is to provide a space for people to grow," says Waithe. "While making work that people can look at and say, 'That broke a barrier.' "... 

"Society has such a conservative way of looking at marriage. I do think that we as a nation need to reevaluate what marriage looks like for us as a country — because whatever we have right now, it ain’t working."

●  But here's an open-marriage couple who get a special award for classist couple privilege so shitty I thought it was a parody  except it actually seems to be real, as reported on the parenting site Kidspot.com (Aug. 4). A relative of theirs says, 

MIL explained that they have some rules and they can’t sleep with anyone who is an ‘equal.’ 

She said they only go outside the marriage with people in service-type minimum wage jobs like their maid, someone who works at their country club, or a bartender (examples she gave). She said they do that because people in those positions don’t count as “real people” so there is no danger in developing feelings.

●  This week in the British tabloids: A happy triad family in Denver got harassment mail from a stalker after their Instagram and YouTube channels became a thing, so they've gone more public than ever: Polyamorous throuple harassed for months after 'coming out' on social media (Daily Star, Aug. 3). An angry Christian, you may wonder? Nope. A letter to Janie "said that she is a fake member of the LGBTQIA community and that she didn't actually love Maggie."

Here they are. Three lovers, three cats:

MDWfeatures / @tri.adventures

That's Friday Polynews Roundup for now. Stay safe, dear people, as best you can.

Labels: , , , ,

July 31, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup – Lockdown impacts overt and subtle, teen poly, choosing a group-wedding venue, unicorn hunters find a better way, and more

Carla Ten Eyck Photography

Welcome to Friday Polynews Roundup for July 31, 2020.

●  The big poly news this week was the Cambridge, Mass., City Council voting 6-0-2 to move forward on an ordinance allowing groups of three or more people to form legal domestic partnerships, much like neighboring Somerville did a month ago. The lopsided vote is said to mean the council will very likely enact the change at its next meeting September 14th. See report.   

●  Meanwhile BU Today, the official daily website of Boston University, hosted a Point Of View piece by lawyer and BU PhD student Kimberly Rhoten on the Somerville developments. POV: Somerville, Mass., Delivers a Big Victory for Those in Polyamorous Relationships (July 30)

...First, the legislation allows any number of consenting adults to be recognized as a family by the city. ... Although the definitive number of polyamorous households and families living in Somerville is currently unknown, polyamorous Facebook, Meetup, and other social media groups in the area boast thousands of members. As Somerville Councillor Lance Davis aptly stated in regard to these communities and residents, the new ordinance “validates their existence, it validates the way they love.”

Anastasia_M / iStock
Second, there is no city requirement, nor is it necessarily presumed, that persons in a domestic partnership be involved in a romantic relationship; instead, applying partners need only be in “a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment and intend to remain in such a relationship.” As such, chosen families and expanded kinship networks may finally achieve legal recognition and governmental protections. 

Third, nonnuclear families (e.g., stepfamilies, multigenerational families), in addition to polyamorous families, could see significant benefits from the city’s expansive definition of domestic partnerships. The new ordinance gives persons in domestic partnerships the same rights and privileges that Somerville gives to married persons. As a result, these new privileges include, but are not limited to: hospital and jail visitation rights, bereavement leave (for city employees, and potentially, from private employers), and health insurance (for city employees, and potentially, from private employers). Further, Somerville’s Human Rights Commission is now mandated to look into instances of discrimination against persons in domestic partnerships.

...Yet there are still miles left to go. This legislation does not offer comprehensive antidiscrimination protections that would extend to all facets of polyamorous persons’ lives (e.g., housing, employment). For example, under the new Somerville legislation, a private employer is still within their legal rights to fire a polyamorous employee on the basis of their relationship structure. This, of course, may likely disincentivize polyamorous persons from notifying their human resources department of their multiple partnerships, preventing employee benefits (e.g., bereavement leave) from reaching their partners. Second, the Somerville ordinance does not prevent private companies from narrowly providing health insurance benefits to only married spouses of their employees. ...

As interest, awareness, and participation in polyamory increases, other jurisdictions, both within and outside of Massachusetts, may likely follow Somerville’s lead. For instance, cities in California (e.g., Berkeley) have already adopted (but have not yet implemented) antidiscrimination legislation to protect residents with nontraditional relationship structures, including polyamory; Somerville’s new ordinance may inspire further action.

...It is estimated that between 4 and 5 percent of the US population currently participates in some form of open relationship; this is roughly equivalent to the percentage of Americans who identify as LGBT. With increasing legal recognition of this substantial population, more American families can live their lives safely....

Kimberly Rhoten (GRS’26) is an attorney and PhD candidate in sociology; they can be reached at krhoten@bu.edu.

●  Expect to see more advice columns like this: In Slate's parenting column "Care and Feeding," I Think My Teenager Might Be in a Polyamorous Relationship (July 27).

"I’m worried she’s too young for this sort of thing. Should I talk to her about it?"

Slate / Getty
By Michelle Herman

Dear Care and Feeding,

...One evening when they were all at our house, on the way to our basement laundry room I found all three of them flushed and rapidly disentangling on the rec room couch. ... There was another occasion in which the boys dropped off a jointly purchased gift for her.

...Our family’s values are quite progressive and queer-friendly, but a potential romantic triad (or the aftermath of one) seems like a lot for an adolescent to handle. ... Teenagers being as they are, it seems like addressing this directly or offering unasked-for advice might be a fast way to slam the door shut. This feels like advanced placement parenting....

—Liberal but Maybe Not That Liberal

Dear LbMNTL,

The best perk of my day job teaching at a large public university (and in particular teaching classes in which my students write candidly about their lives, then sit around in a seminar room talking about what they’ve written) is that I have a unique, on-the-front-lines view into the way older teenagers and young adults experience the world. And let me tell you: It is sometimes downright perplexing to an adult whose sense of how things work and are supposed to work was shaped by another generation’s customs, ideas, and understanding of pretty much everything.

...So I am here, speaking from the trenches, to tell you that multipartnered romantic relationships among young people only a year or two older than your daughter are ever more common. I know this is astonishing ... but even in Ohio, where I teach, young people will casually mention their (plural) “partners.” ... If you have a teenager who is (or was) trying out a polyamorous relationship, the time has come for you to gather some information. Try this article in Teen Vogue for starters and this polyamory primer. (You say you want to advise her, but you won’t be able to do that if you don’t know anything about what she’s up to—or why she might be up to it.)

...Does she seem anxious, unhappy, scared, or depressed?

... If the answer is no, then what I’m going to suggest will probably sound scary to you. But if the channels of communication between the two of you have consistently been open, and she knows you to be a (genuinely) progressive and queer-friendly person, it would be wise to be direct with her. “Hey, I’ve noticed that only Jordan has been coming around lately, when it seemed like you were in a relationship with both Jordan and Jason. What happened?” If you can pull that off casually, it might lead to a real conversation. That is: If she doesn’t think it’s freaking you out, she might be willing to come out to you.

If, however, you have reason to believe that she is troubled—that this is a crisis for her—you’re going to have to take a different approach. Say something along the lines of: “I hope you know you can talk to me about anything. I have a feeling something’s worrying you/making you unhappy. Whatever it is, I’m here for you. There’s nothing you could tell me that would shock me, I promise. The only thing in the world that matters to me is your happiness and well-being.”

And work hard on meaning every word of that. ...

●  And there was more on the topic we can't get enough of. On Refinery29 came The Polyamorous Community On How Lockdown Has Impacted Their Relationships (July 24). 

Meg O'Donnell
By Megan Wallace

...As it turns out, being with your partner 24/7 – especially while worrying about your health and staring down the "worst recession since the Great Depression" – is not only pretty toxic but has UK lawyers reporting a 42% spike in divorce enquiries.

...On the one hand, polyamorous people normally report high contentment levels, particularly around sexual satisfaction and intimacy, which could no doubt help with the strain of lockdown. On the other, they’ve also been facing a set of specific challenges that many monogamous people won't have even considered.

...For Ryan, 31, who enjoys two committed, long-term partnerships – one with a 'primary' live-in, same-sex partner and another with a 'secondary' partner, a girlfriend living in a different city, both of whom also have additional partners – the fundamental question of who to go into lockdown with was tricky.

"My primary and I had discussed whether or not we might have our secondaries isolate with us for a period of time, but they each have their own households and it didn't work out restrictions- or travel-wise," Ryan explains. "It also might not have been fair on their partners, and my girlfriend is a mother of one, so further factors [such as childcare] would have needed to be considered." As a result, Ryan was separated from his girlfriend throughout lockdown, keeping in touch primarily through texts, voice notes and video calls, and his primary partner was separated from his boyfriend – who he would normally see multiple times a week – save for digital communication and the occasional hand-delivered care package. ...

[Said Amy,] "Throughout lockdown I’ve been living with a partner who I only started dating in January. I guess we made that decision because we had a lot of 'new relationship energy' and chemistry, and it felt like isolating apart could kill the momentum of the relationship," she says. "At first I was really freaking out about the pandemic and began worrying that we’d rushed things by moving in. But in hindsight I think it’s worked. We’re both pretty easy-going and it’s been way easier living with a new partner than someone I have a lot of history and, dare I say, 'baggage' with." 
For some, lockdown has been particularly damaging, as is the case with ethically non-monogamous Alex, 32. A well-known figure in London’s poly community for his work with kink, queer and poly-positive party Crossbreed, Alex’s own relationships have suffered due to the pandemic. The past few months have been a period of significant stress, seeing him not only fall ill with the virus but fear for his livelihood as a member of the nightlife economy. ... 'I didn’t have the energy or presence of mind to be there for one of my partners in the way they wanted me to be," Alex recalls.

..."I’m quite good at reading people in real life," he says. ... "During lockdown... there was a deterioration of communication between me and some of my partners, which is not something I really could have avoided."

...Ryan suggests, [Ahem,] "Rather than reading about other people's experiences and putting questions to [poly] forums, I personally get a lot more out of directly communicating to my partners about my feelings and needs."

●  In the South Seattle Emerald (and BTW, Seattle ought to be ripe for the next domestic-partnership expansion), comes Navigating Consensual Non-Monogamy During COVID-19 (July 30). The article is long. Excerpts from near the beginning:

Vlad Verano
By Alexa Peters 

...Seattle, for its part, has a robust non-monogamous community, evidenced by many local, online groups around polyamory, open relationships, relationship anarchy, and other styles. ...

...Though he considers himself a practitioner of non-hierarchical polyamory, in which no one partner is more important than another, [Darren] Brown says the pandemic has forced him to prioritize his wife, the partner he lives with, over his other partners. ...

“COVID really lays bare that we have these philosophies, but they don’t [always] line up,” said Brown. “Like, we kind of present [like], ‘Oh, I’m non-hierarchical, I’m not going to put one person in front of the other,’ but when COVID says ‘Who are you going to spend the next six weeks with?’ we all made that decision.”

...This COVID-induced philosophical dissonance, as well as the toll the social distancing has on relationships, has had very real mental health effects for Brown and other polyamorous folks. ...

...Comings, Brown, and other polyamorous individuals also note that the circumstances have offered opportunities for growth, namely by bringing incompatibilities with certain partners to the forefront and encouraging more transparency within polycules.

“I did have a third partner, but [that ended because] … when you take away the physical chemistry, what’s left is put under a microscope,” said Comings. ...

●  On a happier note, Offbeat Bride this morning, in response to a reader's question, published How to find a venue for your polyamorous wedding (July 31).

Carla Ten Eyck Photography

...Weddings don't all look alike, as we know — and polyamorous ceremonies can be even more varied! Here are a few of the structures of the real-life poly weddings we've featured in our archives since 2008:

    – Three (or more) single individuals may want to have a ceremony combining their lives into one, as you do.
    – Two single people may choose to marry each other, skipping the "forsaking all others" trappings.
    – A married couple may want to bring another couple or another person into their family with a ceremony.
    – One member of a committed, unmarried couple may marry a third member of the throuple.
    – One member of a married couple may want to have a handfasting ceremony with another person, who will join the original couple.

Selecting a venue for your poly wedding may depend on how many people are involved in the ceremony, and what kind of ceremony it is… But this much is clear: you should be able to have your ceremony. A survey of polyamorous individuals [the Loving More survey of 4,062 polyfolks in done 2012, when the movement was less broad-based than now –Ed.] found that 60% would want to marry multiple people if polyamorous marriages were legal. ...

Poly-friendly venues

Cruise ships may not welcome polyamorous weddings, but here are some other options that Offbeat Bride poly folks have used in the past. (Click through the links to see the examples!)

    – Your home — backyard weddings are some of the sweetest weddings, right?
    – Someone else's home. Click through the link to see a special polyamorous elopement.
    – A brewery or other interesting eating or drinking place.
    – A city park — many parks have gazebos or other structures that can be rented for parties of any kind.
    – A garden at an estate or museum. Many public spaces will allow commitment ceremonies on their grounds.
    – City hall, the site of so many different weddings.
    – Your church or temple — they might surprise you.

How to start the conversation

Is your wedding venue open to polyamorous ceremonies? Ask ahead, and give them some time to figure it out. ...

●  Newsweek ran an autobiographical piece, 'This Is What It's Actually Like to Be Non-Monogamous' (July 19), by Melina Cassidy, a relationship coach and organizer in sex-positive communities in British Columbia, Canada. Over the years some members of the Polyamory Leadership Network have expressed concerns about Cassidy' interactions with community members. She has formed an accountability pod, and any who have concerns about her are invited to contact the pod at http://radicalrelationshipcoaching.ca/accountability/.

By Mel Cassidy

On July 25, 2009 I was at home with my husband. Though it was more than a decade ago, I can vividly remember the lightning that filled the sky, the thunder that roared through the air and deep rumblings that shook the ground. Because that day, something awoke within me.

My husband and I had tried for years to start a family, but on that day I began to wonder whether my desire for a child wasn't actually about creating a new life outside of myself, but was a need to create a new life for myself.

I married when I was 22, to the first man I had a significant relationship with. Growing up I experienced homophobia and negativity around sex, which had the effect of squashing my queer desires and propelling me into a futile attempt to fulfil the heterosexual monogamous "dream."

Yet I knew I was attracted to women and desired multiple partners. I hoped those desires would evaporate when I experienced the "magic" of matrimony, but they never did, and for years I battled with depression and shame around my sexuality.

On that day of the storm, I had a realization that I had never really felt seen, understood, and loved for who I truly was—and that needed to change. ...

●  And lastly, another happy-polyfamily profile popped up in the tabloids. They started as unicorn hunters, then found a better way: Polyamorous mother, 29, who opened her relationship to a female colleague insists they're all parents to each others' five children - and wants her boyfriend to have a baby with their new partner (Daily Mail, July 30). With 19 pix of them. Once again, the tabloid is in the UK but its agent found a polyfam in the US. 

Polyamorous mother Cheyenne Barnes, 29, from Houston,Texas, is raising a combined brood of five after opening her relationship with James Chorman, 34, up to female co-worker Joelle Temporal, 24.

They are raising their 'rainbow family' under one roof with the youngsters referring to the women as 'Mommy Cheyenne' or 'Mommy Joelle'.

And they are hoping to add a sixth child to their brood, as machinist James and insurance agent Joelle are also trying to have a baby together.

Cheyenne said: 'People say we're messing up our kids, but the kids don't care. All they see is three people who love each other – and love them.

'My eldest daughter told me her friends think it's cool she has three parents because, "She can get even more presents." But she doesn't look at it that way. She says she has more people to love her.'

...As the trio all have different parenting styles – with Cheyenne being more of a disciplinarian than her boyfriend and girlfriend – they do disagree from time to time when it comes to decisions about the children, although they work through any clashes using open communication and, occasionally, a vote.

...Cheyenne continued: 'They get to be the fun ones while I'm the bad guy! I'm pretty fair across the board with each child, regardless of whether or not they are biologically mine.

'I always make sure to have a talk with the kids so they understand what they did wrong and can think about it in the future.'

The throuple are blissfully happy as a blended family of eight, and Joelle still has her heart set on having a baby, but has no plans to fall pregnant until next year....

The original couple started off by going unicorn hunting. It didn't work:

Setting up profiles on several dating apps, the couple soon realised that finding a potential candidate was going to be harder than they had anticipated.

'We started going on dates, but none of them lived up to our expectations,' Cheyenne explained.

'We were looking for a relationship where all three partners were equally invested in one another, but every date we went on, the girl was always more interested in either James or me - never both of us.

'The final nail in the coffin was after we'd spent five or six dates with one particular girl.

'She ended up trying to take James to bed, without me and he just said, "This isn't working".

'We decided maybe we didn't want to do this after all.'

But then Cheyenne "threw herself into her then job at an insurance company, where she met mother-of-one Joelle." They gradually bonded as work friends, and things developed naturally from there. Eventually, "We went to the bedroom as a trio, and it was surprisingly natural. It was the first time for all of us, but it all felt so natural."

...Keen to encourage more understanding about polyamory, Cheyenne said: 'Some people try and sabotage our relationship by saying it won't work out or it's not normal.

'We've been together a year and we're going strong. We have no intention of this not working out.

'I just hope that by sharing our story it becomes more normalised and poly people are treated equally without all the negativity.'

James admits, 'It's been difficult at times, but you work through it because you love two people.'

And while Joelle still faces negative reactions, she insists the relationship is worth it. ... 'People have told my daughter from a previous relationship that Cheyenne isn't her mother, and that hurts.

'But no matter how challenging it gets, I feel like we're in a good place in our relationship and that's worth fighting for.'

That's Friday Polynews Roundup for now. Stay safe, don't be a knucklehead, and don't breathe knuckleheads' microdroplets.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

July 29, 2020

Cambridge moves to follow Somerville in recognizing poly partnerships

That didn't take long! Remember the speculation that Cambridge, Massachusetts, might follow the lead of its smaller neighbor Somerville and recognize domestic partnerships of three or more people?

We brought you the comment that a conservative outlet collected three weeks ago from Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan: “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. ...  I look forward to working with my colleagues and the community to update this law as soon as possible.”

Well, this just in from the Cambridge Day:

Law acknowledging polyamorous relationships takes step forward, two councillors holding back

The caption they ran was, "A widely used image of polyamory rights represented in a march." (This famous banner did duty in at least two San Francisco Pride Parades in the mid-2000s; one of them is seen here. The yellow sign, BTW, got it right.)
By Marc Levy

Cambridge took a step toward formally recognizing polyamorous relationships on Monday [July 27], advancing legislation in the City Council that would give domestic partnerships with more than two people the same legal benefits that married couples have.

City staff are asked to weigh in on the proposed law, including getting advice from the LGBTQ+ Commission and city solicitor, before it returns at the next regular council meeting, Sept. 14.

Recognizing poly relationships might seem daring to much of America, where conventional wisdom has it that no more than 5 percent of the population takes part in relationships that openly include more than two people. But Somerville enacted a domestic partnerships ordinance June 29 (“We can’t always be first,” [Cambridge] vice mayor Alanna Mallon said), and councillors heard from one resident who said the law didn’t go far enough.

In advancing to a second reading and likely enactment, the order drew six votes in favor and none against. Councillor Dennis Carlone wasn’t able to vote, being absent for the latter part of a nearly six-hour meeting. But two councillors voted “present” instead of taking a position.

“I’m going to vote present on this because there are some issues I’m not familiar with. I was hoping to have at some point a committee hearings so this can be talked about and explained,” councillor Tim Toomey said.

The second vote of “present” came from councillor E. Denise Simmons, whose term as mayor beginning in 2008 was notable because she was the nation’s first openly lesbian black mayor. When she married in 2009, her ceremony was the first same-sex marriage in a traditionally African-American church in Cambridge. She has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights over the years, as well as for the faith community.

Simmons took, if anything, a harder line on the motion.

“I concur with my colleague, councillor Toomey – I don’t know enough about it,” Simmons said. “I don’t want to send it to a second reading, because I don’t have enough information. And we’re just not going anyplace where it can be vetted. If it’s going right on to the second reading, I will be voting present.”

Inclusivity efforts

But councillor Marc McGovern said the order was in line with the effort last term to get state permission for a gender-neutral option on birth certificates, expanding options for transgender and gender non-binary people who wanted to correct their form, as well as for new parents. It was proposed by McGovern and co-sponsored by Simmons, as well as by Mallon and councillor Sumbul Siddiqui, who is now mayor. The city offered a domestic partnership ordinance, acknowledging non-married couples, in 1992.

“This is about an important acknowledgement of the various ways that people love and show their commitment to one another. And to think about how we continuously push ourselves to be as inclusive as possible,” said Siddiqui, author of the Monday order with co-sponsors Mallon, McGovern and councillor Quinton Zondervan.

Public comment

The order drew a handful public comments, mainly from people expressing support for the recognition for their own long-standing poly relationships – including one with a bit of drama to it. “This is my coming out,” one resident said. “If this policy order is passed, you will be recognizing my marriage of 38 years, and I deeply appreciate it.”

Another commenter wished the order went further.

“I am concerned that these changes are too narrow to achieve what I hope and believe are the city’s goal of inclusivity,” said a resident who identified as asexual and aromantic – not experiencing sexual romantic attraction. “The proposed changes are insufficient to include a partnership like mine, where my partner lives down the block from my intentional community.”

The law as written also doesn’t accommodate people who have multiple partners, the speaker said. “For example, someone who has two partners who are not involved with each other would not be able to enter into a partnership with each of those individuals. The city should take this opportunity to more broadly acknowledge the many types of families that already exists among its residents.”

The original (July 28, 2020). More news surely to follow; the lopsided 6-0-2 vote to advance the measure means it is quite likely to pass at the September 14th City Council meeting.

Compared to Somerville, Cambridge is larger in population and much larger in national and international renown, with Harvard and MIT and all that comes with them, and business and wealth; it's the biotech capital of the East.

Labels: , , , ,

July 27, 2020

The polyamory flag is a grim, confusing failure. Let's do better.

So here's a years-long peeve, and boy howdy, am I not the only one. The polyamory flag stinks. It confuses, it fails to communicate a message other than Huh?, and its colors loom angry and foreboding. "Some math or engineering society" is what usually comes to people's minds. It fails to declare for us, fails to inspire, fails to do a flag's job.

But we keep using it decade after decade, ever since Jim Evans proposed it in 1995 against no competition. It seemed like a good idea at the time.1 Maybe it was, when the self-identifying polyamory community was small, insular, and (as Evans later explained) mostly trying to keep hidden.2

From a typical recent discussion on reddit/r/polyamory (161,000 subscribers):

"The flag everyone is happy to see burn."

"New rule for this sub. Who ever posts this flag shall be banned. It is fugly."

"Every time it's posted, everyone hates it, so everybody just stop using it. It's no longer our flag."

"Can we please throw that flag out now?"

"Slowly takes walltacks out of the poly flag hanging on my wall I just learned everyone hates."

Another discussion on reddit/r/polyamory.

Fortunately, many people have created new polyamory flag candidates. At least two of them IMO would be excellent if enough folks decide to adopt them as the new standard.

At left are a few of the alternatives that people have put into the public domain on Wikimedia Commons. Take a look at the hi-res versions there, with the creators' names, dates and descriptions. And maybe add one of your own.

Here are more new candidates, sorted by keyword "polyamory" from the geeky site reddit/r/QueerVexillology. (I know this brings up the old debate "Is poly queer?", but there they are.)

And here's what an internet-wide image search brings up for "polyamory flag."

My own favorites are the two below. Both use our universal infinity-heart symbol, which is by far the most widely recognized emblem of polyamory today.3

This first one is by Emma @HECKSCAPER, created September 2019. It seems to be catching on, and it's my fav. Here's its Wikimedia Commons page. Emma tweeted that the Evans flag left her "so visually offended that I had to make my own version using the infinity heart instead, while maintaining the general meaning of the chosen colors." She made the colors lighter and less severe, and the central disk is bold, happy and airy. But shouldn't it be just a little larger for better proportioning?

This one is by Monroe of RatLab Art, August 2016. Its Wikimedia Commons page. Wrote Monroe, "I redesigned the polyamory flag bc the old one seems a little jarring to me. I like the original meaning behind the colors, though." Again the colors are more muted than the original's. The infinity heart is proudly center stage and grabs you from a distance. I might prefer a brighter gold rather than tan, keeping Evans' original symbolism that went with the gold color for the pi.1

So, how can we get a new flag into wide use? By using it! The ultimate decider will be the wisdom of the crowd. If you have a favorite, or design one, promote it (like I just did!) and see if other people pick it up.

I bet in a few years we'll be using a new poly flag that most of us are happy with and that carries our message proudly and well.


1.  In August 2016 Jim Evans wrote about his thinking behind the flag when he created it 21 years earlier. Among other things, he says that he kept its meaning deliberately obscure because people were more closeted then. And he used the letter pi partly because he could simply copy it from a font into Microsoft Paint, while drawing an infinity heart in Paint would have been challenging "given my limited abilities."

From his post: 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Polyamory, Pride Flags, and Patterns of Feedback

...I've been polyamorous, or "poly" for short, for nearly all of my adult life. A little over 20 years ago, I lived in the Pacific Northwest, and for the first time in my life, I experienced first-hand the struggles and celebrations of what is now known as the LGBT community. One thing that struck me was the imagery and symbolism those communities used to rally around, identify other members, and publicly announce their membership in the community. The pride flag was one image that made a huge impression on me. At that time, the poly community didn't really have similar symbols to use, so I took it upon myself to create one. Here's what I made up, and released into the public domain in the late summer or early fall of 1995.

Here's the text I wrote up describing it to the first mailing list I shared it with. It's become the canonical description of this particular flag:

The poly pride flag consists of three equal horizontal colored stripes with a symbol in the center of the flag. The colors of the stripes, from top to bottom, are as follows: blue, representing the openness and honesty among all partners with which we conduct our multiple relationships; red, representing love and passion; and black, representing solidarity with those who, though they are open and honest with all participants of their relationships, must hide those relationships from the outside world due to societal pressures. The symbol in the center of the flag is a gold Greek lowercase letter 'pi', as the first letter of 'polyamory'. The letter's gold color represents the value that we place on the emotional attachment to others, be the relationship friendly or romantic in nature, as opposed to merely primarily physical relationships.

Now, here are some things to understand. Clearly, I'm not a visual artist. My tools for creation at the time were literally limited to Microsoft Paint, running on Windows 3.1. Nevertheless, the flag design managed to limp along, with little fanfare. My friends and I used it, and thought of it as quirky and something that could be used in the way other pride flags were used, as a symbol to rally around and for identification.

Fast forward 20 years. Apparently, this thing called the World Wide Web happened, and let all sorts of people communicate and discover things they'd never known about before. New polyamorous people began to discover the flag existed. One would think that people might think it was an interesting idea, given its intent. One would be wrong. The flag has been called vile, no good, hideous, disappointing, ugly, and many other negative things.

One of the issues frequently brought up is that the color scheme is garish or unpleasing. That's subjective, and I can't argue with their perception. I still think there's value in the color symbology, if not the actual RGB values I used when creating it.

Many people seem to take issue with the pi symbol as obscure. There were specific reasons for choosing it at the time. First, I specifically avoided imagery that included a heart. The leather pride flag, which predates the design of mine, includes a heart, and I was trying to avoid confusion, given that community was there first. The "infinity heart" was not yet as widely accepted a symbol for polyamory, and would have been challenging for me to incorporate given my limited abilities in the visual arts. The letter pi was readily available on computer typographic platforms even in those days, so I chose that.

Also, at the time, I was more concerned with "in the closet" polyfolk, and was far more in the closet myself than I am these days. I wanted a symbol that could be used relatively anonymously, that could let people who were in on the symbology connect, without it being too specific.

Additionally, there was already a rich history of existing pride symbols using Greek letters, the use of lambda as an LGBT symbol being a concrete example. I was hoping to evoke similarity and solidarity without being too explicit or derivative. Finally, the fact that the "poly" in polyamory is a Greek root seemed to indicate that would be a natural choice. In retrospect, perhaps a lemniscate ("infinity symbol") would've been a better choice, but nobody spoke up then.


2.  In the history of the modern polyamory movement, one person stands above everyone else in bringing the small early community out of its shell of secrecy and fear of public notice. That was Robyn Trask, who acquired Loving More magazine and its gatherings in 2004 to rescue it when it was on the brink of extinction.

The common view in the polyworld up to then had been that all the news media are sensationalist and nasty and incapable of treating this thing we do accurately. There were examples of that. But few in the community seemed able or willing to see the difference between a scandal-seeking tabloid hack and the serious writers and editors who would soon be producing excellent, seminal feature articles about us for the likes of the Washington Post and New Scientist.

Robyn has always said that her motivation is to help people like her own younger self: lost and ashamed in a monocentric wilderness, with no idea that another way is possible. On taking over Loving More, Robyn realized that only the mass media could reach most such people and let them know that there's a whole community they can join, one that has amassed a great deal of practical polyamory expertise. She says that early on, she set a goal for Loving More "to make 'polyamory' a household word."

She started sending out press releases to news media. Within two months of acquiring Loving More she got her hometown Denver Post to run a 2000-word feature story on the concept and local polyfolks who volunteered to be interviewed. The 700 Club, the showpiece program of the Christian Broadcasting Network, invited her on and she bravely accepted. They treated her with surprising respect, giving her a chance to explain, in her pleasant and folksy way, that multiple loving relationships with everyone's understanding and consent are actually possible and really happening  to more than a million Christian viewers.

She sent out a press release before the 2005 Loving More conference at Ramblewood in Maryland, the first conference under her leadership, and welcomed onsite a reporter and photographer from the Baltimore Sun, then one of America's great newspapers. She introduced them to everybody at the beginning, they agreed in front of the crowd to hard rules she set around everyone's privacy, and they left after one day. The result was a major, excellent feature article in the Sun, later reprinted elsewhere. It was surely a life-changer to some readers who had thought they were the only ones in the world.

Good media like that began to change attitudes in the poly community about what was possible  especially if you chose intelligently who to deal with, researched their employers' biases and motives, and learned basic tricks for dealing with the media successfully. Such as memorizing and rehearsing some key talking points beforehand, presenting yourself well in the eyes of your audience, saying nothing that you don't want used even if it means a long silence (they'll clip that out), and how to walk away from a trap.

The more news stories and TV interviews that poly people did, the better informed the media themselves became going into interviews, and the easier it got. This required many intelligent, good-hearted, quick-witted, very out polyfolks who were ready to go on camera and to talk to writers. But our movement had people like that! By about 2012 "herd journalism" had taken hold: If your competitor runs a story about an interesting new topic that grabs people's attention, you have to do it too. 


As it happened, that Loving More conference at Ramblewood was my own first. I'll always remember stepping out of my car in the parking field and walking toward the gaily decorated registration table, my heart pounding with an awareness that in a few moments my life would change forever. (I was right.)

Within weeks of the conference and that Baltimore Sun article, I started doing the project that became Polyamory in the News. My original intent was to capture and highlight how the mainstream world was actually treating us, and what we could do about it. That was roughly 4,000 articles and broadcasts ago plus many more that I've surely missed.

It worked. Fifteen years later just about the entire Western world knows about us — and knows that for some people, multi-relationships can work joyously all around when carried out in the right environment of abundant communication with work on serious self-knowledge and relationship skills. "The polyamorous possibility" has become widely known.

It's so much better now — thanks to all you dedicated, great-hearted volunteers who are working in ways large and small, year after year, for a powerful idea.


3.  The infinity heart as a symbol for polyamory arose in the mid-1990s. The very first was the one at right, created and put into the public domain by Brian Crabtree. New versions quickly appeared (now there are at least a couple hundred), and by about 2010 the infinity heart had pushed the once-dominant4 poly parrot nearly to extinction. . .

. . .such as Ray Dillinger's parrot from 1997 or before, at left, one of the first. For years it was the familiar logo of the alt.polyamory Usenet group, one of the first poly-specific discussion site on the web. The site was created (with no graphics) on May 21, 1992, by Jennifer L. Wesp, who had just invented the word polyamory independently of Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart (who first published a form of it in May 1990). See "Polyamory" enters the Oxford English Dictionary, and tracking the word's origins. (The alt.polyamory list was predated by the "triples list," founded around 1989 and hosted by Sun Microsystems, says Howard Landman, August 2020.)

In 2002 Alex West posted a  history of polyamory symbols while the movement was still young.


4.  For instance, alt.polyamory had a very old FAQ page (undated but still in a version of the site "last modified June 1997"), including,  "There are several proposed symbols of polyamory, of which the most common seems to be the parrot.  As parrot pins and other ornaments are relatively easy to find, this symbol seems likely to catch on over the others."

Labels: , , , , , ,