Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

October 31, 2009

Mono vs. Poly debated on CNN TV


Following its online article, CNN TV aired an interview advocating monogamy as the only true way paired with one presenting polyamory as an excellent alternative for some.

The mono viewpoint was presented by a nice lady from the Wedded Bliss Foundation. The poly spokespeople were Terisa Greenan, creator of the poly web series "Family" (now winding up its first season) and one of her longterm partners, Scott.

Watch the video clip (4 minutes; posted Oct. 30, 2009).



October 28, 2009

CNN on monogamy and the poly alternative

CNN online

It's as mass-market an outlet as you can get. CNN published an article on its website this morning about the difficulty of monogamy (despite its alleged benefits) and its apparent unnaturalness (while stressing that it can be achieved). The article describes the polyamory alternative for eight paragraphs, and manages not to screw it up.

More and more, the mainstream is starting to grasp poly and recognize that it's a genuine, happily workable possibility for certain people — one that's important and worth discussing. We're winning.

Mate debate: Is monogamy realistic?

By A. Pawlowski, CNN

..."It's realistic that some people can mate for life in the same sense that some people can play the Beethoven violin concerto or other people can ice-skate beautifully or learn a new language," said psychiatrist Judith Eve Lipton.

Added [her husband] evolutionary biologist David Barash, "It's within the realm of human potential, but it's not easy."...

Possibilities in polyamory?

...The 1970s introduced the concept of "open marriage" in which couples stayed married but were free to date other people.

More recently, polyamory -- the practice of having romantic relationships with multiple people at the same time with the full knowledge and consent of all involved -- has been getting a lot of attention.

"We found the expectation that one person should be our everything seemed unrealistic given our day and age.... It's oddly pressuring to set up that scenario," said Mark, who lives in Springfield, Missouri, and is in a polyamorous relationship. (He asked that his last name not be used for privacy reasons.)

Mark, 42, has been married for five years. He and his wife tried different things to spice up their marriage, including swinging, or having casual sex with other people, he said. But they found the experience unfulfilling and decided what they really wanted was to be able to fall in love with others while staying together.

Mark dates another woman, and his wife, who declined to be interviewed for this article, is dating another man. The four of them frequently get together to have dinner or watch movies.

"People describe polyamory as 'poly-agony' because of all the work you have to do to maintain things," Mark said. "It's just not normal to look over and see your wife with another man. I know a lot of people would have a real problem with that. I really don't."

The ultimate goal is for everyone in the group to live together, Mark said.

"This isn't about having affairs, it's really about being able to be open and loving," he added.

Researchers studying polyamory estimate there are more than half a million polyamorous families in the United States, according to Newsweek.

I just wish the subject had been treated more as a positive expansion of love in its own right, rather than as a workaround for monogamy's failures.

Also, I was glad to see the "poly-agony" warning — for people who might get the notion that this is something you can just run out and do without a lot of conscious mutual relationship work. Some people seem naturally born to polyamory and swim in it as easily as fish in water. Most people aren't, and have to do more relearning and self-training than they may expect. (Of course you never have to; don't let anyone bullshit you into poly against your better judgment.)

The article goes on to quote an interesting extreme statement:

...Many people believe monogamy is completely on its way out. French author Jacques Attali in recent years wrote [in Foreign Policy magazine], "Monogamy, which is really no more than a useful social convention, will not survive. It has rarely been honored in practice; soon, it will vanish even as an ideal."

I doubt it. For one thing, consider some statistics of poly relationships. Although I don't know hard numbers, there certainly seem to be more vees than fully interlinked triads; more triads than quads; more quads than quints. The trend is clear: the more complex the setup, the less often it occurs in nature.

Extrapolate this trend backward, and the simplest arrangement is a couple (which has only 1 person-to-person relationship, compared to a vee's 2, a full triad's 3, a quad's 6, and a quint's 10). So for this reason alone, I think that some form of monogamy will always remain the most common relationship choice — even in a completely poly-aware and poly-accepting future.

Read the whole article (Oct. 28, 2009). And join the comments. Remember, late comments are important, because in a most-recent-first ordering, they will stay on top for a long time if the fuss has died down.

A condensed version of the article appeared a day later on the website of a TV station local to the Missouri man quoted.



October 23, 2009

Will gay marriage leave relationship radicals in the dust?


Interesting question: How much of polyamory's appeal comes from its stated purpose — being able to share love among several people — and how much comes, instead, from the joy of breaking out of old social molds and creating a pioneering way of life?

Right now, it's often hard to separate the two. But they are not the same thing.

Imagine, for a moment, the freedom-seeking pioneers who carved homesteads out of 19th-century wilderness areas, and how those same areas are now covered with safe, bland suburbs. If, in maybe 50 or 100 years, polyamory becomes similarly commonplace, ordinary, and normal — with legal group weddings happening in churches and courthouses every weekend — what will poly look like?

Maybe we see a preview in what's happening among gays, at least in liberal places like my home state of Massachusetts. Married gay couples are respected members of my church, with conventional looks and clothes and jobs, and kids, and single-family houses with for all I know picket fences. It suits them well. But is gay culture losing its zing? The annual Pride Parade in Boston has become almost respectable; banks, insurance companies, and mainstream politicians jostle for visibility, while Pride Day outrageousness seems on the decline. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe.

I became a relationship radical as a teenager via the science fiction of Robert Heinlein and some of his enthusiasts who inducted me. Much later, in his novel Friday, I was interested to see Heinlein's first portrayal of a dysfunctional poly family. They lived in New Zealand in the far future when group marriage was routine; and they turned out to be, under an attractive surface, as conventional, small-minded, and socially-bound as your Limbaugh-listening relatives in Burned Shed, Kansas.

Yesterday, a columnist on the website of the Houston Voice (one of a chain of gay newspapers) discussed the concerns in the gay world that "the relationships of lesbians and gays who opt to stay in domestic partnerships or in alternative arrangements... such as polyamory... will be deemed inferior to those of married couples."

“I don’t know about this marriage business,” Dick Leitsch muttered half-jokingly. “I don’t feel so special anymore.” The former Mattachine chief and Stonewall activist was expressing a concern some in our community have about how marriage is beginning to change us — how we are losing our edge and identity, and becoming “heteronormative.” How we are selling out.

Actor Rupert Everett was far less gracious. “Marriage? Babies? Please. I want to be illegal. I want to live outside the mainstream.... These awful middle-class queens — which is what the gay movement has become — are so tiresome.”

...The time will come when all Americans can marry if they so choose. But how the act and institution will change us is an interesting question.

In her recently published book, When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage, economist and LGBT researcher M. V. Lee Badgett asks, “Will marriage change gay people?”

She writes that “Some hope so, arguing that gay men will be more monogamous and gay relationships more stable if same-sex couples can marry, and gays and lesbians will be better assimilated into the larger culture.... Others in the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities fear that distinctive features of gay life will be transformed in negative ways.”

At a book reading last week, she added that there are those who fear that the relationships of lesbians and gays who opt to stay in domestic partnerships or in alternative arrangements (such as polyamory) will be deemed inferior to those of married couples....

The columnist, Erwin deLeon, describes other such discussions (with links), and he concludes, “Perhaps it’s not too bad after all to no longer feel so special. In 'selling out,' we stand to gain a whole lot more. Equality, for one.”

Read the whole article (Oct. 22, 2009).


Here's another take on the same topic: Queer Culture vs. Gay Marriage, on the blogsite of a gay paper in Australia.


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October 20, 2009

Excellent TV report on the widening poly trend

"16:9, The Big Picture" (Canada)

"16:9 is a newsmagazine program on Global Television here in Canada," writes Heathen. "I thought this segment was not bad — pretty surface-level stuff, but not a bad presentation."

I'd say we couldn't ask for better! Titled "Love Affairs," it's a report on the widening interest in polyamory — accurate, perceptive, and nearly 9 minutes long. It features lots of engaging, intelligent polys who convey our messages well. No freak shows, no ignorant "experts." It spotlights some poly difficulties, and that's good; we really don't want the public getting the idea they can just dash into this and expect free-love rainbows and unicorns. The promo on the show's website is a bit mixed:

Imagine being in a COMMITTED relationship with more than one person. It’s called “Polyamory”: some claim it’s a license to cheat, while others are cheering on this so-called romantic revolution. 16:9 introduces you to the “Poly people”. See if relationships without borders can really work.

To that last question, the show's answer is a clear "yes." Included are Terisa Greenan and her partners Scott, Larry, and Matt; Vancouver alt-sexologist Danielle Duplassie; and Canadians Maureen Marovitch and David Finch, who made the poly documentary "When Two Won't Do" back in 2001 (they're older now but still looking good).

Watch the show (9 minutes; Oct. 18, 2009).

A couple of noteworthy bits:

"For reasons unknown, polyamory has catapulted into the spotlight in the last few months." [Thanks, all you reasons unknown, you know who you are. :) ]

"It's roughly estimated 1% of the population is now polyamorous." [No source is given for this; I suspect it's just somebody's guess.]

This blog gets flashed onscreen for a second! We're famous.

Join in the comments.

The show also hosted a live blog, on which a viewer asked Scott, "Do you think this type of relationship will catch on and become a norm unto itself?" He replied,

I think the notion is already getting more popular, or at least more well-known. Awareness of the concept is mainstreaming, even if the practice is still marginalized. Over time, I think mainstream awareness does gradually lead to greater acceptance, and eventually more practitioners. So yeah, I can see this becoming a "normal" subset of our culture.


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October 19, 2009

Poly getting noticed in Poland


I just learned a word in Polish: wielomiłość. As the Polish news-and-culture site Onet.pl explains in a long article today, it's a synonym for poliamoria. The article presents the core concepts and describes practitioners in England and America, mostly copying material from the excellent story that appeared in Great Britain's The Independent on September 13th. The Polish article doesn't seem to contain any local reporting; Poland is still a pretty conservative society, as I understand it.

Here's some of the article via Google Language Tools:

One love is not enough

Love more than one child at the same time? Normal thing.

We can have [various] feelings about several people at the same time. Why then, do we not love more than one partner? Polyamory is a mystery, which only now begins to be spoken of, though the term has been officially in use for 20 years.

It's a sexual minority of people who agree to live in stable relationships, open enough that the other party has the right to enter into serious intimacy with someone else. It's not to be confused with polygamy. [But] more than one husband or more than one wife is an additional salary in the house, which is not irrelevant in times of crisis.

Poliamoriści believe that this is their time.[?] Partnerships are changing, traditional relationships survive the crisis, there is no sense of security. Seeking cure for loneliness and the fear of it being in a relationship, polyamory may seem a way out of the situation. For some. Carefully for several thousand people in Britain, where they have a website and celebrate Polyday in September. American poliamoriści celebrate in October with a picnic and "cuddle party" on New York's "Poly Pride Weekend."...

Read the whole original, or as mangled by machine into English.

Want to find out more? Google wielomiłość and view the results in either Polish or English.

Update: See the new Polish poly discussion forum Poliamoria, "the first Polish forum about polyamory." (Here it is translated into machine English by Google Translate.)


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October 17, 2009

Out and proud, or TMI?

Savage Love

Dan Savage, relationship columnist, is widely syndicated in the alternative press. He's caring, disgusting, ass-a-holic, sincere, wise, and sometimes off-base, but always interesting. In a Savage Love Letter of the Day, he responds to a query from a poly couple facing a common etiquette problem.

Q: National Coming Out Day [October 11] got me thinking: My husband and I have been poly for 11 years now. We are a straight couple who wants to be together hopefully for the rest of our lives, and neither of us believe that a lifetime of monogamy will help us achieve that....

Though we are quite happy with our arrangement, we struggle with knowing how "out" to be about it with family and friends. How much to tell them? We don't want to keep secrets, but we also don't want to over-share....

When it comes up in conversation, we are honest, which often makes people uncomfortable. My guess is that people either project how they would feel if their S.O. were to propose opening their relationship, or they think we are looking for other partners because our relationship is on the rocks.

As a matter of fact, this is often how the subject comes up. Someone will talk about a couple they know who has tried opening their relationship and is now no longer a couple.... These comments are inevitably followed by the pronouncement that "open relationships never work." When I say, "Really? But we've been together for 11 years," mouths drop. It's like they're looking at a Sasquatch or something.... Then the questions start and though I'm happy to answer them, my answers tend to leave at least one person in the group uncomfortable and sometimes angry....

In your opinion, how "out" should us poly people be?

—Poly Works For Us

A: A straight couple is presumed to be monogamous until they state otherwise. Even so, PWFU, I don't think you're under any obligation to run around in "NOT MONOGAMOUS" t-shirts, or open every conversation with, "Hello, we sometimes fuck other people." Coming out about your poly relationship when poly/non-monogamous people are being maligned in your presence sounds about right. At that moment you need to speak up — to speak up for yourselves and others in non-monogamous relationships.

Too many folks in committed, loving, long-term, and successful and successfully non-monogamous relationships are reluctant to identify themselves as non-monogamous. It's just easier for a couple to allow themselves to be perceived as monogamous; it's tempting to avoid the judgments and defensiveness of the insecure and monogamous. (I'm not saying that all monogamous people are insecure — far from it.) This leads to a distorted picture of non-monogamy. We hear about the failure of relationships that were non-monogamous but we rarely hear about the successes....

And if there's still one angry and uncomfortable person in the room after you've patiently answered every question, well, fuck 'em. And remember: for the non-monogamous best revenge is staying together.

Read the whole column (Oct. 13, 2009).

Remember, not long ago it was considered obnoxious TMI to let people know you were gay. ("Eeew, he does things with other guys, gross.")

A couple days ago, Frangipani discussed the subject on her blog:

How much do you tell people? When do you tell them? How? Should you tell them anything in the first place? Why?

I’ve been poly for over a year now and haven’t run into any major issues with my relationships. I’m happy with my partners, they like each other, I like their partners, it’s all good.

But when I talk to my colleagues or to an acquaintance, how do I work in the partners?... In some instances I’ve mentioned both my husband and my partner/boyfriend, but generally the persons I’ve been speaking with have assumed I was talking about the same person. Given that these are throwaway conversations with people I don’t have any deep-and-meaningfuls with, that’s not so bad....

But what about contacts that are a bit more than that? What about people who, because we see each other more often, eventually mention their kids and what they did that weekend, or the funny thing that happened with their in-laws, etc.? At some level, you’re expected to reciprocate with stories of your own lest you seem uninterested in theirs.... I don’t want them to think I’m being standoffish or that they’re boring me, because neither is true....

Read more.

Also: Do you have a poly coming-out story to share? Anita Wagner and Bitsy are collecting them for the Polyamory Leadership Network's Coming Out Project. Anita explains that the project is

intended as an effort to make the larger polyamory community aware of the risks and responsibilities related to being out as polyamorous, and to encourage and assist people with coming out when they can do so reasonably safely. I envision our providing support to those who are experiencing challenges around this issue. The ultimate goal would be to demonstrate to the mainstream that poly individuals and families are no cause for concern.

For this purpose, Bitsy is setting up a website, OpenlyPoly.net:

In a world that strongly privileges monogamy, choosing to live as openly polyamorous requires the courage to face constant curiosity and criticism from friends, family, and strangers alike. As we conduct our lives, we know we are not living openly unless we have taken harrowing step of coming out. This site collects stories of people who have taken that step....

If you have a story you'd like to submit, you can email it to her at this address: stories (AT) openlypoly (DOT) net.


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October 13, 2009

French TV covers America's polys

L'Effet Papillon; Canal Plus TV (France)

At last month's Loving More retreat in upstate New York, a TV crew from France was all over the place filming all weekend. They were from an international news-feature program called L'Effet Papillon, "The Butterfly Effect," on the premium cable channel Canal Plus. The show, supposedly, seeks out little-noticed stories worldwide that could come to mean big things.

Loving More director Robyn Trask had decided to let them in after checking the show's bona fides, setting rules, and getting the crew to sign guarantees about respecting attendees' privacy and comfort levels. The crew took hours of film, and the producers condensed it to a few minutes of a 15-minute report on the polyamory movement in America.

The show aired September 26th. It's fast-paced, engaging, pretty flip, but positive. I'll even give them a pass on the one crack about anciens hippies, restés perchés dans les seventies.

To watch the show, go here and click the item on the right labeled "Partie 2" (and wait through the ad).

Here's a partial English translation, mostly by my friend Valerie White, who was a workshop presenter at Loving More and figures prominently in the show.

Welcome to the Polys....

It's the latest obsession of the right in the United States: after gay marriage, already legal in five U.S. states, will come plural marriage!

In the crosshairs of conservative editorialists: the polyamorists: folks who live several love stories at the same time.

In the suburbs of Seattle on the west coast of the United States, welcome to the home of Terisa Greenan, who receives us with Scott and Matt, two of her lovers... but that's not all — because this polyamorous community includes other members.

Terisa Greenan: “Over the last year the group has expanded: I go out with Matt, who is married and whose wife Vera also goes out with my other lover, Larry, who's not here today. Matt and Vera live a little farther down the neighborhood, with their son.”
“—Sometimes it feels like we live here too, but that’s not the case—”
“—In all this there are two houses, five adults and one child.”

A little hard to follow? No surprise: the polyamorous live several relationships at the same time, but in full transparency. Ménages à trois or four or five, but without lying or cheating.

Terisa Greenan:
“Sixty to seventy percent of men cheat on their wives, and fifty to sixty percent of women cheat on their husbands, but people think it's more acceptable to lie and cheat on the person you say you love than to be honest with her. I'm sure that if I told my monogamous female friends that I'm married but have a secret lover, they'd say, 'You go girl, you've got it!' But when I tell people, 'I have a husband and a lover, and another sweetheart, and everybody knows and everybody agrees,' they think I'm crazy. Is that weird or what?”

Polys folks are almost like everyone else. To get that message out, Teresa has even created a video series on the web. It’s called “Family”. A sitcom which is based on her polyamorous life, packaged on the internet. And which has revealed the phenomenon to the great American public.

These days the polyamorists have won the recognition of the U.S. national press. Newsweek devoted several pages to the phenomenon; the weekly even spoke of “a new sexual revolution”, [saying] there are at least 500,000 people taking part in this lifestyle in the U.S. At the end of September, the MTV network aired a one-hour documentary: a portrait of the young generation of polys.

Here we are in the countryside on the other side of the U.S., in upstate New York. Here the annual conference is being held of the magazine “Loving More”, the bible of the polyamory movement.

This is the core of the community, those who want to organize themselves into a movement. Many aging hippies, still perched in the seventies: lightly clothed, a weekend to share everything... dance, karma, cuddles, and even kisses, for peace and free love. For example:

“A three-way kiss? Okay! Are you ready? Here we go.”

...During the Loving More conference, one learns also about the difficulties of this lifestyle. Valerie White is a lawyer­ — her mission, to alert polys to discrimination they may face in a country still very marked by puritanism.

“If your boss wants to fire you because he doesn’t appreciate your lifestyle, then he can. In the U.S. there are many laws to protect religious minorities, people of color, homosexuals, but polys are not protected. So, if you lose your job after your boss discovers you’re poly, you can’t sue.”

Problems involving custody of children, questions about inheritance and property, delicate relations with families of origin... it’s not always easy being poly.

Loving More has taken on the goal of improving the image of polys with the general public. And apparently they're succeeding: watch a recent British commercial for a famous brand of diapers:

The scenario: A woman presents her new lover to her husband just the way a mother would announce the arrival of a new baby brother [to a jealous older sibling].

Are there more and more polys? No doubt. More and more accepted? Not by everybody. On a conservative American talk show, the presenters gloat: Gay marriage, legalized in five US states, has opened the door to everything, ­including polyamory.

Bill O’Reilly:
“I can go to Massachusetts and say to the governor, “Hey, I wanna marry Lenny, and not just Lenny, the squeegee guy too! At this rate, you could marry a turtle.”

Glenn Beck:
“What, one man with one woman is the only possibility? No, there’s also a man with a man, a woman with a woman, so why not a man with a woman and then another and still another! It seems crazy, but it's really not!”

In the America of Obama, the conservative right has to reinvent itself in the field of values. And here the polys fall right in. Robert George [of Princeton University] is a member of the Institute for American Values, which battles for traditional marriage: one man, one woman.

Robert George:
“The erosion of the culture of marriage in the US has dramatic consequences for children. Of course one can imagine that this doesn’t relate to polyamory, because there, a child doesn’t have just two parents but four or why not seven. But is it an illusion.”

At the end of the polyamory conference, Valerie White, the lawyer, has invited us to her home in the Boston suburbs, to meet her poly family.... Their ménage à trois has seven-year-old twins. The children belong equally to all the members of the trio, but is not always simple to explain to the outside world:

“When I'm with Valerie, often people think she's my grandmother.”

“Sometimes I just let it go, because it is too complicated to explain each time, and sometimes I say that I may look like her grandmother but I am in fact one of her parents.”

“At school I tell them that Valerie is one of my mothers but that she didn’t have me.”

It’s obvious there’s no problem with Valerie as co-parent inside the household. With regard to the law, the situation is less clear: Valerie has obtained status as a guardian.

With a half million polyamorists in the US, tens of thousands of children find themselves today in homes with more than two parents. Without going as far as plural marriage, which very few polys are demanding right now, America is going to have to make a place for polyfamilies.


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October 11, 2009

Poly Pride Day in New York: My Report

I'm back from New York City and Polyamorous NYC's 9th annual Poly Pride Picnic & Rally in Central Park.

I wasn't sure what to expect this time. Last year's Poly Pride Weekend was a record-breaker — in terms of numbers of people, numbers of events, publicity efforts, and outside attention — thanks to an influx of enthusiastic and energetic volunteers in the months beforehand. This year, however, things were a lot quieter and turned out about half the size, for reasons described below.

A big Cuddle Party was again held Friday night at the LGBT Community Center in the West Village. The main (and only other) event, the Saturday Picnic & Rally at Great Hill, peaked at about 100 people mid-afternoon, half of last year's number. Not much as New York rallies go. But as a big picnic of friends and acquaintances, enlivened with live music, performances, and talks, it was a fine success.

I had a grand time. Met old friends, made new ones (Hi Michelle and Polina!), joined snuggle piles on blankets (this is a very affectionate crowd), and listened to some surprisingly good music. A lady having a birthday brought 100 cupcakes to pass around. And again, I got to deliver a speech.

So what happened to last year's momentum? Short version: Right after that weekend's success there was a split in leadership. Polyamorous NYC's founder wanted to keep the group to his vision of being primarily gay- and queer-focused and felt he was losing control to newcomers. The new volunteers, who had accepted leadership positions, wanted to do wider outreach to the mainstream world and have a bigger say in running things. The upshot: many of the new people left and are starting Open Love NY. The two sides of the split are now amicable and cross back and forth, including at Saturday's picnic (these are polys after all). But a failure to handle growing pains well halted the growth.


Out of consideration for the audience, the speeches onstage Saturday were limited to five minutes each. Here is mine, which I delivered at the top of my voice to echo from the distance:

The Long View

I started the Polyamory in the News site four years ago... it now has 338 articles, TV shows, radio interviews, magazine stories -- and most of them nowadays are surprisingly good. It's unusual now for the media to miss the basic concepts behind what we're doing, and why. That's a wonderful change from how it used to be.

But let's drop back and take a longer view.

I have believed for years that the polyamory-awareness work we are doing in our time is not just for us and now, but for the decades and centuries.

We are seeing that although we're rather small in numbers, the things that we are saying, and the examples that we are showing, grab very wide attention. We really turn heads. That's because we are declaring, and demonstrating, a previously almost unthinkable paradigm to most people for what is possible in our most intimate sphere of existence. And it's an idea that once heard and seen, is not easily forgotten.

Poly relationships have always been around. But until recent years they were little-known — secretive, ashamed, underground — accepted only among small private elites with no interest in gaining attention — and elsewhere, such relationships were dismissed as insignificant or a joke at best, or an awful crime at worst. A lot like how gay and lesbian relationships existed 50, or 100, or 200 years ago. The great emergence of gay relationships and gay culture into wide recognition in the last 40 years — the normalization of the gay alternative — marks a permanent change in the world. And for centuries to come, this change will be recognized as having taken place during our time.

The same is starting to happen with polyamory. There aren't very many of us yet. The largest poly get-togethers in any one place since this movement began have numbered about 200 or 250 people as best as I can determine 1. Newsweek just reported estimates that there are a half million poly households, in a nation of 300 million people. And yet, we've already had a head-turning impact throughout the Western world. We've introduced a new word into the English language — literally. We've brought a ground-shifting concept — of choice in life relationship style, and of a generalization of romantic love — into wide public awareness. We're busting up the unspoken, unthought-about assumption of mono-normativity as the only possible way that's open to ethical, kind, good people. So that now, people living out in nowhereville who thought they were the only ones on Earth are having shocks of recognition, and realizing there's a world awaiting them. And, we're scaring the pants off bigtime social conservatives.

If we keep it up, future generations will grow up with the basic background knowledge that successful poly love relationships are a real, possible choice for some people — that monogamy isn't necessarily the only good way — and that for some people, life in a wonderful, love-rich poly family or network is possible, workable, and actually happening.

This is how the world changes. As the theologian Paul Tillich noted, "There were only a few thousand people in all Europe who brought about the Renaissance." 2

Lastly: So much of any education-and-awareness work must be done on faith. It is not given to us to know the fruits of our labor. Every generation thinks that their ideas are the culmination of history, that they are the crown of creation... but I'm pretty sure that the polyamory movement as it exists today, and as poly is practiced today, will be seen in the future as just building the foundation for advances that now appear impossible or haven't been imagined — but that will be created by our successors. Surely we are setting the stage for extraordinary and revolutionary developments to come... for things that are now only science fiction, or entirely unthought-of. Yet by shaping the good character of what we do now, we shape the character of the foundation that those advances will be built upon.

So, after much thought, I've concluded that we are doing something remarkably important. Keep it up.

Thank you.


As the afternoon grew late and chilly, we warmed up dancing to the gay rock of Houston Bernard and Bonfire Bandit. (Video). For more than a day later I still had an eerie, disorienting earworm/eyeworm of Larkin Grimm and her group performing a creepy extended version of "Durge"; if Hindu gods were real I'd be damn scared of them now. Kelli Dunham did a great job as MC and stage comedian all afternoon. Thanks to Polina Malamud, the poetry inserter, the crowd was introduced to Marge Piercy's wonderful polyamory poem "A New Constellation"; save this one for if you ever have a group-marriage ceremony. Piercy was unfortunately a little ahead of her time and never connected up with today's poly world.

Justen M. Bennett-Maccubbin , leader of Polyamorous NYC, is already planning the 2010 Poly Pride and has high hopes for a new breakthrough. And yup, I'll be back.

(Three notes for future attendees: It's October so bring a heavy coat and long pants no matter how warm the day starts. Despite PolyNYC's advice I drove my car right into Manhattan and, like last year, parked easily near the location. And yes, there are restrooms onsite.)

See also the blogs about the day by Kelli Dunham and by The Last Unicorn.


1 These are, to the best of my knowledge: the 2008 Poly NYC Picnic & Rally, the 2005 PolyCamp Northwest in Washington State, probably the annual Poly Paradise campsite at Burning Man, and the annual PolyDay get-together in London. One or more Loving More conferences around 2000 came close. Do you know of any others?

2 From A History of Christian Thought: From Its Judaic and Hellenistic Origins to Existentialism, Paul Tillich (1967, 1968), page 349. The page is online at tinyurl.com/y9f55nm. A version going around the internet is, "What we call the Renaissance was participated in by about one thousand people," and I've quoted that version before, but I can't trace it to Tillich, and my guess now is that it's someone's misquote. (If you know otherwise please write me at alan7388 AT gmail DOT com.)


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October 1, 2009

TV update on a triad and their baby

TV-3 EntreLínies (Spain)

Remember the TV coverage of Juliette Siegfried and her partners Laurel and Roland, near Barcelona, when Laurel was pregnant? The three invited the TV program to come back and check on them after the kid was born. Well, the TV people did, and have aired their report (11 minutes, in Spanish and Catalan). There are now four in the family, and they're all adorable.

If someone tells you that TV can't possibly cover polys accurately and sympathetically, point them here.

From the accompanying article (translated):

Share the Love

A year ago we met Roland, Juliette and Laurel, poliamorosos; which is to say, all three had a romantic relationship that was sexual and stable.... Now, 365 days after our first report, they have carried it to its ultimate expression of living together, because they are parents....

Maya was born in January by natural childbirth. Her biological mother, Laurel, explains that this way Juliette could fully participate in the event.... Now, Maya has a father and two mothers who share the common tasks of home, working at home, and care of the little one. At first, Roland explains, Juliette felt a little displaced because [Maya] was really the baby of Laurel, who was more required. Now that Maya has expanded her types of food, Juliette has been integrated better and feels more useful. Both mothers agreed that mothering increases their shared dedication to the girl.

...Regarding the legal issues in connection with the girl, because all three cannot be recorded as parents, they have ended up making a will saying that if anything happens to the biological mother, Juliette will assume the role of the legal mother....

Read the article (here's a rough machine translation by Google Language Tools), and watch the show (Sept 29, 2009).


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