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

August 5, 2010

Polycamp Northwest: "Heather Has Two Mommies, One Daddy, and Several Matriarchal Women in the Community Who She Thinks of as Moms"

The Stranger (Seattle)

For six of the last seven years, Polycamp Northwest has been held on a summer weekend in Washington state. This year's camp starts in three weeks. Dan Savage has just written an article about the Polycamp community for the weekly alternative newspaper in Seattle that he edits.

Notice the article's title. Savage surely chose it himself. It harks to anthropological findings that humans evolved to live and love communally during almost all of the last million years or so — before the invention of agriculture, a mere 10,000 years ago, threw us into unnatural societies for which we literally are not born and bred. The case for this view is presented, with overwhelming force, in the new book Sex at Dawn. Savage loves the book. So do I. More on this later.

Heather Has Two Mommies, One Daddy, and Several Matriarchal Women in the Community Who She Thinks of as Moms

Polycamp — the Summer Camp for Kids Growing Up in Poly Families — Is All Grown Up Now

By Dan Savage

"When I was little, my mother had a talk with me about having a 'public face,' because not everyone would understand our family," says Koe Sozuteki, a 20-year-old woman who grew up in a large poly household in Seattle. "That was a hard conversation to have in elementary school."

Sozuteki has a bio mom, a bio dad, a stepmom, three other poly moms, "several other matriarchal women in the community who I think of as moms," and an uncle. She also has a brother and half a dozen poly siblings — children she grew up with but is not related to by blood.

Sozuteki was teased in school about her family, she says, and she didn't get much support from teachers.

"Back in the mid-'90s," she says, "people just didn't know how to approach it."

..."People in poly relationships — particularly if they have kids — fear judgment and rejection," says Quintus, an electrician who lives in Kitsap County with his wife and two daughters. "They fear being rejected by their friends, by their families. It's why so many poly families are still closeted."

Quintus and his wife Francisca, who have been poly for a dozen years, are the new heads of Polycamp, an annual summer retreat for local poly families. Polycamp began as a one-day picnic in Redmond and now takes place over four days at Millersylvania State Park outside Olympia.

Sozuteki attended her first Polycamp when she was 13. "We got to run around," she says, "a passel of kids and teenagers, with a sense of freedom because we could be open as poly kids. It was great."

While families with children were Polycamp's original focus, Quintus and Francisca explain that Polycamp now strives to appeal to all poly people — "poly people with kids, poly people who can't stand kids, and people who are single but identify as poly."

...What Polycamp may not have now, however, is a clear-eyed mission. "We try to appeal to all the different niches in the community," Quintus tells me. "There's a lot of overlap: There's the kink community, the sci-fi community, the nature/granola/hippie community, the pagan community. We want to be a resource for everyone."...

Quintus and Francisca's daughters are about the same age that Koe Sozuteki was when she first started to attend Polycamp — and they face some of the same pressures that Sozuteki did.

"At school, they keep it private," says Quintus. "We've told them it's their choice whether they talk to their friends about it. They may receive some judgment or be teased, so it's their choice. We're involved in the poly community, so they have peers that they can talk to. They know there are other families like theirs."...

"Children want to love and be loved," says Quintus. "Children grasp the concept easily. As they've gotten older, we've explained that ours is not the traditional form that most relationships take. We're not ashamed of our lifestyle. We're open with family and friends. But they had a right to know that their family is unique."

Sozuteki says she's happy and that she's grateful to have been "born into a tribe of intimate friends."...

Polycamp 2010 takes place August 26–29 at Millersylvania State Park. For more information, go to www.polycamp.org.

Read the whole article.


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Anonymous Sarah Taub said...

Thanks for the article! Michael and I will be at Polycamp this year for the first time, and we're looking forward to it. (We'll be presenting our "Polyamory without Drama" workshop.)

August 05, 2010 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good article, the law needs to be rewritten so that only Mormon polygamists are subject to arrest. Pretty much no one has a problem with polyamory, it is the ones whose motivations are based on Mormonisn who should be arrested and jailed for life.

August 07, 2010 1:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the headline read "Teresa Barlow has 2 FLDS moms, one father, and and Several Pligger FLDS Matriarchal Women in the Community Who She Thinks of as Moms and live in Bountiful, home of the Mormon Pligs", then we would know that they were brainwashed pligger scum.

August 07, 2010 1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Muslims, should we deny visas to sand pliggers?

August 07, 2010 1:20 AM  
Blogger Natja's Natterings said...

I am hoping that Anon 2&3 are being sarcastic, but in the event that they are all the same person I shall write simply:

Dear Anon,

I sincerely hope that you are not a person who self describes yourself as Polyamorous, because if you are, I don't want to use that label myself.

If you think that any average Christian accepts the average Polyamorist any more than the average FLDS polygamist you are deluding yourself. We are just as damned in their eyes as anyone. The only way we can guarantee rights for ourselves is to make sure that any adult has the right to choose for themselves the relationship type they want to have with any consenting adult (or indeed any inanimate object if they so choose). How can we discriminate against others on the basis of their beliefs and then ask for tolerance and rights ourselves. It is the hypocrisy I am finding the most difficult, I really hope that these posts are a wind up?

August 08, 2010 1:33 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Natja, don't feed the troll.

Go away, troll.

August 08, 2010 10:20 PM  
Blogger freewomansholyinheritance said...

Alan, while I agree with the majority of your post, there is just a few things I feel I should point out. But, before I do, I would like to clarify a few things about me: I am a single, commonly abled, heterosexual, cissexual, cisgender, non-sexual (the activity NOT the identity), currently childfree woman who would most likely enter into a non-sexual, domestic partnership with a single male partner and either donate her (my) eggs to a relative or friend if she (I) ever wanted to reproduce or adopt a child if she (I) did decide to have one.

Polygamists, unlike Polyamorists (whether a domestic relationship or a marriage), are NOT, for the most part, if ever, adults who have the right to choose for themselves the relationship type they want to have with any consenting adult. The lack of choice applies to adults and children alike. If you are raised from birth to expect a certain standard of living, it is likely you will not deviate from that. If you identify as male within a patriarchal system and benefit greatly from it, there is a good chance you will not reject an offer that will even more greatly benefit you. I am not saying that even those who do not take child brides should not be offered a choice within the limitations that are placed on them. I am simply pointing out that these aren't really the consenting relationships that Natja refers to, either. And Polygyny and Polyandry are BOTH patriarchal systems.

Secondly, while I agree with Dan Savage for the most part, I don't believe that a Matriarchy lacks oppression. It most likely has a lesser form of oppression, but that can be insidious in and of itself. I prefer gylaneous societies.

Thirdly, he seems to imply with a lot of his postings that no one can commit to a single person. But isn't that just another form of discrimination against a certain type of relationship? I know MANY partners who have only ever been able to commit to one person at a time. They had NO desire to ever 'fuck another person'.

Fourthly, I can understand why some people have rather awkward feelings about Polyamoury, considering the play in the media that Polygamy has garnered. I'm not saying it's right, in fact I think it's completely WRONG, but, unlike almost all, if not all, other scenarios (such as homosexuality and homophobia), there is a causal link between the awkwardness/hate one feels towards PolyAmoury and PolyAmourists. And it is absolutely appalling that the responsibility towards changing that feeling has to fall mainly on the target's shoulders, but, at least, that tells one where to start.

August 23, 2010 1:47 AM  

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