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

February 8, 2011

Poly and Loving More on local TV news

Action News, WPVI-TV Channel 6 Philadelphia

Last Friday afternoon as people arrived at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Philadelphia for the Poly Living conference, they encountered a camera crew from the local ABC TV affiliate packing up to leave. Channel 6 News had wanted to film people at the conference for a segment about couples in open marriages. Instead, Loving More director Robyn Trask arranged with them to film volunteers in a controlled setting before the conference began.

The segment aired last night at 11. I wasn't thrilled. The announcers began and ended with the kind of self-protective statements you sometimes see on these things, to the effect that "this may be shocking for normal people, but these oddballs say it works for them." First up were the black authors Carl and Kenya Stevens, a husband-and-wife team, who got out brief snips of their story:

Carl: ..."Right now, I only have one girlfriend—"

Kenya: "And I have one boyfriend."

Announcer: "Yes, a proudly monogamous couple for more than a decade, Carl and Kenya opened their marriage three years ago, still in love with each other, but dating, even falling in love with other people, too. Jealousy? They say it's not an issue."

Kenya: "I am excited if my mate is having pleasure or joy or ecstasy outside the relationship."

Announcer: "The Exton native and his wife don't suggest their lifestyle is for everyone, but they say it's definitely for them, though it may seem odd. The Stevens say there are no secrets between them. Their open relationship is an honest one. And they think monogamous couples can follow their lead when it comes to communication."

Then the scene cuts to the hotel lobby with many Poly Living attendees happily embracing and greeting, sometimes in multiples.

Announcer: "This past weekend, Philadelphia played host to the 6th annual Loving More Convention, organized by Robyn Trask, who used to own a wedding chapel, and now calls herself poly-amorous.

Trask: "I want people to know there's a choice. Monogamy is great for a lot of people, but for some people it's not."

Announcer: "To be clear, they say this is not 'swinging.' It's not about sex, they insist, but about love, and allowing themselves to experience as much of it as possible."

And that was it for Loving More and poly philosophy. Next up was the standard clueless therapist, saying "I actually think they are all destined to fail, one way or another. I don't think that's realistic at all."

My take: superficial, defensive, over in a blink. How did the show manage to be so cursory for four whole minutes?

However, a few crucial images got out during those blinks: a happy, articulate, successful open couple; the Loving More crowd embracing and delighting in one another; Robyn delivering one key line. So, better than nothing and coulda been worse. A few viewers will flash on those images and realize that there's something important for them going on here.

Watch the video and read the transcript (Feb. 7, 2011).

P.S.: This segment followed a sad news report about a woman murdered downtown allegedly by her jealous former boyfriend, and a sad report on former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and his wife splitting up with a mention of longtime rumors about his affairs. I'm sure the irony escaped the newscasters.




Anonymous Serendipity said...

I can't help but wonder if the 'relationship therapist' has every actually spoken to anyone who's polyamorous.

February 08, 2011 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what bothers me about therapists who don't know about poly. (I'm in grad school to be one) we are TRAINED not to make lifestyle judgments and to get past our personal biases. But while someday I may quite likely have to listen to a couple spout some patriarchal bullshit and patiently help them despite my personal feelings on the matter, a polyamorous person/group of people attempting to see a mental health professional and not be judged? Hah. good luck. My Human Sexuality professor has never even heard of Poly. (I intend to educate her).


-Alizaryn from r/poly

February 08, 2011 7:27 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

> My Human Sexuality professor has never even
> heard of Poly. (I intend to educate her).

A good, professional booklet to print out and hand out: "What Psychology Professionals Should Know about Polyamory"


February 08, 2011 8:22 PM  
Blogger Anita Wagner said...

Loved Carl and Kenya Stevens, we have so few articulate spokespeople who are also people of color. And yes, the therapist and newscasters were appallingly biased, with the newscasters being also smirky and almost condescending. Shame on Philly ABC 6 News for not being more fair and objective.

February 09, 2011 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Robyn Trask said...

They had great couples and it was really nice to see Carl and Kenya. Overall I was disappointed. They did a 30 minute interview and asked some great questions. Cheryl the producer seemed genuinely interested in doing a good report. But as all to often happens producers and reporters often are over ridden by executives who are more concerned about commercial sponsors and what could cause backlash.

I actually plan to email the producer and ask about this.

February 10, 2011 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Alan Salmi, Licensed Clinical Social Worker said...

This Dr. Treat has his doctorate in ministry, so he has a view point that is obviously theological, he's a patoral counselor. That being said, he should NOT be judgemental, it goes against all therapeutic and ethical considerations in working with someone. Even if he just wanted to work with Christian couples (and tehre are poly Christians, I may add), he should be making pronouncements like he did, blanket judgements on a lifestyle he isn't even aware of.

February 18, 2011 6:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home