Germany: Culture evolution via mainstream talk show
At ages 68 and 67, Erika Hohndorf and Justus Rumpf are the oldest polyfolks I've seen going on television to explain and analyze their multi-loving way of life. They're German; you may recognize them from their heartwarming appearance in a German public TV documentary three weeks ago. Last night they ventured into a different setting: one of Germany's best-known TV talk shows (hosted by Markus Lanz).
According to our Berlin correspondent Viktor Leberecht, they held their own very well with the host, the other guests, and the audience. They were the focus for the first 30 minutes of a 74-minute show. Audiences over there must have longer attention spans.
Watch it here (Aug. 31, 2011).
On the English version of his website, Leberecht writes:
When a talk show host discusses polyamory there is quite a risk that it will be mediocre and that the whole theme will get drowned in prejudice and stereotypes.... The Markus Lanz show managed to avoid these pitfalls and to correct some prejudices about polyamory.
Of course there was much talk about sex, but that was good, because sex is an important part of a relationship. The polyamorous couple, Justus Rumpf and Erika Hohndorf, who had the courage to appear on the show, did amazingly well, by talking in a natural way about how important love and sex with multiple partners can be....
Apart from some critical remarks by actress Dagmar Koller, who rejected polyamory altogether, all other participants, even if they ruled out polyamory for themselves, expressed only positive opinions about the polyamorous couple's obvious harmony. The host and the other guests also defended the two against the criticisms of Ms. Koller. We heard things like, "If something is so obviously in good shape" (referring to the couple´s relationship) "then you need not criticize it."... And even Ms. Koller later in the show spoke very positively about how the two were so open, in particular that they so openly talked about sex in old age....
I admire their courage to appear before such a large audience. They themselves reported that in their circle of friends, who also live polyamorously, nobody else was willing to appear, because all had worries what the neighbors, colleagues or superiors would think.
I can well understand this concern. I myself for a long time was reluctant to be open, and cautious who I spoke to about my way of life. But I can say and this is valid just for me and my situation that since I started to be open, I feel much better. I’m relaxed, I’m not all that worried anymore.
I see the Polyamorous People in my native Germany in a similar situation to homosexuals in Germany 25 years ago. Homosexuality was not a crime anymore, at least for adults. But to confess to homosexuality was not normal. And nobody would have thought that Germany would have many openly gay politicians, including its current Foreign Minister, Mr. Westerwelle. The many gay coming-outs helped, in that people realized that many homosexuals lived among them, were their neighbours, their colleagues, their friends, and that homosexuals are respectable people. We need the same thing to happen for polyamory.
I think, appearances like this one will contribute to that recognition.
Read his whole post (Sept. 1, 2011). Or see his German site.