Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 26, 2013

San Diego Poly Pod folks appear on ABC's Nightline

When Showtime's Polyamory: Married & Dating ended its season last month, Michael and Kamala Devi seemed to be in an uncertain place with respect to Michael's new lover Rachel. (The filming was done months earlier.)

Things apparently turned out well, because she has moved in with them. And last night the three of them appeared on ABC's Nightline, which can't hurt the show's chances for a third season.

Kamala Devi, Michael, and Rachel on camera with Nick Watt.

Tahl and Jennifer, in the interim, have moved out and gotten a place of their own. The whole bunch hope to move into roomier quarters when they can afford a big enough home.

Michael, Rachel, and Kamala Devi presented well on Nightline, but unfortunately the segment was marred by the loud, smarmy narrator Nick Watt, who I thought hogged the audio track. He sounded like a British tabloid. To future people researching Watt and considering whether to be on a show that he does: Avoid him.

Watch the segment here (6:15). A transcript is also at that link. Note the segment's dumb title: "Polyamory: The End of Marriage?"

A nice, separate article is posted various places on the ABC-TV site. It presents most of the segment's content minus most of Watt's interjections, and has a not-dumb title:

Open Marriages: When Husband and Wife Have Lovers and Date Other People

Rachael, Michael, and Kamala Devi

...They call what they have a "pod," like what you would call a group of dolphins. They practice safe sex and total honesty.

"The first rule is really about making sure that we have created the space to have that conversation," Kamala Devi said.

Kamala Devi and Michael have a 6-year-old son together named Devin, and Rachel provides a helping hand.

"We share life together," Kamala Devi said. "It takes a village to raise a child and it feels really good to have that kind of support."

This kind of "polyamorous" relationship is becoming increasingly common, experts say.

"The divorce rate in the United States is over 50 percent. ... People are not staying nearly as faithful they used to," said Dr. Karen Stewart, a sex therapist in Los Angeles. "The world has become a much smaller place. We can seek out connections, there's dating sites on every street corner. You can go anywhere to meet someone now."

But could there ever be societal acceptance of something more than monogamy? Despite having multiple partners, Stewart said polyamorous relationships are about love and commitment....

..."I really think that in 10 years society is going to be like this a new paradigm," Kamala Devi said. "The culture is changing."

"It is quite normal already. It's just not out of the closet," Michael added.

Read the whole article (Nov. 25, 2013).

This article and the video transcript version are being reprinted by various other big outlets, such Yahoo News, the U.K's Daily Mail, The New York Post, the Huffington Post, and probably many others. Update: Kamala Devi notes, "This positive portrayal of polyamory was translated into 4 languages and was one of the top trending stories on Yahoo."

Here's an example of the grim reactions going around Christian right sites: The End of Marriage? 'Spreading the Gospel of Polyamory'.


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November 17, 2013

"Polyamory, Lots and Lots of Love"

Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphians on this Sunday morning are waking up to a feature article of the kind we know and love, in the region's biggest mainstream newspaper (Sunday circulation 477,000). Huge thanks to the people who are profiled and pictured:

Polyamory, lots and lots of love

Dierdre, Kala and Jeremy.
DAVID M WARREN / Philadelphia Inquirer
By Gloria Hochman

...According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the traditional nuclear family - mom, dad, children - accounts for only 20 percent of households. This is the first in an occasional series of stories about the new modern family, one that may be living next door to you.

On Sept. 10, 2011, Deirdre Cusack, Jeremy Peirce, and Kala Pierson got married. To one another.

More than 60 friends and relatives attended their marriage ceremony at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. They smiled as the two brides, both in traditional white wedding gowns, and the groom, dapper in his tuxedo, passed Noah, their 18-month-old son, from one set of arms to another.

Today, two years later, the foursome appear to be an ordinary family living with their cats, Moonstone and Dandelion, in a single home in a Philadelphia suburb. Noah goes to a progressive day care center where he is learning Hebrew and Spanish. He loves pasta, albeit topped with brussels sprouts, and squeals with delight when he is rewarded with a chunk of licorice after success on the potty.

All three parents hold prestigious jobs - Jeremy, Noah's birth father, with degrees from Amherst and Princeton, is a biotech scientist; Kala writes classical music that has been performed in 28 countries. Deirdre, Noah's birth mother, is a data analyst. Deirdre's sister, Deborah, and Jeremy's mother, Marie, usually laden with gifts for Noah, visit often.

Still - When Kala describes her ordinary, extraordinary family, she shrugs insouciantly and says, "We make dinner for each other . . . we have sex with each other."

And that isn't all. Jeremy, Kala, and Deirdre all have "sweeties" (most of whom attended their wedding) outside their close-knit trio - two each at the moment - with one another's blessings....

...Each February since 2005, an annual national conference on polyamory, given by Loving More Nonprofit, is held right here in Philadelphia....

DAVID M WARREN / Philadelphia Inquirer
...In some ways, the polyamorous family seems poised between the mind-set of the past — it "takes a village" to raise a child — and the mystery of the future, with emerging family styles certain to surprise, shock, and alter our views of what is acceptable and perhaps even welcome....

..."The point of poly," says Gaylen Moore, a philosopher/writer who is working on a novel with a poly theme, "is that it is possible to love more than one person at a time. Rather than letting this aspect of human nature lead to pain, insecurity, and emotional trauma, polyamorous people choose to . . . celebrate what they regard as the full depth and breadth of human love."...

...While there is nothing in psychoanalytic literature that predicts the futures for children in polyamorous families, Ira Brenner, clinical professor of psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University, suggests that "where love and understanding predominate over aggression and narcissism, we should expect that the children would develop healthy attachments and have respect for others."

Kala smiles as she talks about Mark, the son of her married lover in New York. When he was 5, and was asked to draw a picture of his family, he included Kala next to his mom and dad.

"Who's that?" his teacher asked. "My daddy loves her," Mark responded. When his teacher looked puzzled, he paused for a moment, ran a chubby finger over the figures in his drawings, and said, "Actually . . . everybody loves everybody."

Read the whole 1,500-word article (Nov. 17, 2013). It's stories like this, and the right people making themselves available for them, that are bringing about the poly-aware and poly-accepting future.


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November 15, 2013

"Kitten, Brynn, and Doll's rainbow garden of poly love three-bride wedding"

Offbeat Bride

KevCool Photography

I've often said that legally recognized multiple marriages aren't on the horizon, if only because of the new legal complexities that would have to be developed and because of low demand. But some polyfamilies do their own, off-the-books commitment ceremonies anyway. Sometimes with full-up wedding regalia.

Yesterday Offbeat Bride magazine highlighted one such beautiful event, with oodles of great photography. It's taking off on reddit and popping up elsewhere. The ceremony took place just a couple of towns from us, right next to a hiking trail that Moose and I often frequent.

[Officiant reads:]

"I'd like to welcome you to a most unusual wedding. In our society today, no wedding is really 'normal.' Our polyglot nation has blended together so many ideas of what it means to be married, and how one goes about doing it, that there is truly no one true way to structure a marriage ceremony. But even by modern standards, where blended families are the new norm, where ceremonies invoke ancient customs alongside modern creations, where in a seemingly ever-increasing number of states and countries, anyone can marry the person that they love, this is a most unusual wedding.

"Today we have gathered to witness the union of Brynn, Kitten, and Doll...."

See the whole article (Nov. 14, 2013).


Here are other poly wedding stories at Offbeat Bride:

A poly wedding: My decision to marry my boyfriend while I'm legally married to my husband

Wedding ceremony readings for polyamorous couples

Christine & Derek's misadventurous rainbow hodgepodge of freaks & geeks wedding

5 offbeat marriages that may benefit from the assistance of a lawyer

Milestone put out the call for Offbeat Brides, and here are the awesome results!

Commitment BDSM style: My vanilla, polyamorous, collaring ceremony

What polyamorists can teach brides about getting over petty wedding jealousies

Rosemary & Christopher's hippie pagan eco diy celebration of love

And, here are more poly stories elsewhere on the Offbeat Empire websites:





November 13, 2013

"Local Flavours of Open" series: Portland, Oregon


Louisa Leontiades (Louloria) in Sweden has been publishing a steady stream of high-quality articles about ethical non-monogamy at her online magazine MultipleMatch.com (logo above). Many are also syndicated on her blogsite at The Huffington Post.

She recently started a new series, Local Flavours of Open, "which explores how polyamory is practiced in and influenced by different cultures across the world. If you would like to contribute your local flavour, get in touch!"

One of the first is about Portland, Oregon:

What Does Non-Traditional Relationship Utopia Look Like?

By sexualityreclaimed

What if you could be openly welcomed with both your lovers at the local chemist… what if coming out as trans, queer or poly was simply one of many choices during adolescence… what if going to a dungeon to play kinky games on a Saturday night was as accepted as going out for a curry… What would the world look like?

Welcome to Poly-Mecca, Portland Oregon

Powell’s is Portland’s claim to bookstore fame. And it was there that I bought the book which was to change my life. It was – predictably – Sex at Dawn. Because although my partner and I met in Berkeley, California, which seems to outsiders to be a liberal, bohemian heaven, we didn’t open our relationship until we had moved to Portland for graduate school. Portland is my idea of Poly-Mecca. A city with the social capital to support my wildest explorations and adventures.

Oregon boasts laws that protect some sexual expression as freedom of speech; thus, walking around naked is legal. Even if most don’t… most of the time ;-) ....

Read on (Nov. 12, 2013). "Co-written with KatieB from Sexuality Reclaimed & edited by Louisa Leontiades."



November 11, 2013

Poly in Putin's Russia

I've done hardly any reporting lately on poly in foreign-language media. Google News Alerts hasn't been serving me poliamoria, polyamor, polyamour, polyamorie, полиамория, polyamourøse, polyamorösa, פוליאמוריה, wielomiłość, ljubavništvo, etc., and I know lots of material has slipped by.

From Russia, correspondent Anton now writes (somewhat edited):

Hi, Alan!

Five years ago, you posted about polyamory recognition in Russian media. In these years since, there have been many articles on Russian news sites and even in printed media, but they can be divided into these sorts:

* Positive translations of English articles (rare).

* Negative translations of English articles; with a preface about "Western debauchery", prefixing all words like "family" with "so called", and so on.

* Compilations without knowing the topic, with great errors (for example, in one article I've read that poly people don't tolerate homosexuality), hatred, and contempt.

But today I accidentally found an article in mainstream web media, not a translation and well written with understanding of the subject and with sympathy: Семьи на троих / Family of Three. It was posted a year ago, but after 5 years of silence that doesn't seem like a big gap.

The Google translation isn't perfect but seems understandable.


Family of three

...Poliamoriya, in a broad sense, is a system of ethical views on love admitting the possibility of multiple love relationships with several people (or between several people) at the same time, with the consent of all parties to those relationships. [Compared to] polygamy in the traditional sense, modern polyamorous families differ in the equality of all participants, with relationship based not on tradition but on an agreement reached together.

...Polyamorous relationship can take many forms — some are a couple with other people, [in which] the couple remains primary. It can also happen that three or more people form a quite equal relationship.

Of course, a polyamorous relationship is not easy to build and maintain....

...I talked with two polyamorous families who have been living together. They shared with me their life stories and their understanding of family, love and loyalty.

Anna and Andrew are enrolled in graduate school; in addition Andrew has worked as a teacher in high school. Kate works as an editor, and Anya, who answered my questions, said of himself: "I'm such a house-husband, moonlighting doing freelance translations, but not regularly." All three of them are about 25....


Sociologists Bashkirov and colleagues asked 2,000 Russians about their attitudes toward family formation. It was found that more than 30% of young people aged 25 to 35 considered marriage to be a social atavism. Following Europeans and our fellow Americans, they are starting to take advantage of new forms of the family. Marriage without children, seasonal marriage, polygamy and polyandry, serial polygamy — that's just a partial classification of the modern types of relationships between a man and a woman....


...Victor is a middle manager in a real-estate office and a part-time one-man band. Olga is the lead lawyer of a construction company, and Alexander aka Jerry is a freelancer. All three are about 40, and they have two children.

"...Olga and I met five years ago on the Internet, in a historical-game forum.... the third time we got together we decided to go with friends on a tour of the castles of Belarus. And here we go. And somehow it came that were in the same bed.... Then, to this celebration of life joined Victor — it's just for all the participants seemed quite natural to meet together."

"Olga's mother and sister are aware of our relationships, but they pretend that they do not care....

"...That's the strange thing — we have encountered no [official] difficulties. When the prosecutor was needed for temporary registration in St. Petersburg, we went to the passport office and filled out an application, without question — who, what, and why. Child registered at the place of residence of the father. With this reference to him without question straightened health insurance, with which we go to the district hospital, and put on a waiting list in kindergarten.... 'My house is my fortress' and all that. We were quite comfortable ... but let's say we would not mind to register a triple marriage."...

Here's the whole (long) original article (13 August 2012).

Anton continues:

Some words about general picture of nonmonogamy in Russia: There is clericalization here [the Russian Orthodox Church collaborates with the authoritarian Putin government and vice versa –Ed.], but we exist and have some websites (http://www.mirdalubov.com/ for example), communities in social networks, and at least one offline meeting group — on http://vk.com/freelove_spb they write that there are up to 80 people at meetings.

With best regards and great thanks for your polyinthemedia work.



November 9, 2013

More signs of gay poly acceptance

Whatever the gay community at large may think about being seen publicly supporting poly relationships, the American gay writers and leaders who've spoken up seem generally supportive. For instance, this columnist is appearing in gay newspapers this week:

Monogamous: To Be or Not to Be?

Rev. Irene Monroe
By Rev. Irene Monroe

The one thing you don’t expect to see in any of the Bible Belt states (where most have amended their constitutions to define marriage between one man and one woman) is an organization promoting polyamory.

Last month at Atlanta’s Pride Parade the group “Atlanta Polyamory Inc.” did just that — and in the wide open light of day....

...To be non-monogamous in this culture carries pejorative and judgmental connotations for both heterosexuals and LGBTQs. It assumes sexual promiscuity, a sex and love addiction as well as the inability to achieve emotional and sexual intimacy. But it also ignores the reality that some people really are polyamorous, and their ability to love more than one person at a time is not about a lust-fest for them.

Contrary to popular belief, sociologist Elisabeth Sheff forthcoming book “The Polyamorists Next Door” reveals that polyamory is a “legitimate relationship style that can be tremendously rewarding for adults and provide excellent nurturing for children.”

...While sexual jealousy and possessiveness would appear unavoidable in polyamorous relationship, there is also data revealing how having open relationships keeps these couples intact, and the love very much alive.

The practice of polyamory was once thought to be an absurd issue to explore as a relationship choice. But today’s it’s not. More and more organizations like “Atlanta Polyamory Inc.” are popping up across the country. Their members are coming out of the closet. Perhaps this will be the new civil rights battle before us.....

The Rev. Irene Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist who appears in SDGLN, The Huffington Post and other media. She was chosen in October 2009 by MSNBC as one of "10 black women you should know." Monroe has been profiled in O, The Oprah Magazine and in the Gay Pride episode of “In the Life" TV.... Visit her website here.

You can read the whole article in San Diego's Gay & Lesbian News (Nov. 7, 2013), Boston's Bay Windows (Nov. 6), The Bilerico Project (Nov. 8), HuffPost's Gay Voices (Nov. 11), and probably elsewhere.


While we're at it, here's yet another friendly profile of a gay triad by a GLBT writer, this time on HuffPost Gay Voices: Will Polygamy Have Its Day in the Sun? (July 23, 2013). A bunch more in the genre are among these (including this post; scroll down).


Exceptions to this trend of gay poly acceptance gained some attention in Australia, where the climate seems more hostile to LGBT issues generally than in much of the US. Following a nasty engineered panic by a Murdoch newspaper that a poly marriage bill had been brought in the Australian Senate to follow behind the gay-marriage bill under consideration (the story was made up; no such bill had been brought), a gay pro-monogamy group started up. This followed the public kerfuffle over whether the Sydney poly community's float would be allowed in the main part of the gay Mardi Gras parade, following the "Polyglamorous" float's dramatic presence in 2011. (For Mardi Gras 2014, Syd Poly has plans for a "Love Nest" float with a birdy theme.)


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November 7, 2013

"Considering polyamorous possibility"

Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal

The the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University runs a sex-information website called Kinsey Confidential, and it publishes a weekly advice column by the same name that it syndicates to newspapers. This week's popped up in the mainstream Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, and it may appear elsewhere.

Considering polyamorous possibility

Getty Images
By Debby Herbenick

Q:I may be polyamorous and I think that it is coloring my read on other people. In particular, I am friends with a couple and I got the feeling during a recent visit that they were grooming me for the husband to make a move. He has always been very touchy-feely, but this time the wife made some odd comments kinda urging him to be more physically affectionate. I am unsure though and don’t want to ruin the relationship.

A: When you say you “may” be polyamorous, I’m assuming you mean that you are exploring the possibility that you may prefer, or be most inclined to, love and/or be sexually involved with more than one person at a time.... If you’re interested in being a part of more open relationships, you may want to explore books such as “The Ethical Slut” or “Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships.”

...Reading one or both of these books may give you some thoughts to consider and some ideas about how best to approach the situation. As you likely know, one of the cornerstones of any health relationship — whether monogamous or open — has to do with communication. If you’re considering involvement with this couple, or wondering about it, communicating with them will be very important — out of respect for yourself, but also out of respect for their existing relationship and marriage....

Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., is a research scientist at Indiana University’s School of Public Health, the sexual health educator for The Kinsey Institute, and author of “Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered for Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex.”...

Read the whole article (Nov. 6, 2013).

My quibbles are about 1) forgetting the "knowledge and consent of all concerned" part of the definition, and 2) only recommending books, without mentioning the vast poly resources available quick and free on the web or how to find your local poly support group(s) for in-person advice.

The "polyamorous possibility" in the title echoes the term that Elisabeth Sheff coined a while back for when a person knows that consensual multi-relationships are even possible — a radical and perhaps threatening realization. Sheff wrote about this just a few days ago at her Psychology Today blogsite:

Fear of the Polyamorous Possibility

Coming to the realization that there is an option to have openly conducted non-monogamous relationships is what I call the polyamorous possibility. Once people become aware that there is middle ground between monogamy and cheating they have grasped the polyamorous possibility, and can never unthink it again. They may reject the idea or decide to explore it further, but the potential for themselves or their partner to initiate discussion of a polyamorous relationship exists in a way it had not before they became aware that polyamory is a social option. In my research, I have found that three common reactions follow realization of the polyamorous possibility....

Read on (Nov. 4, 2013).


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November 6, 2013

Poly activist profiled in her local alt weekly

Santa Fe Reporter

Mim Chapman's book What Does Polyamory Look Like? (2010) deserves more attention than I think it's gotten. It's a light-hearted field guide to the very different things that people often mean when they say "I'm poly!" Mim is a longtime activist and a board member of Loving More. This morning she and the book received some notice in her local alternative weekly paper:

More Than One Way

By Hunter Riley

If a previously taboo topic hits mainstream TV, you can hope it’s on its way to cultural, and eventually legal, acceptance.

....Some people use polyamorous as an umbrella term to mean anything other than monogamy, while some people choose to give “poly” a specific definition. Santa Fe counselor Mim Chapman Ph.D developed her definition of polyamory to help bring understanding of the term and lifestyle to couples, families, churches, agencies and more. Chapman has lived in Santa Fe for eight years and works as a coach to couples trying to navigate and build healthy polyamorous relationships and families. She authored a book, What Does Polymory Look Like?, wrote a curriculum to educate various groups around families that have more than two members, and teaches polyamory workshops.

“To me, poly is a lifestyle that believes that one can openly, honestly, romantically and with commitment love more than one person at the same time,” Chapman says. “And it’s also egalitarian, ideally. Everyone benefits and everyone has a say in the relationship… To me the key to polyamory is synergy.”

...Another common ‘aha’ moment for Chapman’s clients is when they question the scarcity of love model. The scarcity of love model follows the idea that if you love one person, your love is ‘used up’ and you can’t also love another person. I bet most people know that to be false....

Hunter Riley... is the store manager of Albuquerque’s best-voted sexy shop, Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center, selfservetoys.com. She also manages her personal sex education blog, hunterrileysexeducation.com....

Read the whole article (Nov. 6, 2013).

Hunter Riley writes the Santa Fe Reporter's Sex Ed column. Here's another example of sex-toy shops addressing the huge unmet need for sex education among adults in a society that does such a bad job of it in schools and elsewhere. LiveScience published an article about this phenomenon: Lacking Sex Ed, Adults Turn to 'Toy Parties'.


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November 5, 2013

"How poly families handle stigma on/from their families of origin"

Psychology Today blogs

As promised, here's a link to Elisabeth Sheff's fourth post in her series on polys and their children, from research covered in her book The Polyamorists Next Door due out November 16th.

Polyamorous Families, Stigma, and Families of Origin

Like other sexual and gender minorities, polyamorists often have to navigate prejudice and stigma within their families of origin....

Some Will Never Know

Those polys with religiously devout and/or conservative families of origin often remain closeted....

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

It is a time-tested strategy for some families with sexual or gender minority members to pretend that there is nothing unusual....

Ahhhhh FREAK OUT....

No Problem....

The Large Gray Area....

How Does that Work with the Kids?

Children growing up in poly families experience their interactions with extended family members in a variety of ways, largely dependent on how the adults interact with each other. Kids in poly families that are accepted and embraced into the extended family have a wealth of grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins, and often mention the extra birthday and holiday gifts as a fun advantage to poly families....

In other cases, kids in poly families report their grandparents trying to get information about their adult children’s relationships from their grandchildren. When grandma or grandpa asks the grandchildren about mom and dad’s relationship with that young woman who seems to be at the house all the time, things can get sticky. Younger kids often have no idea what the grandparent is talking about, but tweens and teens are generally well aware of exactly where this uncomfortable line of questioning is leading and will routinely either feign ignorance, be obtuse, or direct the grandparent to speak to their adult children about it.

Finally, kids in poly families who have been rejected by their families of origin generally don’t know their grandparents because the families have little to no contact. Occasionally the arrival of a grandchild will make recalcitrant grandparents who had previously shunned their poly children reconsider their positions and decide to accept the family in order to be able to see their grandchildren....

The whole article (Oct. 28, 2013).



November 4, 2013

"Moving In with Polyamorists"


Ruth Fowler, a British novelist and screenwriter living in southern California, tells the tale of when a poly group took her and her husband in from the street, and they saw poly culture up close.

Moving in with polyamorists

By Ruth Fowler

We were newly married when we came to live in their home — and realized how badly we were failing at love

Bevan Von Weichardt via Shutterstock/Salon
Three things happened the year we lost our love. We got married, we went bankrupt and we moved into a house with a polyamorous family.

...It would be easy to blame the cracks in a monogamous relationship on proximity to friends committed to loving more than one person. But just as gay marriage probably isn’t the reason for your divorce, polyamory wasn’t the reason for our problems. By then we’d been broke and bickering and living in a van for three months, the romanticism of our itinerant life frozen by a bitter Pacific winter....

We argued through Christmas and the van shuddered into the New Year, where it, like me, promptly collapsed. By February, at a loss about what to do, we moved the van into the backyard of our friends’ home. We became a newly married monogamous couple, living with a polyamorous family in their new home.

In the face of our distressed and suffering love, living with a family who had committed to loving more than one person was not challenging to our monogamy and commitment to each other; it was simply a depressing example that we were, both of us, malfunctioning beings incapable of any relationship that wasn’t incredibly painful.... Here we were, just two people, struggling to communicate and make it work, and yet we were living with a family of four who put daily, exhaustive effort into making their relationships with each other and their multiple other partners work....

So many misperceive polyamory as either “cheating” or free love — some strange kind of permissive, boundaryless no-man’s land.... In reality... it’s the polar opposite of “cheating” — it involves an incredible amount of introspection, self study and communication skills. And free love? Love is never free....

The man and I would watch and feel quietly ashamed that our efforts to communicate were shrill, giddy, high-pitched and panicked, that unlike the hours of calm, often emotional, discussion which our friends patiently devoted to their love, we tried to plaster over the cracks of our pain with mutually silent pleasure: the joy of eating sushi without resorting to crying, the achievement in watching a movie together without hurting the other, getting through an entire day without a personal Chernobyl....

Read on (Nov. 3, 2013).


November 3, 2013

Poly conference organizer Zoe Duff on feminist radio

CJSW Radio (Calgary, Alberta)

The modern polyamory movement has deep feminist roots. Since its beginnings almost 30 years ago,1 most of its writers, organizers, leaders, and spokespeople have been women. Year after year, as new movers and shakers keep emerging, this continues to be true.

A statistic: of the 35 nonfiction books on polyamory published in English since 1984, the authors and co-authors total 28 women, 9 men, and 1 genderqueer person. That's 3-to-1 female to male. I see similar ratios among bloggers, local-group organizers, workshop presenters at conferences, and spokespeople quoted in the media.

So it's no surprise that when a Canadian poly item popped up in the news this morning, it was Zoe Duff, director of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) and organizer of Canada's first PolyCon, being interviewed on Yeah, What She Said, "Calgary’s only feminist/women’s radio program" (on Calgary's independent radio station CJSW based at the University of Alberta).

A podcast of the show just went up. You can listen to it here (23 minutes).



1. I'm counting from 1984, when Ryam Nearing published her first edition of The Polyfidelity Primer.

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November 1, 2013

Open Love NY spokespeople handle a blindsiding on ABC's The View

Open Love NY's Diana Adams (left) and Leon Fiengold with Barbara Walters
at their filming of The View

Last Monday Diana Adams and Leon Fiengold, representing Open Love NY, taped an appearance on ABC-TV's The View, a women-oriented daytime talk show. Perhaps you saw OLNY's press release about it:

NEW YORK CITY, October 28, 2013 - (PressReleasePoint) -- Open Love NY, a New York-based advocacy group for open relationship choices, will appear on ABC’s “The View” on Friday, Nov. 1, to discuss the national growth in non-traditional relationship models.

Leon Feingold, co-president of Open Love NY, and Diana Adams, host of Open Love NY’s monthly event Poly Cocktails, will banter with TV personality Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Drew Pinsky about open relationships and the growing interest in polyamory as a workable and rewarding relationship structure.

“I would say there’s a huge difference between people who are inherently monogamous, who are happy with monogamy, and if it works for them then great, but that’s not the same for everybody,” said Feingold on the show during the taping in front of a live audience today. “There’s a lot of people for whom polyamory works amazingly well, as long as everybody involved knows and consents.”

Feingold also co-authors “Poly Wanna Answer?” at openloveny.blogspot.com, a blog that gives relationship advice from a poly viewpoint.

Adams has her own law firm in New York City supporting families as a mediator and attorney.

“I have an amazing long-term partnership. I’m planning my ceremony with him for this spring, we’re going to try and get pregnant, so I’ve found my life partner with whom I want to spend my life,” said Adams on the show, who also teaches law school courses on the changing American family. “Part of what’s really amazing about our relationship is that we have so much trust and intimacy with each other that we are able to negotiate an open relationship and have other special people in our lives.”

Behind that upbeat announcement, things weren't so pretty. Leon and Diana felt blindsided on the set by a hostile, unexpected guest host. Diana, a lawyer who's fast on her feet, called the exchange "intense." She wrote,

Leon and I were prepped to expect a lighthearted positive interview with Jenny McCarthy, not an attack from Dr. Drew [Pinsky] in which he barely let us get a word in to respond... but I'm glad that I represented the poly community with Leon Feingold and had the chance to present something articulate to combat the intolerance.

The show aired this morning. Watch their segment here:

Diana, and many others, were much more satisfied than they expected to be with the final editing:

Just saw myself on The View and it went reasonably well. I was offended at the time by the interrupting by Dr. Drew, scoffing, calling my jealousy story a defense mechanism, and the way this went so differently than the interview The View suggested (although not surprised of course). But seeing it now, I notice that Dr. Drew acknowledged that poly relationships can work (big deal!), Jenny McCarthy described how open relationships are on the rise, and Leon Feingold and I handled the criticism well and stayed reasoned. A lot of Dr. Drew's hostility to poly was afterward to the live audience and not aired. I declare the interview worth it. I hope this will raise awareness about relationship choices for some. What do you think?

I say they came off great.

Diana now posts,

We need you on twitter! The View asked what viewers think about poly and there are lots of questions and concerns to respond to. We could use some positive knowledgable voices chiming in. The View also asked what viewers thought of Dr. Drew as guest host. Please join the conversation and keep it positive so we represent poly folks well! https://twitter.com/theviewtv


In this Facebook conversation [the show's official page] folks are criticizing The View for 'promoting' open relationships, threesomes, or 'bad morals' by having us on. Would you add a comment in favor of our participation in the conversation?

At the Polyamory Leadership Network, Jasmine had an immediate suggestion:

The Open Love NY interview closed with an amazing opportunity for polyamory educators. When Diana Adams said that she plans to have children, Dr. Drew responded that she might feel differently about polyamory after she has children. Diana responded well.

Guest co-host Jenny McCarthy said something like "Sounds like a follow-up program for you, Dr. Drew!"

Dr. Drew closed the segment with, "Done and done!"

This is an amazing opportunity for polyamorous parents and researchers studying polyamorous families to contact Dr. Drew's show and offer to give interviews. Give Dr. Drew what he wants.

Any takers? Write me at alan7388 (AT) gmail.com and I'll pass it forward.

On the set. That's Dr. Drew at right.

Here's the website for this episode of The View with space for comments, but social media may be a better place to spend your time.

P.S.: About blindsiding, Joreth and/or Robyn Trask (I forget which) give some proactive advice for TV appearances: Assume nothing about what will happen on the show; ask for full details in advance — what the show's title will be, who you will be talking to, what they will say and what's the storyline they'll bring (and, research how they've treated your kind of topic in the past); will they give you the same amount of time to talk as they get, what'll be the staging, do the producers control prompts to a studio audience about when to applaud and if so, what's their applause agenda; and who will be on before and after you framing your context.

You may not get answers to all these questions, but if you ask, you'll be taken more seriously as an experienced guest who's less easily mistreated than average. Expect some roughing up; that's their job. But it should be done fairly.

And be prepared to walk away even at the last moment. To this day, Robyn and her partner Jesus Garcia are proud of walking out from backstage, taking the elevator down, and flying back to Colorado when they discovered at the last minute that the show a network had flown them to New York for would be promoted as "X-rated relationships by people with kids."


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