Ambassadors to Brazil, and other poly news in Portuguese
If you only follow the internet in English, you're missing a lot of what's happening in the modern polyamory movement throughout the Western world. I used to post more foreign-language stories here but have fallen far, far behind.
For instance, a backlog has piled up of stories in Portuguese. Get ready for a data dump, prompted by this first item.
|O americano Leon, entre as namoradas Fukumi e Kischa: elas se conhecem e aceitam o fato de que Leon gosta de ambas. (Foto: Jayme de Carvalho, Jr.)|
When Two Is Too Few
By Edu Graça, New York
...This dynamic has not only gained a name, it's gaining more and more fans in countries like the USA, Canada and Australia. This is polyamory, a way of love advocated by people opposed to monogamy [sic], with the acceptance of several people in the same relationship. The concept is reminiscent of "open marriage", in which each partner can relate to who they want, or "swinging", which allows the exchange of couples for sex, but the fact is that polyamory has its own rules. And how.
...Billy... met Jeremy Mullins, an information technology professional, in 2008. Jeremy and Melissa dated, and the relationship became serious enough that Melissa suggested they "officially" become a relationship of three. Billy tells that he had a crisis of jealousy, but that, in a way, he was also was attracted by Jeremy. Today the three share the same home, tasks, bills and even the raising of Billy and Melissa's daughter, age 9... [Billy] says the relationship is so natural and transparent that the daughter likes that the men are "both parents".
The loving arrangement of the group does not stop there. Besides being, for all practical purposes, married to two people at once, Billy is dating Lindsey, who in turn lives with Brian, also her boyfriend. "Time, or rather the lack of time, is a major obstacle in a polyamorous relationship. The logistics to deal with so many partners can be very complicated," admits Billy. He says jealousy attacks are rare, but still arise from time to time. "No one is immune to jealousy. The difference, I think, is that we polys are open to deal with this feeling productively, not destructively. In other words, if someone is not satisfied, talk about it, try to modify the rules, etc."
Theoretically, polyamory embodies all the ingredients needed for a relationship to work: mutual trust, space to discuss grievances, gender equality, freedom (albeit limited) to take on more relationships with the right to love two, three, and so on. "In real life, however, the human being is complex, whether monogamous or polyamorous," says the American sociologist Elisabeth Sheff.... "Polyamory can be extremely liberating, but it is not for everyone."...
Eve Rickert just forwarded a nice piece that, this time, draws on Brazilian sources: Muito Amor in the magazine Tab, with happy art and animation.
Excerpts from Google Translate:
Lots of Love
By Lilian Ferreira
..."What is good [in monogamous relationships] is very good [in polyamorous relationships]. But what is bad is also bad," summarizes a poliamorista. He and his wife have a girlfriend. TAB talked with several fans [of poly] and everyone said that, jealousy aside, the problems that occur are common to any relationship: physical distance, and daily fights over lack of time, for example.
Andreza Hack de Abreu, 38, of Porto Alegre, has had an open relationship for two years. For three months, she and her husband lived with a friend of hers. "We lived three always together, bathing, brushing teeth, cooking. But when he was not with her, he did not help in the housekeeping activities such as shopping, washing, cooking. That was a major cause of fights."
...But not all polyamorous relationships require that the lovers engage 100% of the time. According to Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, authors of the morethantwo.com site and luminaries in the subject, usually the [partners'] activities are separated.
That's because polyamory is primarily poly relationships. It is the ability to have two or more concurrent partnerships, which include affection and sex.
The first polyaffective union [união poliafetiva] officially notarized in Brazil was recorded in 2012 [see stories at the time]. Five of them have been notarized to date, and, say experts, it is increasingly common for relations to be in this format. According to the anthropologist Antonio Cerdeira Pilão, expert on the subject at UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), the most common format is a man with two women. Regina Navarro Lins, psychoanalyst and author of The Book of Love, says in 30 years many more people will adhere to polyamory.
...In August this year, Brazil had its largest poly meetup [poliencontro] in Rio, with 180 people. On Facebook, Brazilian groups about polyamory number 10,000 members.
Sharlenn is dating Rafael, Will and Adamo. Rafael is the longest-term boyfriend, of just over three years. He, a polyamory activist, presented the idea to the other two. Sharlenn lives with Will, Rafael with Adamo, and all get along very well, thank you!
Trio in Ponte Aeréa
A is married to B. They live in Guarulhos and started dating C, a Rio de Janeiro university professor. The three are interconnected. And no lack of love and a little negotiation. Because of prejudice, they do not want to reveal their identities.
The End of Monogamy?
...In research by anthropologist Mirian Goldenberg, 60% of men and 47% of Brazilian women admitted they had already been unfaithful. According to Gilberto Freyre, from the beginning of its colonization Brazil was not monogamous but polygynous, meaning only the patriarch could keep more than one; it was unthinkable for women.
...55% of women poliamoristas say they are bisexual. Among men, 25% are bisexual.
...São Paulo, Rio de Janiero and Rio Grande do Sul have the greatest concentrations of poliamoeristas in Brazil.
...But not everything is perfect. Romantic love is good. Navarro says we love being in love, but this state can also bring some problems. You idealize the person, it creates addiction, a possession, a belief that one can only be happy by your side and vice versa.
The love of poliamoristas is more like what's preached in Buddhism. It's a love similar to what friends share. No exclusivity without possession. The search for individuality, very fashionable, is giving a boost to that kind of love. You can be "just" you, not everything that the other expects.
...Marriage as it is today — and based on monogamous romantic love — is losing steam and brings suffering to anyone who does not fit. More and more people have sought models that answer to what they feel and how they want to live. But against them there is still prejudice.
In other Portuguese-language news,
• Leonie Linssen's book Love Unlimited has been published in Portuguese: Amor Sem Barreiras.
• In Portugal itself, Poliamor.pt.to has a page listing lots of coverage in print. Click the Imprensa tab.
• PolyPortugal has an active blogsite, with Poliamor nos media listings in the sidebar. You can also search the site for posts tagged actualidad.
• The leading poly activist in Portugal is surely Daniel Cardoso, a sociologist at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, who co-runs the PolyPortugal site. He also maintains a webpage in English. In 2012 he sent me a roundup of poly in Portuguese media that I never got around to posting! Here it is at last (slightly edited):
June brought the LGBT Pride Parade in Lisbon, and each organizing member has a few minutes to speak at the end of it. I spoke in representation of PolyPortugal, and it was recorded here (with English subtitles).
July 15th: a conservative LGBT sexologist (and somewhat shady activist), who has a weekly program about sexuality on a regional TV channel, spent almost an hour talking about polyamory and, specifically, me (in rather insulting terms). Here's the promo video, where it's clearly stated that polyamory doesn't exist and is also wrong. In the show, he made a point of mentioning that polyamory isn't something that's scientifically researchable, and is wrong because "some things aren't up for discussion".
Also in July, a group of Brazilian journalism students did a digital magazine on polyamory: Amor aos PedaÇos Poliamor.
August 29th: A Portuguese friend and former colleague of mine interviewed me for an article that came out in Macau, a former Portuguese colony on the coast of China [and now semi-independent like Hong Kong]. The magazine is called Ponto Final, meaning "Period." The article was named Ele tem dois amores (He has two loves). The intro reads: "In a land filled with stories of concubines, polyamory has no known supporters.... This relationship model, which allows one to date several people at the same time, is more frequent in the Western world. And it's been much discussed in Portugal." The article spends some time distinguishing polyamory from male-centered non-monogamies, as with concubines, due to Macau's historical connection to China.
September: Portugal imported the reality show "Secret Story", and one of the participants claimed to "suffer from polyamory" (as if it were a disease). So the word got around a lot due to that, but it quickly died down.
October 14th: Pepper Mint and I published on his blog Dialogue on Power and Ethics: the Polyamory and Queer Movements.
December: Polyamory was brought up in the Portuguese female magazine Happy Woman (its name is in English). They interviewed a Brazilian psychoanalyst, Regina Lins, in an article titled "Is Monogamy Over?"
So do you think women will be happier in their marriage if they accept that there is no such a thing as monogamy?
Of course! The issue of fidelity is a major source of suffering. From very early we're lead to believe that those who are in love don't feel any need to relate sexually to other people. And that's a lie, but if a person believes that, then they end up suffering when they discover that their partner is having sex outside the marriage — if makes them doubt about whether they're being loved or not.
...In that case, it's natural to want two people at the same time?
There's no doubt that we can love several people at the same time. And we can love them with the same intensity, in the same manner, or differently. It happens all the time, but no one likes to admit it. The demand to choose always pops up; the notion that one person has to be discarded in favor of the other.
Does that mean that we're going in the direction of polyamory relationships?
I believe so. There is an organized movement that broadcasts the idea of polyamory. That movement has grown, in the USA, in the last 20 years, and has been closely followed by movements in other countries. In polyamory, one person can love their steady partner and also love the persons with whom that person has extra-marital affairs, or even have multiple loving relationships where there is reciprocal love between all involved. One can do what one wants, with whom one wants, without exclusivity. Polyamorists say that they don't love with a possessive feeling, so they don't feel jealous. To them, jealousy is connected to the fear of loss. We have no way, yet, to weigh the pros and cons. But yes, we can surely say that the way we live love is deeply unsatisfactory.[...]"
The whole thing's here: A Monogamia Acabou? (Dec. 2011 issue).
December 19th: Following a public debate/ awareness-raising session in Oporto (Portugal's 2nd biggest city, famous for its wine) with me and one of my partners, Inês, the national Jornal de Notícias covered the event with an article called "Polyamory, the challenge to monogamy. Multiple consensual relationships up for debate in Oporto". It opens with this (actually a description of part of my poly constellation):
Inês is a lesbian and has a relationship with Daniel, who lives with Sofia, with whom he's been for 7 years now. They all know about each other and they're open to integrate others into their relationship constellation. A portrait of a polyamorous relationship, made yesterday in Oporto.
And it ends with this:
"What Daniel Cardoso doesn't like is the capitalist notion of love as a scarce resource that must be jealously guarded. 'If I have three kids, no one will criticize me for not having just one; if I have 10 friends, no one will think it's wrong. So why is it wrong to have more than one partner?'.
Inês Rôlo agrees that love is about multiplication, not division. That doesn't mean that feelings don't sometimes end up hierarchized or that polyamorous people never feel jealous. It's a 'deconstruction' of myths and preconcieved notions, she says. A way to fight mononormativity."
Here are the article and a recording of part of the debate.
January 27th: Again in Oporto, two other PolyPortugal members (Juliana Azevedo and João Paulo) and I participated in a round-table debate on a regional TV channel. It lasted for an hour and a half, and the psychologist invited to comment was, in a way, "on our side". On the other side were a Catholic school teacher and a conservative manager and marketeer. Perhaps the best part was when the (married) conservative manager and marketeer said that it was better to cheat and not tell the spouse (to prevent suffering) than to be polyamorous, since polyamory seems "very confusing". At that moment, the conservative Catholic teacher jumped ship and sided with us... *grin*. The whole thing is available on YouTube and organized here: Em Foco no YouTube — Poliamor.
February 28th: One of my partners, Sofia, and I were invited to talk to psychology undergraduates at Évora University and lecture on "Polyamory and Psychology". It was recorded; all the info and the video are accessible here. It was an attendance record for talking about poly in Portugal, with about 70 people present.
...And that's it for now! There will be more stuff in the upcoming months! :D
A particularly noteworthy flurry of events happened just last April. Daniel writes,
A really important newspiece came out on national TV, and had about 1.2 million people watching it (more than 10% of Portugal's population): Um caso de poliamor que assume a liberdade de escolha [April 25]. The piece focuses on the 40th anniversary of the last Portuguese revolution, and deals with non-common notions of "liberty" — a few of the other people interviewed included a Suicide Girl and a gender-bender. The piece focuses a lot on the 101 of what polyamory is, on equality for everyone involved. Besides myself, two women also speak about their experiences.
This piece was a joint venture between a TV channel and a weekly newspaper, and so this piece was accompanied in print: Revista do Expresso de 5 Abr. 2014, com a peça "Mural da Liberdade" onde se fala de poliamor.
Just before this one came out, a morning talk show also interviewed a polyamorous woman (accompanied by a very supportive anthropologist). The video: Queridas Manhãs
Afinal, o Que é o Poliamor? [4 April].
Five days later, a partner of mine, myself and another person from PolyPortugal gave a public talk on polyamory in the context of the Braga Pride Parade preparations, and it also made the regional press: Tertúlia "Poliamor e o questionamento da mononormatividade" - gravação e notícias [10 April].
All the material is available on www.polyportugal.org — on the right column there's a section called "Poliamor nos media" with a list of links to every media appearance.
• Finally, here are all of my own posts on Portuguese-language poly in the media (including this post; scroll down).