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

February 10, 2018

More on the BBC's poly documentary "Love Unlimited"

The BBC's 1-hour documentary Love Unlimited: Polyamory in Scotland last Wednesday aired only in Scotland (see previous post). It's now viewable online throughout the UK, and worldwide if you spoof your IP address to the UK with a VPN or proxy, but only until March 7th. However, the show's echoes are going wider.

I asked Noni, one of the people prominently featured, what she thought of the experience. She wrote back,

I became involved through my friend who runs the poly meetup in Dundee. He was approached by Benjie [Bateman], the maker of the documentary, and thought I would be interested. I met up with Benjie before any filming started and he seemed very genuine, and respectful.

Throughout the whole filming he was super keen to learn and understand. The same goes for pretty much everyone I spoke to within the BBC. Having read the article, and seen the show now, I do feel like I have been truthfully represented, everything I said in the show I think comes across in the same spirit I meant it.

All in all, I'm really happy with how it came out, and my experience working with the BBC was overwhelmingly positive.

Remember that if the BBC and/or Benjie Batemen come looking for more polyfolks to work with.

● Meanwhile, here's a new composite of clips from the show, courtesy of BBC Scotland:

The BBC is also featuring, on its World Service online, a video from Erika Kapin's Open Photo Project — which "uses photography, audio and text to present the beautiful, complex lives of consensually non-monogamous people":

If that embed won't display, here's the link that will. Ruby Bouie Johnson, the dynamic organizer of the of Poly Dallas Millennium conference, writes "The video exhibits some of the most beautiful families. Kevin Patterson allows the world into his home, his life, and himself. The sincerity, genuineness, and authenticity is felt in the video (it is for me). I am very proud of the strides and exposure that Kevin has given the Black American Community, the Polyamorous Community, and the Multicultural Community. You and your wife and your babies are beautiful, my friend and brotha."

● The Guardian yesterday followed up with an opinion piece by the mom of a Love Unlimited star:

My son is trans and polyamorous — here's what I learned from him

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see a documentary featuring my son and his partner but I wanted to understand the paradigm shift millennials are spearheading

Iain, Ross and Pav in Love Unlimited. (Photo: Benjie Bateman/ Fall Films/ BBC Scotland)

By Claire Armitstead | associate editor, culture

...In Tuesday’s books podcast, we marked LGBT history month by interviewing Christine Burns, a campaigner for transgender rights, about her history of the UK’s trans community. The next day, my son was in a TV documentary – deep breath – about polyamory.

I’d known for a while that Love Unlimited was coming but was not sure I wanted to see it... had it not been for the subtitle of Burns’s Trans Britain, which collects the sometimes bleak experience of trans people over half a century into 22 essays.

The subtitle is Our Journey from the Shadows, and its point is that, in order to be understood, people first have to be seen.

Love Unlimited wasn’t about trans people, but about life choices that challenged traditional thinking about relationships.

...The interviewees included three gay men, two of whom work as nurses, who are filmed whiling away an evening with board games in their Edinburgh flat before retiring to their two bedrooms (there isn’t room for all three to sleep comfortably in one bed, and shift work means often only two of them are in anyway). Their setup is known in polyamorous circles as a triad or “thruple”. What, they say, could be more ordinary?

My son’s arrangement is a daisy chain, in which each person is free to have other lovers while remaining committed to each other. He currently has only one partner, but “they” – the pronoun of choice – are also in a lesbian relationship, so I resonate strongly with the splendidly upfront mother of one of the gay nurses as she recalled her initial reaction to the introduction of a third partner: “[I thought] that’s my baby’s man … Does this mean they’re not going to get married? Is my baby going to be lying in bed alone at night crying because his partner’s not there and is away shagging some other bloke?”

But that maternal worry isn’t going to disappear because I try not to think about it. The film says my son and his partner regard themselves as non-binary “in that they identify as neither exclusively masculine nor feminine”. Wrong, says my son, when I discuss it with him: they see themselves as neither exclusively male nor female, but his partner strongly identifies as femme.

Such delicate distinctions can wrongfoot the best of us. ...

...While Trans Britain valuably documents the long history behind what can seem to be a new phenomenon, Love Unlimited points to a paradigm shift among some millennials that is clearly enabling them to flourish. There’s even a very chatty Dundee polyamory group, which meets up once a month over coffee and cake to debate “poly” posers such as how to deal with envy and jealousy.

What, the interviewees were repeatedly asked, were the main challenges of their lifestyle? Trust, they said – and timetabling. I for one feel greatly reassured. There will still be board games in the evenings.

The whole article (February 9, 2018).


Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust
● Aaaaand, turning to the British tabloids, here's a heart-melter that's started going around. From the Mirror: Blind, bisexual and polyamorous goose involved in love triangle with two swans dies at 40 (Feb. 9). More on this worldwide sensation: Thomas The Bisexual Goose Will Be Buried Beside His Male Partner Of 30 Years: "After enjoying a romantic triad with two black swans, Thomas died at the ripe old age of 40." Inspirational, says the writer of A Case For Modelling Your Life After This Bisexual Polyamorous Goose:

Thomas will be buried next to Henry where they originally lived together. The ceremony will be public, and no doubt packed with people — it’s all I can do not to book a flight to New Zealand right now.

Honestly, if we have learnt anything from Thomas, it’s that love and relationships don’t have to fit into the oppressive boundaries we’ve created for ourselves (yes, I am trying to make a serious case for polyamory based off the life of a goose).

Followup, February 21:

Thomas the bisexual goose was laid to rest next to his soulmate, Henry the Swan, in a moving funeral service.

A bagpipe procession led the crowd of about 60 people at Thomas’ funeral.

A member of the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust – where Thomas spent his final days – held a small coffin with the goose’s body inside.

Thomas was buried next to his love of nearly 30 years, Henry the Swan with a plaque put up near the grave in his honor.

...The trio were in an amicable polyamorous relationship until Henry died in 2009. Thomas was heard crying in the years after Henry’s death.

...Pinky Agnew, a local, wrote a poem for Thomas:

Here lies Thomas, the great-hearted goose,
Nestled near Henry, in their final roost,
Here where they raised young, and found sanctuary,
Somewhere above us, these great souls fly free.


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