Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 27, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup – a lockdown triad "changed my idea of love." Sidewalks not wide enough for three to hold hands. And the passing of Allena Gabosch

Welcome to Friday Polyamory News Roundup for November 27, 2020.

●  Refinery29 this Thanksgiving week presents a tale of triad love conquering Covid disruption: Forming a 3-Way Relationship During Lockdown Changed My Idea of Love (November 24). Excerpts:

Naomi Blundell Meyer
By Abigail Moss

It’s a cold, windy night in February when my partner of eight years and I arrive at Original Sin, a cocktail bar in Stoke Newington. ... We’ve been chatting online with Andrea for a few weeks but this is the first time we’ll meet in person. In just over a month’s time, lockdown will force our relationship back online, though of course none of us knows this at the time.

...We agreed when we first joined Feeld that anonymous flings don’t do it for either of us. We both feel that a large part of what makes a person attractive is their personality and we wanted to get to know someone a bit before sleeping with them. With Andrea, this was easy – we realised straightaway that we have similar outlooks on life, the same weird senses of humour and loads of interests in common. Our dinner date flew by, just like our first date had done. Before any of us knew it, Monday had arrived; we’d spent the whole weekend together. The relationship quickly became about more than just sex.

...Then, one Sunday night shortly after Andrea had left mine and Paul’s flat, Boris Johnson announced that the UK was in full lockdown. ...

The next few months [of seperation] were tough. A lot of anxieties and insecurities bubbled to the surface for all of us and we each had moments of doubt about the future of the relationship. Even though polyamory is becoming more common, navigating a relationship like this can be tricky at times because there’s less out there to guide you. ... We chatted about our concerns and helped each other deal with the stress of the pandemic. As lockdown dragged on, we kept talking and worked hard to be honest and open with one another. There were some fun times too, and plenty of naughty WhatsApp chats....

When the lockdown rules eased, we arranged to meet up in a local park. Later, we admitted that we’d all been quite nervous beforehand, worried that it’d be awkward after all those months apart. It wasn’t. We drank rosé out of plastic cups in the sun and it was more like a few days had passed rather than a few months....

When the country went into a second lockdown, we barely had to discuss how we’d manage it... Paul and I immediately became Andrea’s support bubble. Our weekends are spent having lazy lie-ins, cooking together, watching movies. Lockdown fever still gets us sometimes (last weekend Andrea and I got bored of watching TV and successfully taught my cat to fetch a ball) but together this lockdown feels like a breeze compared to the first one.

We all feel incredibly lucky to have met and that the tough times were worth it. We don’t see the good times ending any time soon, no matter what surprises the future has in store. 

●  Also just out is another relatively happy Covid-era tale, by poly author Page Turner regarding her surprisingly good quaranteaming with just her spouse: What 8 Months of COVID Lockdown Have Taught Me About Toxic (and Non-Toxic) Monogamy (Nov 23)

...Since the middle of March, I’ve seen no one else in person aside from my live-in partner and the occasional delivery driver.... These are the perfect conditions for the kind of insularity that can threaten a bond, by making both parties feel trapped, smothered, or deprived. And yet, we’ve avoided that.

If anything, I’m finding we’re closer than ever. We’re getting along extremely well, despite being forced into close quarters together. We’ve not only been functionally monogamous but also just plain socially isolated.... This is not normal for us. It seems like a potentially socially toxic environment.

And yet, we’re thriving. Wow.

...I’m not one of those polyamorous people who think monogamy = bad. (Nor do I think that polyamory = good in every situation). ... Whether a relationship or relationship system is healthy depends less on the structure and more on the motivation for the relationship structure — why [it is] exclusive or open.

There are people who want relationship exclusivity because they think it’ll help them control someone else. ... That is what people mean when they talk about toxic monogamy.

I have certainly seen some examples of toxic monogamy culture during lockdown — in other relationships.

...It makes me really grateful that even when I’m functionally monogamous with my partner (we’re both basically ambiamorous, not squarely polyamorous or monogamous but able to do either happily depending on the health of the situation), that our relationship never looks like THAT.

Even when I haven’t seen another friend in person for months on end, I feel very free. Very unrestricted. And not a bit smothered.

It’s a good lesson about non-toxic monogamy, I think.

●  How often have you been presented with stereotyped love tragedies — in real life, the movies, literature, Italian opera, Shakespeare, advice columns — and thought "Well going poly would have solved that! Duhh?"

If they had known it was possible. They, and the culture around them. 

The classic love tragedy is about someone torn between two people, where rejection of either one will be a catastrophic heartbreaker/life-ender. Yet there is no other choice in sight.

The dummies.

To read about polyfolks in much of the mainstream media, you might think that the polyamorous possibility is only for a few extraordinary people with extraordinary skills. Mainstream advice columnists, in particular, need to get a clue otherwise: that knowing this option can be just as important for your conservative aunt in Dubuque as for a co-living urban Millennial who eats emotional-intelligence exercises for breakfast.

So we need more advice columns that raise the possibility. Like this one in The Good Men Project: ‘Should I Leave?’ Is the Wrong Question (Nov. 18)

By Jessica

“Should I break up with them?” is something my worried little fingers have typed into Google many a dark night. ... The question  “Do I want to break up with them?” hasn’t worked for me either. ... Using this method, I quite spectacularly broke my own heart by ending my first ever healthy relationship. ...

If we ask “What is better for my future self?” it can be more helpful in a variety of scenarios because it enables us to look several steps ahead. ...

This question also might lead to finding alternatives other than simply stay or leave. ...

If you want more romantic adventures so you feel you should leave your partner, but don’t want to because you still love them, polyamory or some form of open relationship could be solutions....

If you stopped feeling attracted to your spouse but loved parenting with them, you could consider a “parenting marriage” where you still live together but just as companions and co-parents.

The possibilities are, well, not endless but certainly less restrictive. ...

●  I quoted M. Ellery's Medium article How to Be a Non-Monogamous Mother in a Binary World a couple weeks ago. Turns out it's in a Medium sub-magazine called Polyamory Today that's been running since 2018. I should have known about this and maybe you should too. It has grown to 25 articles, mostly by people with their unvarnished tales of navigating actual poly life. It's excellent reading and might be good to suggest to newcomers whether they're starry-eyed or scared. The archive is sortable by category.

●  You knew this was coming: the latest fairytale polyfamily romance in the British tabloids. I haven't kept good count, but in the last six years or so I'd estimate there have been close to 80 of these happy tabloid profiles. Most of them follow the identical perky formula, with once-sentence paragraphs and lots of professional pix. The latest of these, out yesterday, is Newly-engaged couple who found themselves both falling in love with the bride-to-be's friend reveal they've formed a throuple after she ditched her boyfriend to be with them (Daily Mail, Nov. 26). They're in Germany.

From front: Larissa Mader, Patrick
Friedrich, Laura Hinsche

...Larissa met Laura, a nurse, in December 2019 at a friend's birthday party and the two become close friends.  

With Larissa introducing Laura to her long-term boyfriend soon after their engagement, the trio began to realise that they had a growing mutual love for one another. 

...Despite none of them having considered polyamory before, in April 2020 Larissa and Patrick invited Laura to form a throuple after both deciding that Laura would bring even more love and intimacy into their relationship.

Laura, who broke up with her boyfriend of six years to join the couple, spoke candidly about the throuple hitting some bumps in the road, figuring out how they could make their three-way relationship work.  

'From April to the end of May, we tried to make our relationship work but everything went wrong.

'The biggest mistake we made was actually that we talked far too little about the little things that bothered us.

They separated for a while, then came back together to try to make a better go of it.

'Since then, our relationship has been wonderful and we enjoy every second of it,' [said Laura].

'We live together and choose to do everything together.

'For us polyamory is not about having to share a partner with someone else because everyone loves everyone equally.

I hope they know to be flexible about that as time passes. No two relationships are ever alike, at least nor for long, and that's okay. 

...[Laura:] 'The most important thing in the poly relationship is communication because misunderstandings often arise much faster with three people than with two.'

Luckily, the throuple's respective families have been largely supportive of their decision to enter a three-way relationship, wanting the best for them however unconventional this may be. 

Learning from their previous mistakes and improving their communication, they are happier than they have ever been before and say that polyamory has just multiplied the love they give and receive.

She joked the throuple also had to overcome 'tiny' day-to-day obstacles, like sidewalks not being wide enough for the three of them to hold hands.  

...Larissa, Patrick and Laura are keen to show others online that being in a three-way relationship can work just as well as a conventional relationship.

'We just want to show that love works in a threesome,' Laura said.

'Of course there are some hurdles to overcome with communication in a throuple being even more important than in a couple.

'However, you shouldn't give up. You should fight for your love because polyamory is so special and unique.

...Larissa and Patrick are still planning their wedding for 2021 and would be marrying Laura too if three-person marriages weren't illegal in Germany. They also have plans to start a family. 

"Learning to live as a throuple was not easy on Larissa, Laura and Patrick, but
they are now looking forward to watching many more sunsets together."


   – That children's polyfamily book, A Color Named Love, reached its Kickstarter goal fast. That means the book is due out in March.

   – Loving More's Robyn Trask and Jesus V. Garcia will host an online discussion of all topics polyamory, Tuesday December 1 at 7 pm Mountain time, 9 pm Eastern. "Discussion is always open to current issues that people may be dealing with." Free.

   – Allena Gabosch, 1953–2020. Many of you knew this was coming, many didn't. For decades Allena was a beloved activist and whirlwind community educator in the polyamory and sex-positive worlds of the Pacific Northwest. She passed away on Wednesday, at age 67, after a fight with cancer. Notice and memorial from Zoe Duff.

Among other things she directed Seattle's Center for Sex-Positive Culture, originally known as The Wet Spot, for many years. Wrote a friend, "She lived her life loud and proud, on her own terms, and she literally pulled thousands together and created a community that fed all our souls. I certainly would not have accomplished what I have over the years had it not been for this amazing goddess."

Live like her.

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November 23, 2020

Today is Polyamory Day. Share it! And why November 23, you ask?

Limber up your meme-sharing fingers! Today, Monday November 23, is Polyamory Day.

Please share this from the original site (the Share button there is below the graphic on a phone, or in the big white sidebar on the right of a computer screen.)

Ambitious folks are building on the successes of the last several years to get this meme spreading, to further polyamory visibility and community.

Here's the Facebook post to share it from. It's best to share from there because, creator Steve Ks says, a thing shared from several different origins won't trend like something shared from a single origin.

Under the graphic is this:

If you agree that people who are polyamorous are entitled to the same rights, privileges, and governmental accommodation that others have, please circulate this image to others on your blogs, in email, and on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate loving relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Thank you from activists on the Polyamory Leadership Network!

The backstory:

For years people floated ideas for an appropriate Polyamory Day, but nothing happened. Then in 2017 the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) took the initiative by declaring, with a press release, that November 23 would be National Polyamory Day in Canada. In 2018 they repeated the announcement for not just Canada but worldwide, and the idea spread. It spread further in 2019, with a graphic and text also offered in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, and Italian. This year Steve Ks in Canada took the initiative and is publicizing this year's graphic through the Polyamory Leadership Network page. (I helped.)

Why November 23? Well, it had to be some date. This is the day when, in 2011, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled that Canada's anti-polygamy law does not apply to modern polyamorists, if they do not try to make a group bond pass as a formally sanctioned marriage (polygamy). Previously, according to the law, three or more people simply living in one dwelling "conjugally" could be sentenced to five years in prison, although no prosecution had been brought for many decades.

But now that's fading into history, while the day is becoming a thing worldwide. Let's make this go!

BTW, below is a list of other more-or-less settled recognition days that are poly related (image link for sharing).  

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November 13, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: Relationship anarchy as poly framework. New polyfamily kids' book, a heart-melt wedding, hihi birds, and more

●  Canada cross-border relationships update. Last month I posted a call by Canadian poly activists to press Parliament to allow not just "exclusive" relationship partners to visit from the US during Covid, but poly partners too. The "exclusivity" wording in the rules turned out to be vague, but even so the push failed. Says organizer Eve Rickert, "The [Immigration] Ministry has confirmed that polyamorous relationships are not eligible for visitation under these new rules." She and Carrie Jenkins wrote Canada Defines Love—Exclusively (Oct. 31).

●  Remember that piece on platonic romantic friendship in The Atlantic last month, built on the concept of relationship anarchy which the magazine failed to name? Following up, Self magazine named it: How ‘Relationship Anarchy’ Can Help You Deepen Your Friendships (Nov. 4).

Sarah Alice Rabbit / Adobe Stock
By Melissa A. Fabello

“You want to write about Rachael?” my mother asked. ... But when she read my [college application] essay for errors, she shed tears.... Not only because I was lucky to have someone so powerful in my life, but because she knew her own childhood best friend—more than any public figure, family member, or romantic partner—had deeply impacted her too. For both of us, the relationships we forged with our childhood besties would serve us well into adulthood: We would grow into who we were, partly because of the women we relied on while coming of age.

...It can be helpful to think of how cisheteronormativity feeds into our relationships as a relationship escalator, whereby societal messaging encourages you to date serially and monogamously until you meet the One. Friends support while you’re “on the hunt,” but then society expects you to hyper-focus on a singular, all-encompassing relationship. ...
Pushing back against the relationship escalator takes a fair amount of introspection and intentional action. Enter: relationship anarchy, a phrase created by queer feminist thinker Andie Nordgren, meant to capture the philosophical idea that social rules should not limit our relationships. ...

Overall, relationship anarchists place less emphasis on titles—like partner, sibling, parent, or friend—and more on the relationship’s significance. You’re not expected to prioritize your mother just by virtue of her being so. You’re not expected to live with a romantic interest over a platonic connection. Instead, you organize your life around the relationships that are most meaningful to you. ...

I practice polyamory, recognizing how unexamined monogamy can be harmful and limiting. By deprioritizing cis men in my life, I challenge the patriarchal notion that as a woman, my role is to cater to men. And I place friendships back where they belong for me—front and center—by giving mostly fellow queer, femme women the most gravitational pull in my orbit. ... A multifaceted system will always be more supportive than a singular focus for me. ...

In a world where we often joke about how hard it is to make and maintain friends in adulthood, we should question the systems that drive a wedge into those relationships in pursuit of one, narrow, sometimes fleeting structure. ...

●  So much for "natural law." Biologists say about 1,000 animal species are known to engage in homosexual or bisexual partnering and/or sex acts, with at least 450 of these species having it solidly documented. The number of known polyamorous species is growing too. These are creatures (often birds) that display long-term sexual and/or offspring-rearing partnerships among three or more adults.

The latest picked up by news media is New Zealand's hihi. New Zealand bird of the year: adult toy store endorses 'polyamorous' hihi (Guardian, Nov. 10).

Rod Williams / Alamy stock photo

...The hihi, or stitchbird, is the only bird in the world to mate face to face, according to a statement released by Adult Toy Megastore as part of its campaign endorsement.

“We are proud to endorse the hihi for bird of the year 2020. Hihi lead the sex positivity movement among songbirds and for that we salute them and say to you: VOTE HIHI.

“Male and female hihi practice consensual polyamory (the practice of intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the informed consent of all partners) which is rare.

And as often happens in animals where a female mates with several males in rapid succession, sperm competition has evolved:

“Male hihi have testicles four times larger than they should be, making them, by size, the largest testicles on a bird in the world!… 

But don't go hoping for role models:

...Claims of consensual polyamory, however, were contradicted by a 2004 university thesis which found “male stitchbirds seem to be able to bypass female choice through adopting a face to face forced copulation position”.


Massey University zoologist, Isabel Castro, who studied hihi mating systems, found they had a reproductive flexibility with few peers among perching birds. They can be found in conventional pairings or in breeding groups, Castro told NZ Geographic magazine. The group might consist of one male and several females, or in some cases one female may have several males in attendance. ...

New Zealand's bird-of-the-year competition has become a big thing in that nation. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is silent so far on the hihi; she is reported to be backing the black petrel.

I've been saving up a collection of polyamorous critter news for a future post. Watch this space.

(Update: Victory in the national competition went to the Kākāpō, the world's fattest parrot aka the "mighty moss chicken": an endangered, flightless ground dweller with a face likened to "that of a Victorian gentleman" and a smell "like the inside of a clarinet case, musty and kind of like resin and wood.")

●  A heart-melter today in the New York Times Style section, "Weddings" department: A Blue Moon Wedding for Two Goth Romantics (online Nov. 13). It's by Jenny Block, author of the groundbreaking book Open published back in 2008 when open relationships were barely recognized as a workable thing.

Vivienne Vermuth and Jason Perkins met in 2012 when she was performing at a burlesque show in Dallas. Although polyamorous, they decided to marry because they are “the center of each other’s lives and love.”

Dee Hill

On Halloween night, under a blue moon, Vivienne Vermuth and Jason Perkins, both dressed in black, were married after a dating life that Mr. Perkins describes as more layered than an onion.

...They call themselves “goth romantics” and were thrilled to realize 2020 would have the first full blue moon on Halloween in 76 years. “It’s a big deal for us,” she said. “It’s a time of cleansing, of starting over, and I can’t imagine a better time to do so than right now.”

The couple married in an outdoor ceremony Oct. 31 at Flag Pole Hill Park in Dallas by friend and fellow performer Honey Sin Claire, an Open Ministry minister.

They would have liked to have had more guests than the 10 that current Covid-19 protocol allows in Dallas. “We wanted to include our partners and their immediate family,” Ms. Vermuth said. “So it got hard very fast. Luckily it’s still about us, our love, and everyone around us understand and supports us which is most important.”

Mr. Perkins wore a gray velvet blazer and black pants. Ms. Vermuth wore a 1931, hand-sewn, black silk gown with a spider web Art Deco beaded back. Her sheer black gloves were embossed with velvet runes. Her bouquet and his boutonniere included ethically sourced mink skulls with wedding runes burned into them for love, perseverance, trust and sensual energy.

●  A children's book about polyfamilies is in its Kickstarter phase. A Color Named Love is written by M. Ellery and illustrated by Clara Reschke. "Meet Anna and her 4 parents in this children's book that celebrates polyamory and all the beautiful and valid forms of loving families." 

The authors' Kickstarter video.

Ellery has also written a Medium article: How to Be a Non-Monogamous Mother in a Binary World (Oct. 30). "Finding resources with polyamorous parents represented seemed impossible, so I created my own." The deadline for pledge donations is December 10. Estimated delivery of the book, if the Kickstarter goal is met, is March 2021. If the goal is missed your pledge will be returned.

●  And in the South Seattle Emerald ("a BIPOC-led nonprofit news outlet offering a wider lens of our region’s most diverse, least affluent, and woefully under-reported communities"), comes some poly poetry: I am learning to let love be boring, by Nic Masangkay (Nov. 11). Not bad.


–   The annual round of polyamory hotel conferences, rural retreats, and other regional events shut right down last March when Covid hit. Nevertheless I'm keeping Alan's List of Polyamory Events updated for the coming year.

Don't expect any big gatherings to restart until deep into 2021, I'm guessing. But some events are moving online, meaning you don't have to travel! Next up: 

November 22–23, 2020

PolyCon Canada 2020, a project of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA), was originally scheduled to gather in Edmonton. Now it's a "24 hr livestream event from sundown Nov 22 to sundown Nov 23, 2020 (PST). Join us on Twitch or YouTube at no cost to view." Write for details.

"Title: Honouring Intersectionality and Diversity in our Communities. Livestreamed hosting, interactive chat, and video segments. Broadcast will also be available on YouTube and Twitch 24 hrs after the event." See schedule and program updates, including speakers. 

–   Got an announcement that belongs here? Write me at alan7388 (at) gmail.com 

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