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

February 3, 2021

Psychologists upgrade national consensual non-monogamy task force. And a push starts for polyfamily rights in DC.

Two events are in the news today for the growing recognition of polyamory and other forms of consensual non-monogamy. 

●  After two years, the American Psychological Association, the heavyweight professional organization of the nation's clinical and research psychologists, has upgraded its preliminary Task Force on Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM) to become a permanent committee within its Division 44, Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. The committee's co-chairs Heath Schechinger and Amy Moors write,

With this historic vote, CNM now has perpetual representation and voting rights within Division 44, which is part of the largest national association for psychological research and practice. This puts in place an infrastructure within the American Psychological Association (APA) to provide research, education, and resources about CNM to psychologists and the public. Becoming a Committee reflects the steps previously made by Division 44 to be inclusive of the lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities and signals the direction CNM is heading. Moreover, Committee status highlights the broader societal acceptance and integration of CNM into LGBTQ spaces both academic and community that we are witnessing across the globe. The reverberations of this decision will echo for years to come as it is the first time a national scientific association has committed to formally recognize and support consensual multi-partner families and relationships.

In case you don't think this is a big deal, take a look at what they're doing:

Over the past three years our team has been busy working on our 12 Strategic Initiatives. A few of our highlights include writing white papers that led Psychology Today and APA Psychologist Locator to add search terms for CNM and kink on their therapist directories. We also drafted a new guideline addressing CNM within the APA's guidelines for psychological practice with LGB clients. Our team partnered with Archives for Sexual Behavior to create a Special Issues dedicated exclusively to CNM scholarship that generated nearly 70 proposals. Our team also created an open-access resource hub to summarize and index CNM research. We have four resources that are in the final stages of approval including brochures for mental and medical health professionals, a fact sheet on CNM, and suggestions inclusively assessing relationship diversity on demographic forms. Stay tuned for more on this soon.

Take a look at those 12 Strategic Initiatives in particular. 

Here's the full statement with more information.

●  Meanwhile, longtime Black polyam activist Chris Smith puts out this notice:

Ben Schenker and I have submitted legislation to the council of the District of Columbia petitioning for the expansion of domestic partnership and anti-discrimination laws to include multi-partnered relationships. The legislation is called the Right to Family Amendment Act of 2021.

(1) If you live in the District of Columbia please write emails to your councilmember supporting this initiative; write emails, editorials and articles to the Washington Post and other media outlets, and of course, blow the internet and social media up.
(2) If you live outside the District and want to support, shout this out in the media, social media, and everywhere.

(3) If you are an academic, clinical, and/or legal professional who has experience with consensual non-monogamy/multi-partner research, law, and/or clinical work, please send affidavits of support to the DC councilmembers.

The justice we seek is the justice deserved. Thank you for the support. Let us change the world one day at a time.

Here is their proposal to the DC Council as images of its pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Or download it as a single PDF file (from the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association's announcement of Chris and Ben's call).  

This act would be much more comprehensive and complete than the famous domestic-partnership expansion in Somerville, Massachusetts, last summer and the similar ordinance that's still pending in adjoining Cambridge, Mass.


Update next day: Chris posts the positive reply he quickly got from an office of the DC city government. It invites anyone with something to say about this to submit testimony, in person or in writing, at a committee hearing on March 5:

Today I received this from the DC Government:

“Thanks to you and Benjamin for this thoughtful proposal. I am a new staffer for the Committee on Government Operations and Facilities, which Councilmember White chairs and which assumed responsibility for overseeing the Office of Human Rights earlier this year. ... We will review the issues you raised below with the Councilmember as we consider ways to strengthen the DCHRA. 
In the meantime, the Council’s annual Performance Oversight cycle is underway, and the Committee will hold a hearing with representatives of agencies including OHR on Friday, March 5.  If you are interested in raising awareness of these issues at that hearing, please find participation instructions for the Committee on page 10 of the attached notice.”...

Read Chris's whole post, including how to submit written testimony, testify live, and view the hearing. He says, "If you are a clinician, lawyer, or academic that specializes in relationship structure and/or DC resident, please submit a testimony, sign up to testify live and/or post on social media, and encourage others to watch, submit and testify.

"Spread the word, flood social and regular media and let’s change the world."

And Heath Schechinger comments, 

DC is not alone. Organizers in other cities across the US are preparing to do this same. Somerville already passed a multi-partner domestic partnership ordinance, Cambridge is next. CNM anti-discrimination is gaining momentum.

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