Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

August 5, 2023

Polyamory and psychedelics, polyfam finances, the future of relationships — lots of new poly in the media

Zoe Finley / The Kent Stater
No special theme this time, but a grab-bag of polyamory recently in the news all over. Settle in for a browse.  

●  USA Today again. Seems like they've found that polyamory articles are click-winners and they're pumping their staff for more. 'I'm wired differently': What it feels like to be polyamorous and how couples [sic] make it work (June 26). Excerpts:

By David Oliver

..."As a kid, when I had crushes, I always had crushes on multiple people," [says Elise]. ... A TED Talk introduced her to the possibilities a polyamorous life had to offer. "I'm not broken. I'm not a cheater. I'm not this person that has bad morals. I'm literally just wired differently," she says.

Leanne Yau. Watch the brief Insta.

...Remember that polyamorous people don't want to erase monogamy. "The goal is for everyone to know what options they have in relationships and be able to kind of customize and tailor them and be able to honestly express their desires to their partner or partners," says Leanne Yau, polyamory expert.

...Hobson and Wolf, social media stars behind "The Poly Couple," have figured out polyamory as they've gone along. "It feels like it's a never-ending experiment, because it's not really societally accepted yet," Hobson says. They were monogamous for eight years and have spent about the same amount of time now dating other people. They mostly date separately but have gone on dates together, too.

"It's hard enough to fall in love with another person," Hobson says, "let alone both of us fall in love with the same person."

...Because polyamorous people may indeed be having sex with a wider variety of partners, consent and sexual history are discussed regularly and upfront. STI rates for poly couples are the same as monogamous couples, too.

Still, not every connection may turn sexual. Part of what differentiates polyamory from the broader ethical non-monogamy umbrella is an emotional connection.

...Maybe polyamory would work for you and maybe it wouldn't. But just because it's not for you doesn't mean you should disparage the practice, especially without learning about it.

Brazilian OnlyFans stars Bella Mantovani, 31, and Vagner O Fera, 34, have rented a Times Square billboard to promote their polyamorous lifestyle.

“We want to end this stereotype that polyamory is synonymous with being naughty,” O Fera, an ex-preacher [Evangelical] from São Paulo, told NeedToKnow.co.uk. ...

●  Here's one I can identify with: How Psychedelics Helped Me Embrace Polyamory (Psychedelic Spotlight, June 20)

(no credit listed )

By Gina Giorgio

...My psychedelic experiences, beginning at the age of 22, acted like a mirror to my soul, persistently reflecting my suppressed desires for polyamory. They stripped away societal norms, revealing buried truths, and helping me accept that my interest in non-monogamy didn't make me an immoral person or less worthy partner....

...My more recent psychedelic journeys have continued to further help me comprehend and navigate the complexities of polyamory as a heterosexual woman. On one particular mushroom journey, read more about that one here, a profound realization dawned upon me: The mushrooms told me I was destined to share my life with two people. I was honestly disappointed initially. Part of me always hoped it was a phase I’d grow out of. But rather, it felt like a huge slap in the face that I was being given this information about myself. 

...The process of self-alienation is far more damaging than confronting this truth. I laid down while receiving this mushroom wisdom, and ultimately felt a sense of peace and relief. It was like I could finally stop running from myself, and simply accept something that shouldn’t seem so out there in the first place. ... 

...Taking psychedelics, carefully integrating the takeaways, and coming to terms with my own heart played an instrumental role in this transformative process. They allowed me to open up about my preferences, negotiate the dynamics of my relationships, and reassured me that loving two people didn't devalue either relationship. The cat's now out of the bag, and my hope is to inspire others to be more accepting of their unique romantic partnerships, in whatever form they may take.

This acceptance, akin to embarking on psychedelic journeys, symbolizes freedom – freedom of love, freedom of expression, and most importantly, freedom of choice. Love, in all its diverse forms, should be celebrated. Lord knows the world needs more of it.

A friend wants safety warnings. So: Treat these substances with the respect they deserve; they are not party drugs. Get a test kit to verify what you've got. Avoid if you have a personal or family history of schizophrenia, psychotic breaks, or seizures or have heart disease for which stress is not advised. Read up on psychedelics and what they do, and follow time-tested  guidelines  for safe tripping. Plan a free and clear day; understand that  set and setting are everything; avoid unpredictable or stressful surroundings. Start with a small dose and work up as you learn this new world, leaving at least a week or two between trips.

Have a kind, trusted friend as a guide or tripsitter if you're a beginner or are taking a large dose, if only to keep you from worrying about trouble. A backup resource is the Fireside Project peer-support hotline with trained volunteer tripsitters on call. At medium and large doses, understand that you don't take the trip, the trip takes you. Have a nice place handy to curl up and lie down if you wish. If the experiences get intense don't try to resist them (you can't); instead ride with the flow and experience them; breathe slowly and intentionally; remember that this will pass and you will come out of it fine and perhaps better for it. Remember that when it comes to psychedelics, "Surrender is the key to mastery"; memorize that mantra and repeat when needed. These are my opinions, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice.

●  We're all getting there eventually: How Polyamorous People Can Find Happiness in Later Life (Greater Good Magazine, June 15). "For polyamorous people generally, what does aging together look like?"

Two recent books try to answer that question. Fifty Years of Polyamory in America, by Glen W. Olson and Terry Lee Brussel-Rogers, is an idiosyncratic, hagiographic history of a movement that tracks organizations, ideas, and individual people over five decades. In Polyamorous Elders, therapist and nurse Kathy Labriola shares dozens and dozens of stories of Baby Boomers wrestling with issues related to retirement, grown children, illness, caring for multiple partners, mourning them, transitioning to senior living facilities, and more.

Both books try to make the life trajectories of outsiders like me visible to ourselves, first and foremost, illuminating the path that all of us must walk, if we’re lucky enough to not die young. 

Relevant: OPEN has just obtained a grant from The Polyamory Foundation to help fund a Polyamory and Deathcare guide and webinar. "OPEN aims to produce a resource to help polyamorous and non-monogamous people navigate end-of-life planning and deathcare, where the hurdles of a world built exclusively around monogamy can be particularly challenging."  Update January 2024: The guide has been produced and is available online: End-of-Life Planning Guide.

●  Practical matters: 6 money management tips for people in polyamorous relationships, from experts who know (Business Insider, June 15). It's serious and pretty long. The ten subsections: 

Four financial challenges of being polyamorous
1. There are many different poly relationship arrangements ...
2. Challenges with odd number of partners involved ...
3. Challenges in the transfer of generational wealth ...
4. Fewer financial literacy resources ...

How to manage money when you're polyamorous
1. Define your ideal financial overlap ...
2. Get in alignment ...
3. Start small ...
4. Keep your beneficiaries up to date ...
5. Make estate planning a priority ...
6. Have money conversations often  ...

●  Speaking of which, remember that long-running poly property mess making national news in New Zealand? It has finally been settled — by the country's highest court no less, in a 3-2 decision: Polyamorous ex-throuple dispute over $2m property leaves Supreme Court split (New Zealand Herald, June 19).

It's a lesson in why any long-term polyfamily should draw up legal agreements about property they own or think they do.  

A panel of Supreme Court judges are at odds over a ruling that a polyamorous ex-throuple are theoretically all entitled to a share of the multi-million dollar property they lived in together.

The ruling passed by a narrow margin, with two of the five judges dissenting, citing concerns with how this precedent could affect future, more complex cases involving multi-partner relationships.

...The case relates to a couple, Lilach and Brett Paul, who married in 1993.

In 1999, Lilach Paul met Fiona Mead and in 2002 the three of them formed a polyamorous relationship.

They moved into a four-hectare property in Kumeu, which had just been purchased in Mead’s name for [NZ]$533,000. She paid the deposit of $40,000.

They lived together at the property for 15 years, and mostly shared the same room and bed, court documents said.

All three worked and contributed to the household until 2017, when Lilach Paul broke up with Mead and Brett Paul, who in turn broke up in 2018, with Mead continuing to live at the property.

The property had by then risen in value to more than $2 million.

In 2019, Lilach Paul applied to the Family Court to determine the parties’ shares in the property, under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (PRA).

Mead protested the Family Court’s jurisdiction to consider the case, and it was referred to the High Court, which ruled there was no jurisdiction. But Lilach and Brett Paul appealed that decision, with the Court of Appeal ruling in 2021 the Family Court did have jurisdiction as the throuple could be defined as three separate, qualifying relationships under the act.

Mead then appealed to the Supreme Court last year.

The home in dispute. (Chris McKeen/ Stuff)

In the Supreme Court appeal, her lawyer said the Court of Appeal had “undermined and misconstrued the essential nature of their relationship, [which was] a threesome” when it characterised them as being in three separate relationships.

Meanwhile, Lilach Paul’s lawyer said the PRA’s definition of a de facto relationship was “broad, flexible, and evaluative”.

“It is not concerned with how the parties describe themselves but with whether the relationship has the requisite characteristics. In this case, the polyamorous relationship between the parties was comprised of three qualifying relationships.”

There should be no practical impediment to dividing the property equally, so long as there were qualifying relationships.

“Excluding multi-partnered relationships from the definition of a de facto relationship would have serious implications, such as inadvertently ending a marriage once there is involvement of a third party.”...

...In the decision, Justice Stephen Kós pointed to the two-person relationships within the threesome.

"All multilateral relationships are inherently also collections of bilateral relationships. Exact numbers and mechanics are less important, for the act, than the fact that the people comprising the relationships lived together in a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship," he said.

Justices Susan Glazebrooke and Ellen France disagreed with the other judges, saying to divide a polyamorous relationship in this way was artificial. ...

I wonder what the lawyers cost. 

●  Some good newbie advice: The Secrets to Making Non-Monogamy Work, According to a 'Couples Therapy' Expert (Men's Health and Yahoo News, June 28). The expert is Dr. Orna Guralnik, who hosts Showtime's documentary series "Couples Therapy." Sample:

If a couple is thinking about opening up their relationship, do you have any advice?

From my experience working with people who are ethically non-monogamous, people should know it requires a huge amount of attention paid to the relationship. It isn't something you can do impulsively and hope it's going to be okay. If you don't really get into the whole philosophy of it, then people are going to get hurt and it's going to hurt the relationship. It requires serious bandwidth.

In a funny way, people who are doing ethical non-monogamy are way more [connected] than people who don't. It requires so much attention to feelings and impact and assessing oneself, how one is feeling, [and] assessing your partner... [It's about] keeping this process of self-reflection on why are you doing what you are doing [and] parsing out selfishness versus care. It's a lot to think about, so you have to be ready for that. ...

...In the past few years, as the star of ethical non-monogamy (ENM) has risen, so too has the idea that there is one “right” way to be. Polyamorous people love talking about their polyamory in the smoking area and saying things like “Love is not a limited resource!” and, one of my personal faves, “Monogamy is a violent system solely designed to uphold capitalism and the patriarchy.” Meanwhile, monogamous people, who still rule the roost in wider society, often look down on those with alternative relationship styles. “Isn’t that just sanctioned cheating?”...

I now subscribe to a concept I like to call “relationship neutrality”, which is basically the idea that how other people conduct their relationships is none of your business....

●  OnlySky, a secularist news magazine recently bought by the American Atheists, had a correspondent there in the Somerville (MA) City Council room when the council voted last March for its famous nondiscrimination measures. The mag finally published Love is love: Quiet victory may ignite nat’l movement to protect polyamorists (June 16).

● A compersion 101 in the big online magazine Women.com: Compersion, What It Means And How It Ties Into Ethical Non-Monogamy (July 6). Nothing original; it's collected from other online articles.

 Non-monogamy is like CrossFit, in that it has a lexicon all its own. ... With the help of six polyamory educators, we put together a non-monogamy glossary.

The terms are ENM and CNM, polyamory, open relationship, relationship orientation, ambiamorous, swingers, throuple, triad, quad, don't ask don't tell (DADT), hierarchical polyamory, relationship anarchy (RA), anchor partner, comet, metamour, compersion, garden party polyamory, kitchen table polyamory, parallel polyamory, and polysaturated.

They missed family style polyamory, polycule, NRE (new-relationship energy), frubbly, nesting partner, unicorn (and unicorn hunter), vee, N, W, quint, cross-coupled, fluid bonded, OPP, telemour (your metamour's other partner), cowboy/cowgirl, and what else? 

Drawing of three smiling young people sweetly holding each other
 Zoe Finley / The Kent Stater

● In the Kent State student newspaper: Is polyamory the future? The future legality of polyamory in the United States (June 14)

...Mylo said they were currently in a polycule, and each of their boyfriends ... fulfills needs like romance, emotional support, and sexual needs. 

“I find it very healthy, the fact that I don’t demand all my needs be met by one person, because I feel like that’s too much for people to handle sometimes in different parts of life,” Mylo said. 

Said Lee, “A couple of years into college back in 2020, I guess I sort of felt that I just like so many people and feel like my love shouldn’t just be limited to one person.” ... 

●  From Spain, in the leading national newspaper El PaísEverything that polyamory can teach monogamous relationships (English edition, July 8). The long article is mostly a diligent Poly 101, but these parts address the headline:

By Marita Alonso

..."Non-monogamous relationships can involve a greater or lesser degree of openness, priorities and agreements of all kinds," [says therapist and non-mono activist Sandra Bravo.] "In order to be called ethical, they must in all cases include transparency, honesty, consensus and consent. Something that, again, wouldn’t hurt to have in monogamy – in an explicit, spoken way, not only from a tacit agreement made at the beginning of a relationship."

...[Says Noemí Casquet, author of Éxtasis (Ecstasy)], one key aspect is communication, which in non-monogamous relationships has to be open, direct and honest. “Non-monogamous people work on this a lot, because we have deconstructed a lot and we are very aware of what care, bonds and affective responsibility are. This is often not taken into account in monogamy, because there has been no deconstruction of it. Non-monogamous people have had to break with the idea of romantic love, reformulating it from a different place. Communication and quality time are crucial. What can monogamous relationships learn from this? The importance of making a relational agreement establishing a series of issues that sometimes are uncomfortable, but must be discussed.”

...“Monogamous relationships can learn a lot about managing quality time and care. Also about affective responsibility and being aware that we are creating a bond that must be cared for. We have to communicate, be honest, constantly touch base with each other to find out what our emotional state is and to be able to share it, as well as create protocols (for coexistence, communication, arguments) and even put them in writing. Relationships are an agreement between two people, so the clearer that agreement can be, the fewer problems we will have.” 

...Psychologist Lara Ferreiro says that monogamous relationships can learn from polyamorous relationships to adopt an open mind, although she clarifies that this does not imply that they open the relationship if they do not want to; rather, that they experiment in their own sexual relations. “Being open to new sexual experiences helps to break free from monotony, to learn about new tastes and sexual fantasies of the partner and to create an atmosphere of trust. There are couples who have been together for many years and are used to a series of sexual dynamics that don’t satisfy both members. For this reason, relationships should focus on mutual sexual satisfaction, something that is very present in polyamorous relationships. ...

Ferreiro continues: “Another important aspect is the autonomy within the couple. Members of polyamorous relationships highly value personal autonomy and freedom. Although within polyamory this is has to do with having sexual freedom and creating connections with other people, monogamous people can practice it within the couple. This can be reflected in each other’s individual quality time; that is, that each person has their own pastimes and spends time with friends and family outside of the relationship,” she explains. “Monogamous couples can learn to overcome the possessiveness that is often associated with this type of relationships. Polyamory destroys that idea of possession, control and excessive jealousy that we often associate with traditional couples. A monogamous couple should be based on commitment and mutual respect, but it must be emphasized that each person is a separate individual who doesn’t depend on anyone; we don’t belong to someone just because we are in a couple.”

Sandra Bravo adds other important lessons: that friendships are not a consolation prize and that the partner should not be everything. “That is the great message of monogamous, heteropatriarchal romantic love. Interacting in a non-monogamous way does not magically remove this burden from us, but it invites us to question it, which is, without a doubt, one of the most important points: to break the isolation of the couple and generate alternative family and relationship models to relate in a more communal way, where care can be better distributed and not always fall on the same persons”....

From India, Married But Open: Indian Couples Embracing Non-Monogamy Say The More The Merrier (Outlook India, online August 2). That's just one of the polyam and other alternative-relationship articles in Outlook India's "Radical Love" special issue, at left (print date August 11).

Another of its articles: 'I Am Polyamorous': Journey Of Many Desires. "The heart sees beauty, kindness, courage and compassion in more than one person and desires to connect with them."

Also from India, 10 Polyamorous Relationship Rules for Thriving Non-Monogamy (Pinkvilla, June 24). Pinkvilla, a celebrity/entertainment site, claims to be "India’s leading content platform" with a "loyal reader base of 60 million and growing" in 200 countries. The article, by a relationship coach, is entry level but informative for the wide public. Quite long.

India has been producing a lot more poly in the media lately. Another. Some earlier examples.

From Kenya, an outspoken TV star makes news: We don't belong to anyone -- How Nice Githinji balances multiple relationships  (PulseLive, Aug. 3)

In a YouTube interview on Thursday, actress and producer Nice Githinji explained her perspective on open relationship lifestyles and her chosen way of polyamory.

Nice Githinji
...The 'Benta' actress explained ... that human beings tend to adopt a sense of ownership over each other, even within committed relationships. She challenged this notion, asserting that people should not belong to one another.

..."As human beings we are so big in owning people... We don't belong to anyone, even in a relationship we shouldn't belong to each other. Tikidanganyana ndio sababu tunaumizana.  [Lying to each other is why we hurt each other.] The fact that I say you are the only one, then I still go and fool around, hurts people," Githinji said. ...

"If we learn to tailor-make our relationships according to our needs as the people in the relationship, then it goes further than doing things according to how society says they should be done." 

From South Africa via the BBC, South Africa polyamory: When three's not a crowd in a relationship (July 22)

Lethabo (left), Fletcher and Lunya with the baby

By Mpho Lakaje
BBC Africa Daily, Johannesburg

A new trend appears to be emerging among young South Africans — polyamory — having romantic relationships with multiple partners at the same time.

With her short hair and matching white trousers and top Lethabo Mojalefa cuts a striking figure.

She is a bisexual woman who started dating Fletcher Mojalefa in December 2018.

Fletcher, who equally oozes confidence and charisma, is a flamboyant man often wearing a colourful flowery shirt and a bucket hat.
...When they first got together, Fletcher had no idea that Lethabo was bisexual.

"I broke the news two or three months into our relationship because I realised that I could actually be open with this guy," Lethabo says.

Fletcher was fine with it.

"I felt happy that she went public with me and she came out," he says. "If she didn't, we were going to have other secret relationships and we were not going to last."

...In August last year, they met Lunya Makua, a bisexual woman who works as a stripper at a nightclub in the small town of Burgersfort. She too is in her early 20s.

..."In no time we all hooked up. The three of us were sharing the same bed, especially when attending social events and staying at a guest house."

But understanding a polyamorous relationship in Limpopo province, a rural part of South Africa, was always going to prove difficult for the local community.

Lethabo admits that some of their peers still do not get it and often mistake it for polygamy, which is common among some South African communities.

"They ask me how I handle my partner having another partner. I just explain to them that it's not just his partner, I'm dating her too.

"Once people realise that she's my partner too, they start accusing me of being possessed, saying this is not normal," she says, seemingly unfazed by the criticism.

"It doesn't matter to me, I'm conscious of what I am doing and I am aware of the decisions I'm taking."

...Relationship counsellors here say they are now seeing more people involved in polyamory and say that it is more common than expected in South Africa.

From the clients she has seen, intimacy and relationship coach Tracy Jacobs says that while polyamory is on the rise, she has noticed that it is not exclusively among young people.

"Although it does tend to be more popular among the younger generations, such as the millennials and Gen Z, there are also other individuals in older age groups who practise polyamory or other forms of ethical non-monogamy.

"The range of these individuals who identify as polyamorous is quite broad and there's no real clear-cut age," she says.

Intimate relationship counsellor Elizabeth Retief says polyamorous relationships are also more attractive because they offer more flexibility and challenge traditional roles that is very different to polygamy.

"Ethical polyamory is egalitarian, whereas polygamy very much says: 'One person in this relationship has more rights than the other.' " ...

... But how would things change if Lethabo, the mother of his child, brought another man to the relationship?

"I wouldn't be part of that relationship because I'm a straight man. But if she wants to commit to another relationship with a man, that would be OK, " [Fletcher] says. ...

●  And lastly, from the DC Universe: Wonder Woman’s new kid nods to the character’s polyamorous origins. "Meet Elizabeth Marston Prince, aka Wonder Woman" (Polygon, June 26)

Elizabeth Marston Prince.
Her nickname will be Trinity.

By Susana Polo

Writer Tom King and artist Daniel Sampere are the next team taking on [the Wonder Woman comic], and Issue #800 offered a mighty tease of their plan: A story set decades in the future of the DC Universe, featuring Wonder Woman’s daughter, Lizzie.

Why Lizzie? Well, it’s short for Elizabeth — Elizabeth Marston Prince, that is. Prince, from long tradition, is Diana’s chosen surname. But which Marston did Diana Prince partner up with to bring Lizzie into the world? That’s for King and Sampere to know, and us to find out when their run begins on Sept. 19.

But here in the real world, Elizabeth Marston just happens to be the name of one of the polyamorous trio who invented Wonder Woman in the first place.


 Polyamory Conversation Cards kickstarter. These look fun and useful. Marianna Zelichenko writes,

"A project we just launched: Polyamory Conversation Cards! It’s a deck with 49 questions in different categories to help polyam folks discuss important topics early & open."

From their press release:

The basic card deck consists of 55 cards [including wildcards], with questions and tips for using the cards. If the stretch goal of €40K is reached, the number of cards will be doubled to 110. The cheerful watercolor artwork for the cards is created by Dutch queer & polyamorous artist The Artful Iriz. ...

The questions are divided in 7 categories: Emotional safety, Autonomy vs. sharing, Communication, Relationship structures, Sexuality, Dealing with challenges, and Practical matters. Marianna: “We conducted research in multiple online communities, and these topics were mentioned a lot when we asked people what they wished they discussed earlier on in their relationships.” 

More pix at the link. You get the set of cards for a pledge of 15 euros, about $17. Estimated delivery date November. You're only charged if they reach the goal to manufacture them. (I have no financial interest in this.)

Another kickstarter, this one for people interested in intentional family and shared living ideas: the Nuclear (Family) Fusion app. The project is by Remodeled Love, known on the web for its goal "to expand the cultural narrative on healthy relationships, polyamory, family, and love."

What if the village you always dreamed of was just a click away?

What if the skills you needed to learn on how to have emotionally intelligent and mutually supportive, lasting relationships could be found in that same place?

What if you never had to stress about finding reliable childcare, support for yourself during finals week, or help caring for your elderly parent?

What if there was an app for that?

We at Remodeled Love, a platform dedicated to giving voice to non-traditional family structures, want to create an app that matches folks and families to each other based on shared values, in order to help each other break free from the oppression of single and nuclear family living. 

It will function much like a dating app except it has nothing to do with dating; it serves to unite individuals and families from across the country, and even the globe, who are looking for other families with whom to form geographical villages and/or co-families.

Make a pledge to help create it. I did. You'll be charged only if the Kickstarter reaches its August 20th goal of $14,000 to pay for the app's development. Estimated delivery date March 2024. 


Meanwhile, as events press forward...

Why have I been ending posts to this polyamory news site with Ukraine?

Because I've seen many progressive movements die out because they failed to scan the wider world accurately and understand their position in it strategically.

We polyamorous people are a small, weird minority of social-rule breakers. Increasingly powerful people call us a threat to society — because by living successfully outside of their worldview, we expose its incompleteness.

One couple, many hands. "A new mural painting in Kyiv dedicated
to Ukrainian volunteers. If you have helped Ukrainians during this
year and a half, you may consider yourself to be one of them."

Our freedom to choose our relationship structures, and to speak up for ourselves about the truth of ourselves, is just one way we depend on a free and pluralistic society that respects people's dignity to create their own lives, to access facts, and to speak of what they know.

Such a society is possible only where people have power to govern themselves, combined with legal structures that are at least supposed to guarantee the rights of all.

Innovative people, communities, and societies who create their own lives, and who insist on the democratic structures and legal rights that enable them to do so safely, infuriate and terrify the authoritarians who are growing in power around the world and in our own United States. Now with direct mutual support.

Such rulers and would-be rulers seek to stamp out other people's freedom to choose their lives — by intimidation, repressive laws, inflammatory disinformation and public incitement, abuse of police powers, or eventually, artillery.

For what it's worth, Polyamory in the News received more pagereads from pre-war Ukraine over the years (56,400) than from any other country in eastern Europe.

You can donate to Ukraine relief through this list of vetted organizations or many others. We're giving to a big one, Razom, and to a little one, Pizza for Ukraine in Kharkiv, the project of an old friend of my wife (story).

But that is only the start. For those of us born since World War II, we are seeing the most consequential war of our lifetimes. Because we have entered another time when calculating fascism, at home and abroad, is rising and sees freedom and liberalism and social tolerance as weak, degenerate, delusional  inviting easy pushovers. As Russia thought it saw in Ukraine. And the whole world is watching what we will do about it. 

The coming times may require hard things of us. We don't get to choose the time and place in history we are born into; we do get to choose how we respond to it. Buck up and be ready.

Need a little help bucking up? Take perspective. Play thisAnother version. More? Some people on the eastern front April 9th helping to hold onto an open society, a shrinking thing in the world. Maybe your granddad did this across a trench from Hitler's troops — for you, and us, because a world fascist movement was successfully defeated that time, opening the way for the rest of the 2oth century. Although the outcome didn't look good for a couple of years there.

Remember, these people say they are doing it for us too. They are correct. The global struggle between a free, open future and a fearful revival of the dark past that's shaping up, including in our own country, is still in its early stages. It's likely to get worse before it gets better. The outcome is again uncertain, and it will determine the 21st century and the handling of all its other problems.


PS: Ukraine should not be idealized as the paragon of an open democratic society. For instance, see If Ukraine Wants To Stand for Liberty and Democracy, It Should Rethink Some of Its Wartime Policies. And it has quite the history of being run by corrupt oligarchs — leading to the Maidan Uprising of 2013, the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, and Zelensky's overwhelming election in 2019 as the anti-corruption candidate. So they're working on that. (More.)

Now, writes US war correspondent George Packer in The Atlantic, 

Here was a country with a tragic history that had at last begun to build, with great effort, a better society. What made Ukraine different from any other country I had ever seen—certainly from my own—was its spirit of constant self-improvement, which included frank self-criticism. For example, there’s no cult of Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine—a number of Ukrainians told me that he had made mistakes, that they’d vote against him after the war was won. Maxim Prykupenko, a hospital director in Lviv, called Ukraine “a free country aspiring to be better all the time.” The Russians, he added, “are destroying a beautiful country for no logical reason to do it. Maybe they are destroying us just because we have a better life.”

They have a word there, with a deep history, for the horizontal, self-organized, mutual get-it-done that grows from community social trusthromada. Learn that word. It's getting them through  to the extent they've been able. We polyfolks often dream of creating something like that community spirit in miniature, in our polycules and networks. Occasionally we succeed.

Social attitudes in Ukraine tend traditional, rooted in a thousand years of the Orthodox Church, but not bitterly so like often in the US; the ideal of modern European civil society is widely treasured, and social progressivism has room to thrive. The status of women is fast advancing, especially since February 2022 (pre-war article). And a reported 57,000 women volunteer in the armed forces, flooding traditionally male bastions, including as combat officers, artillery gunners, tankers, and snipers. (Intimidating video: "As the Witch has Said".)
Ukraine's LGBT military unicorn emblem
Ukraine's LGBT military unicorn.
The thorns and barbed wire
represent old restrictions
now being cut away. 
Some LGBT folx in the armed forces display symbols of LGBT pride on their uniforms, with official approval, whereas in Russia it's a prison-worthy crime for even a civilian to show a rainbow pin or "say gay." A report on Ukraine's current LGBT+ and feminist acceptance revolutions. AnotherAnotherAnother. War changes things.

And in December 2022, Russia made it a crime not just to speak for LGBT recognition, but to speak for "non-traditional sexual relations." Until last year Russia had a polyamory education and awareness movement.

Polyfolks are like one ten-thousandth of what's at stake globally. Ukraine must have our continued material aid for however long as it takes to win. Speak up for it.

A Russian writer grieves: "My country has fallen out of time."

Ukrainian women soldiers in dense undergrowth
Women fighters in a trench in the Donetsk region

PPS:  US authoritarians (such as Sen. Ted Cruz) are saying that allowing women in front-line roles is a woke plot to weaken America's armed forces. Ukraine puts that shit to bed. Do you have a relative who talks like that? Send them this video link to Vidma, who commands a mortar platoon, recounting one of their battles in Bakhmut – the Verdun of this war.


 Don't miss Polyamory in the News!


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