Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

December 13, 2023

Cambridge, Mass., enacts new anti-discrimination law protecting poly and other chosen families. And other poly in the news.


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Cambridge City Hall

●   Fresh from the legal front: Cambridge, Mass., has passed measures protecting people in chosen families and in other innovative or non-monogamous relationship structures from discrimination on that basis.

This comes eight months after the adjoining city of Somerville did the same. In both cities, the new anti-discrimination laws add family structure and relationship status to the lists of protected categories such as race, religion, creed, national origin, etc.

This is a big deal. A significant fraction of people in polyamorous relationships tell of being fired or passed over for promotion at work because their plural relationships were discovered, or being harassed and discriminated against by landlords.

The Cambridge City Council enacted the new provisions by a vote of 9-0 at its November 20th meeting. The City Council vote last March in Somerville was 11-0.

Here are Cambridge's definitions of the two new protected categories:

6. “Family structure” means a single person, or two persons, or a lawful consensual non-monogamous or lawful consensual multi-partner family structure which may include one or more parents, stepparents or legal guardians of a minor child or children and/or two or more consenting adults in a multi-partner and/or multi-parent family structure, including stepparents, multi-generational and/or other non-nuclear families.

15. “Relationship status” means the actual or perceived involvement or lack thereof of an individual in a lawful, intimate personal relationship or relationships including but not limited to interpersonal relationships between two or more consenting adults that involve romantic physical or emotional intimacy.

Here's the city's full anti-discrimination ordinance as newly amended (see page 22 of 42, "Amend Chapter 2.76"). That word "lawful" was included to prevent possible conflict with state laws against actual multiple marriages, meaning bigamy or polygamy, a potential concern that was raised. No city government wants to enact an expensive legal mess. The "lawful" stipulation convinced the city councilors, and apparently the city attorney's office, that there would be no such conflict.       

Earlier, as you may remember, both Somerville and Cambridge expanded access to domestic partnership to include families of three or more adults. Polyfamilies were just one example of who became eligible; others include multigenerational families, mutually supporting friend groups, and other multiple domestic arrangements where people take responsibility for each other. Such non-poly households may become the majority of those covered by the change, as economic pressures (especially here in the housing-short Boston area) drive ever more people toward cooperative living.    
Most of these developments stem from vigorous work by the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition (PLAC). Following the Cambridge vote, New York attorney Diana Adams, PLAC co-founder and head of the Chosen Family Law Center, said: 

In my advocacy for non-nuclear families since 2007, I've heard countless stories of discrimination, in child custody, employment, housing, & more. I'm honored to be part of drafting & passing this nondiscrimination law, which has power to reduce stigma far beyond Cambridge.

From Brett Chamberlin, director of the Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-monogamy (OPEN) in California: 

We want to recognize and celebrate our friends at the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition who drafted and proposed this legislation, as well as Cambridge City Councilor Quinton Zondervan who sponsored the ordinance. We're thrilled to stand in solidarity with PLAC and join them in celebrating this important accomplishment.

Meanwhile, OPEN is continuing to work with city councilors in Berkeley and Oakland, California, to draft similar protections here on the West Coast, which we hope to see adopted early next year. And in 2024, we'll be rolling out an even wider legislative advocacy initiative to help spread these protections to many more cities across the U.S.

Surprisingly, the news media paid no attention to the Cambridge vote as far as I can tell. Maybe such measures are already old news? 

We'll find out in coming months. Watch this space.


Meanwhile, elsewhere in poly in the media,

●  An opinion piece from a newbie in the UK's iNews: New to polyamory? Here’s what I’ve learned (Dec. 12)

By Rhys Thomas

Earlier this year, I entered my first polyamorous relationship. I wasn’t specifically looking for one; I wasn’t looking for any relationship, not even anything more casual. My partner and I met at work, and we just really really clicked on a night out. ...

I knew they had another partner but that they weren’t monogamous; and so we spoke, and they spoke, and after conversation upon conversation, we figured out the nuance of this relationship of ours. I couldn’t be happier.

I hadn’t thought a whole deal about polyamory in the past. I felt it was unnecessarily criticised; dismissed by traditionalists due to their fears of abandonment, and insecurities over their partners being with other people, more than anything else.

But I also saw stories on social media of people taking advantage of polyamory to warp and hide behind technicalities when they were in fact just being shit and unfaithful people, giving themselves – and polyamory – a bad name.

...But I felt the concept made sense for us. I was confident in how our relationship was forming, so I embraced this curveball from the universe. ...

...I am more comfortable within this partnership than I have been in any other relationship. I feel more able to just exist as myself, without compromising and becoming “a couple” that basically feels like two halves of something; instead of being an entire single entity in my own right.

...We talk about everything, happiness, desires, even fantasies of other people. I think this honesty has unlocked a sense of permanence and freedom that my previous relationships have lacked.

The general security I feel eight months on is still great and unwavering. ... Being in a relationship that is defined by us and not by societal expectations is incredibly liberating. 

●  Here's an example of a standard, perfectly good Poly/ENM 101 for the wider public. It appeared in Willamette Week, the half-century-old alternative newspaper of the Portland, Oregon, area: A Beginner’s Guide to Polyamory (Dec. 6).

Don’t know ENM from swinging? We’re here to help you figure out what form of non-monogamy could be right for you.

By Annette Benedetti

...The city’s dating scene is witnessing a surge in individuals exploring relationships with multiple partners. Folks navigating an ever-shifting dating landscape are pursuing ethical non-monogamy (ENM) and polyamory, which are shedding their reputation as taboo topics that inspire giggles and raised eyebrows.

...WW spoke to life coach Christina Dynamite and professional counselor Andrea Aragon, who specialize in non-monogamous relationships, to help people across Portland find the answer.

Defining Ethical Non-Monogamy...

Signs Non-Monogamy Might Be Right for You...

Considerations Before Embracing Non-Monogamy:

    1. The Authenticity of Your Interest: Make sure that your desire for non-monogamy is self-driven, not influenced by external pressures. “If you are partnered and unhappy, then non-monogamy is not going to fix that or make it better,” Aragon says. “If trying ENM feels like self-abandonment, it probably is.”

    2. Evaluate Your Relationship Aptitude: Assess your interpersonal skills and confidence in managing relationships. Positive indicators include amicable relationships with ex-partners, and the ability to connect with diverse individuals. Successful long-term relationships with friends and family, and job stability indicate effective communication, problem-solving, empathy, patience, open-mindedness and humor....

    3. Assess Your Confidence and Bravery.... Non-monogamy often involves increased rejection and demands an ability to be honest about wants, feelings and boundaries. Creative thinking is crucial as you explore unconventional paths, requiring courage in trial and error. Comfort with discomfort signifies readiness for the non-monogamous journey.

Common Myths About Non-Monogamy...

Tips for Exploring Non-Monogamy in Portland:

    ,,,1. Be Honest About Your Journey: If you’re new to non-monogamy, be honest about your beginner status and take the initiative to educate yourself on the terminology and mindset associated with non-monogamy. Read books and listen to podcasts that can help you understand some of the basic terminology and common mindsets that will help you start to unpack internalized beliefs.

    2. Seek ENM Communities: Portland boasts numerous ENM and poly social communities that welcome newcomers. Connecting with like-minded individuals can provide invaluable support and a sense of normalcy.

    3. Self-Reflection and Goal-Setting: Create a comprehensive list of relationship desires, non-negotiables, and personal goals for self-improvement. These lists can guide your journey and foster clear communication with potential partners.

Why do I keep highlighting these good intros in obscure media? Because they are essential to cementing our ideas and discoveries into widespread knowledge, and making permanent the revelation that multiple and group intimate partnerships can be transformatively great. And, how to do it with the best chance of success.

Because I fear that deep cultural knowledge may be the only kind of knowledge that survives the coming century or two. 

●  Woman's Health UK interviews Leanne Yau, a prominent social-media influencer for good poly practices. ‘I’ve been non-monogamous since I was 17. This is why it works for me’ (Nov. 22) 

‘The more you connect with others, the more you discover about
yourself, which you then share with each other.’

Leanne Yau, 25, lives in Bristol and is the founder of the polyamory education site Poly Philia, a non-monogamy educator and a therapist-in-training. At present, she has three partners – for the past two years, she has been in a relationship with a bisexual man and the pair are in a ‘loose quad’ with a married bisexual couple (‘we have a commitment to all hang out once a week, we hook up sometimes, we're very close, but I wouldn't necessarily say it’s a romantic dynamic’).

She identifies as polyamorous and, like many who choose this less conventional lifestyle, she’s queer. It means that both she and her partners would be free to take on further sexual and/or romantic relationships if they wanted to, with people of any gender.
For more on this theme, including expert insight from psychologists, read WH's full feature on ethical non-monogamy and open relationships
For her, a core benefit to the non-monogamous way of life is keeping those fizzy, float-y feelings of ecstasy that characterise a dizzy new pairing at the surface, twinned with the benefits of a long-term stable commitment.

‘When you're in a long-term relationship, you need to constantly introduce novelty to keep things exciting and maintain a spark. Non-monogamy makes that a lot easier to do, because the more you connect with others, the more you discover about yourself, which you then share with each other.’

...‘I always found that non-monogamy suits me better. I'm extroverted, adventurous and sensation-seeking and I like having people around me who want to embrace change and evolve together, rather than wanting things to stay the same.’

Sex-wise, this might look like discovering new kinks, desires, or positions, which she can then possibly share with other partners. The underpinning philosophy of sharing connection extends far beyond the carnal, though. ‘Because I’m polyamorous, I can explore different versions of myself and bring different parts of myself into different relationships.’...


●  A bubbly article that may send you down rabbit holes: Poly TikTok Is Basically Reality TV, But Better (Elite Daily, Nov. 30). "Welcome to the most underrated corner of the internet."

PolyToks have had 1.1 billion views. Browse thousands of quick video peeks into (mostly) young people's poly lives as practiced today. Warning, these are addictive as flying hell.

By Sara Youngblood Gregory

...Excluding my brief, very deep obsession with Married at First Sight, I don’t watch a lot of reality dating shows. Mostly because I’ve found something much, much better: poly TikTok.

PolyTok is a rich but underloved corner of TikTok where polyamorous people share their lives, discuss their relationships, and draw back the curtain more or less on what it’s actually like to be non-monogamous. It’s pretty much everything you’d ever want from reality TV: a mix of winky, scandalous situations and the intimacy of sharing moments in real-life relationships. You can find people to root for, couples to hate-watch, and see how others navigate love and conflict with multiple people IRL — except you don’t have to wait for Netflix to drop a new season to enjoy these bite-sized posts.

...Bigger creators like @Janiecfrank and @sinnabunny make vlogs about normal life in a polycule and managing date nights in a throuple. In her most viral post, Janie Frank gives viewers a tour of the little things in a polyamorous household that “just make sense.” In the somewhat cluttered kitchen, she shows off a set of glossy, ceramic initial mugs, one for each partner. “There’s three of us, and you can never find a his and hers and hers thing,” Frank explains.

Then the video cuts to three matching cat carriers nestled on the floor (“The only thing we get jealous over is who is getting more cat attention”) before Frank takes a sweeping tour through two bedrooms and three closets. The camera is shaky and the house feels lived-in, like your long-distance friend giving you a house tour on FaceTime, except this is a video with 1.2 million likes.

...Says fellow PolyTok fan Hayley Folk, a 28-year-old writer in New York City. “It feels like a guilty pleasure or indulgence to watch what other people do, how they handle common ENM struggles, and how they engage with their partners.”

Yaz, who runs the account @2queers1closet, often posts the kind of down-to-earth advice Folk looks for. In one video, Yaz sits with their partner, Pat, as they discuss the pros and cons of polyamory (hint: it’s a lot of work). Yaz says, “Another con? Having to almost constantly be sitting with big emotions.” Both partners laugh in recognition. 

...PolyTok seems so much less edited, like the 'real' in 'reality show' is actually there.

...On platforms like Instagram there’s often a strong emphasis on gaining practical skills: You can learn concepts related to non-monogamy, sex education, and sex positivity, and find new frameworks to help improve or deepen your own relationships. You’ll still find a lot of that educational vibe on TikTok, too, with accounts like @polyphiliablog@polyamarla, and @bygabriellesmith[I'll also add @Polyamfam]

...You probably won’t be 100% convinced that every throuple or polycule is for real — I’m definitely not — but it’s fascinating to watch anyway.

For a good place to start, both Folk and Mikulis say @OpenlyCommitted is their fave corner of PolyTok. The account’s creator feels like your cool older sister as she talks about boundaries, jealousy, and communication, all while getting ready for date night. ... Also @chillpolyamory, an account that shares practical advice on dating, sex, and breakups. “I love her honest, fun takes on polyamory after being in it for 11 years.”...

Sara Youngblood Gregory is author of The Polyamory Workbook.

● New book: A Polyamory Devotional: 365 Daily Reflections for the Consensually Nonmonogamous. From the publisher's description:

Relationship coach Evita “Lavitaloca” Sawyers streamlines the vast abstractions of “working on yourself” into a guided tour of rigorous self-reflection. Building upon her wealth of experience in fostering the journey from monogamy to nonmonogamy, Sawyers invites you to ask yourself the big questions. Can compersion and jealousy coexist? How do we hold space for hurt we didn’t cause? What if I don’t like my metamour?  

Through 365 daily prompts, you are encouraged to develop the tools of emotional diligence that will serve you for a lifetime. For those eager to love authentically but overwhelmed by the emotional process of polyamory, this is your reminder that you don’t have to do it alone.

A traditional devotional is a book of daily prayers or meditations for the year. Sawyer's wise meditations often fill nearly a page. Each is illustrated by Tikva Wolf of Kimchi Cuddles fame. For samples, click the "Look Inside" button on the book's Amazon page.  

●  The UK's Evening Standard, a conservative paper, runs an article by CNM book author Lucy Fry: Like The Couple Next Door, my wife and I tried polyamory — here’s what it taught me about love (Dec. 4). 

The title's throwaway reference to "The Couple Next Door" refers to a conventional cheating-secrecy-violence TV drama on the UK's racy Channel 4. (Official blurb: "A young couple move to an upscale neighbourhood to start a family but soon finds themselves entangled in a complex web of desire and betrayal with their new neighbours.")

Fry is author the CNM book Love and Choice: A Radical Approach to Sex and Relationships (2022). She is now taking a breather into the relative calm of monogamy but says she might go back. She surely didn't write that headline.

Lucy Fry

Six years ago, my wife and I decided to open up our relationship.

...We hoped that by allowing one another the chance to have our needs met elsewhere, we might ease some resentment and create more breathing space at home. Under these new rules, infidelity no longer meant having extramarital affairs, but lying about them.

Things evolved naturally. What began as “monogamish” (a term coined by writer and podcaster Dan Savage to mean mostly-monogamous-but-sometimes-not) evolved into polyamory (enjoying more than one romantic relationship simultaneously with the consent of all parties). It was an exciting journey and, at points, extremely difficult.

There was jealousy, insecurity and anxiety to navigate —  but there was something erotic about it, too. I explicitly recall my mixed feelings kissing my wife goodbye as she went off dressed in a sexy outfit for a first date with a new intrigue.

On one hand I was happy; she looked beautiful and felt giddy — it reminded me of when we first met. On the other hand, I felt angry and abandoned, left at home to wonder what she would get up to and with whom. Would she come back to me as promised? Or might she get carried away and stay out, leaving me to wake alone the next morning?

It was much easier when we were both on the same page, exploring together on the same night, so that nobody was left at home. Yet life isn’t always like this: sometimes one person is in an adventurous phase whilst another is recovering from work burnout and hasn’t the energy to go and date. ...

...We faced external challenges too when disentangling ourselves from our social conditioning, having grown up (as most of us do) with a supposed relationship ‘blueprint’: the idea that there is a gold standard around relationships – heterosexual, monogamous and between two people only – and that to do anything other than that is to be ill-fitting.


I realised quickly that this was nothing like the first time I came out as gay back in my mid twenties. Back then, most people around me were supportive and just wanted me to be happy. This time, it seemed my friends and family were far less tolerant.

Now that my wife and I were not simply opting for a same-sex relationship but deviating from a more widespread and supposedly entrenched norm in our society (monogamy), there were clear social consequences.

I was surprised and hurt by the harsh judgement we received from some of those closest to us. Some people were subtle, showing their disapproval by staying silent when I tried to speak about the highs and lows of being ‘open’. I didn’t receive sympathy or offers of support, as I might have done if I was speaking about more traditional marriage troubles.

Others were more explicit, with one loved one telling me that my wife and I would “totally screw up” our four-year-old son by having other lovers. Despite all this, I have no regrets. Since opening up my marriage, I believe I am a better lover, partner and friend than I ever was when I was monogamous.

I am a clearer and less defensive communicator. I am less judgemental and more empathic. I am quicker to adapt to change and less frightened of it. I am less dependent on others to provide me with a sense of security and better able to provide it for myself.

From the people I interviewed for my new book, Love and Choice – A Radical Approach to Sex and Relationships, I have gleaned that no one size fits all and that there are many ways to skin the proverbial relationship cat. ...

Perhaps the most important lessons I learnt from the consciously non-monogamous community were around communication. Negotiating time and space with different lovers requires you to upskill – and fast. I learnt that we can all communicate both constructively and destructively and that, whilst the former builds interpersonal bridges, the latter can blow them up. Destructive communication can include ignoring, shouting or passive aggression. Constructive communication means being able to have difficult conversations. It means being able to express oneself – our hurt feelings, perhaps – without the need to accuse and blame. For example, I’ve stopped expecting those close to me to read my mind, and instead try to explain my mind to them.

The polyamorous community has also taught me practical tips for managing successful relationships. Cody, Janie and Maggie are a happy ‘throuple’ (three-person relationship) in their thirties. They have been together for five years and credit this with their Sunday afternoon ‘relationship meeting’ where joys and grievances are aired. In this meeting, they can stop resentments in their tracks and deal with problems as they arise, leaving the rest of the week for romantic pursuits instead of arguing. Why shouldn’t we plan and care for the upkeep of our relationships as we might our beautiful home? I wondered. Why shouldn’t we check in, with a monthly or bi-annual appraisal?

I returned to monogamy recently. After years of exhilaration, drama and bliss, I wanted to pause, rest, think and explore the deep intimacy that can be created with just one partner (at a time). Experiencing conscious non-monogamy changes a person, and not just sexually. I needed time to process that without adding more complex experiences to the mix. This is nothing like the unconscious monogamy of my past however, since it is a very individual, conscious choice made in full knowledge that there are other viable, ethical options – options I suspect I will pursue in future.

Then come three short sections of her distilled advice:

How to embrace choice in your relationships:

Explore your thoughts — and don’t self-censor

Never censor your own thoughts: they are messengers from within and you don’t have to act on them unless you want to and are ready. ...

Think about – and challenge – the sex and relationship ‘blueprint’ you grew up with

What were the rules your parents, and society, taught you about what loving relationships should look like? ... What are your current beliefs around sex, particularly around what you are or are not allowed to think/do/seek/want/reject/ explore?

This might include a long, wordy description or it could be a few lines, a diagram or a sketch. If you have an inkling as to where these beliefs originated, write that down too.

Make a list of ‘shoulds’. Then change them all to ‘coulds’

Take a piece of paper and write everything you think relationships should be, involve or avoid. This might include things like ‘relationships should be monogamous’ or ‘partners should live together’.

Address areas like desire and sex explicitly. ... And what emotions should you be feeling towards a partner? Is it ok to feel angry? It is all right to ask for space?

Write down everything you feel you or your partner(s) should be doing, thinking or feeling in a relationship/ Then look at it and wonder: can I replace the ‘should’ with ‘could’? What would I choose, if I felt able to?

The article was reprinted in New Zealand's 1News and elsewhere, without the derogatory headline reference to "The Couple Next Door". 

●  A book I missed at the time: Polyamory, Monogamy, and American Dreams: The Stories We Tell about Poly Lives and the Cultural Production of Inequality (2019) by Mimi Schippers, a sociologist at Tulane and a poly scholar/activist since the movement was small. It's from the academic publisher Routledge and is aimed at the the queer- and gender-studies world. From the publisher's description:

This book introduces "the poly gaze" as a cultural tool to examine how representations of polyamory and poly lives reflect or challenge cultural hegemonies of race, class, gender, and nation.

What role does monogamy play in American Identity, the American dream, and U.S. exceptionalism?... How might the introduction of polyamory or consensually non-monogamous relationships in the stories we tell about intimacy confound, disrupt or shift the meaning of what constitutes a good, American life? These are the questions that Mimi Schippers focuses on in this original and engaging study. As she develops the poly gaze, Schippers argues for a sociologically informed and cultivated lens with which anyone, regardless of their experiences with polyamory or consensual non-monogamy, can read culture, media images, and texts against hegemony. 

Today, says Schippers on her website,

My current research focuses on the affective and emotional dimensions of consensual non-monogamies and polyamory and how they differ from the affective and emotional dimensions of monogamy. I am currently working on my next book, Feeling Poly: The Affective Dimensions of Polyamory, which examines past and contemporary planned communities that value polyamory and consensual non-monogamy, historical figures who embraced non-monogamy as a political choice, and science fiction texts that feature polyamorous or polyqueer kinship formation as a strategy for survival and/or fighting oppression.

●  Another happy-poly piece in the British tabloids, scooped up from the flow: 'I'm in four-way relationship with my neighbours – people judge but we're in love' (Nov. 20). But this one has a twist. The Daily Star admits in a footnote, "This article was crafted with the help of an AI tool, which speeds up Daily Star's editorial research. An editor reviewed this content before it was published."

Can you tell? I couldn't! But maybe that's because all the tabloids' happy-poly profiles sound alike, so AI can copy the formula smoothly. Get used to watching for telltale signs everywhere, because this is the future.

At least the four people are real. I googled them. They live in California.

Abbie Lill has been dating Elijah for five years – but after meeting their neighbours, Emily and J, she started a polyamorous relationship that's been 'getting better every day'

From left: J, Emily, Abbie, Elijah. (Jam Press/@glitteringfiesta)

A polyamorous woman opened up about her unique four-way relationship, claiming she couldn't be happier despite what others might think of their unusual romance.

Abbie Lill, from Los Angeles, has been dating her boyfriend Elijah, 38, for five years but he isn't her only partner. The 28-year-old has also been dating her girlfriend Emily, 39, for two years and her husband J is Abbie's metamour — which means your partner's partner in the world of non-monogamy.

..."We set a standard from the very beginning that anything and everything is fine, as long as we talk about things together first," Abbie said. She added: "We decided that if we wanted to see other people, we would both be open to it as long as everything was on the table and there was no deception involved."

The couple's dynamic eventually changed – when two years into their relationship they moved into their first home – and met their new neighbours, Emily and J. ...


...Abbie added: "I didn't know a relationship could feel so secure. When Emily and I were first starting our relationship, I was surprised to feel like my love for Elijah was growing at the same time as my love for Emily.

"I've really learned deep in my soul how possible it is to love two people at once."

Abbie revealed her relationship with Emily's husband is purely platonic. She said: "Me and J get along so well. We also communicate well and that is so, so important to me. These people are my family." ... 

...She said: "My dream is to buy a house between all four of us with at least three bedrooms, giving each couple a room. That is the loose plan for the future, but who knows where life will take us." 

●  Noted: My Spouse Became Polyamorous... And Didn’t Tell Me writes a woman to an advice columnist at Scary Mommy. Who replies right off, "What she’s practicing when she keeps secrets and hides information from you is not polyamory — it’s anti-amory."

Good to see that more and more people in the world get this.


And still...

“History is coming at us fast right now.
 The geopolitical snow globe has been well and truly shaken.”
– Dominic Nichols, UK

Here, again, is why I end most posts to this polyamory news site with Ukraine: I've seen many progressive movements die out, or be killed off, 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 their worldview, we expose its incompleteness.

Late night in Kiev on a piece of good news
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 between them.

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, abusive police power, or eventually, artillery.

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

You can donate to Ukraine relief through this updated list of vetted organizations (Nov. 2023) or elsewhere. We're giving to a big one, Razom, and to a little informal 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, this is the most consequential war of our lifetime. 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. The whole world is watching what we will do about it.

Background: The United States has a much higher stake in Russia's war on Ukraine than most people think. "As Americans consider the costs of continuing to help Ukraine fight the Russians in the coming years, they deserve a careful consideration of the costs of allowing Russia to win."

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. 

Need a little help bucking up? Take perspective. Play thisAnother version. More? Some people on the eastern front helping to hold onto an open society, a shrinking thing in the world. Maybe your granddad did the same 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 20th century.

But the outcome didn't look good for a couple of years there, either. Popular history remembers the 1945 victory over the Nazis and the joyous homecoming. Less remembered are the many defeats and grim outlook from 1941 through early 1943.

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. And they're now stamping hard on the old culture of petty, everyday corruption as well.  More.  More; "Ukraine shows that real development happens when people believe they have an ownership stake in their own societies."

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 been 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; in the last generation the ideal of modern European civil society has become widely treasured, and social progressivism has room to thrive. The status of women is fast advancing, especially post-invasion (pre-invasion article). A reported 43,000 women volunteer in the armed forces, flooding traditionally male bastions — including as combat officers, artillery gunners, tankers, battlefield medics, and snipers. (Intimidating video: "Thus the Witch has Spoken".)
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 LGBT+ and feminist acceptance revolutionsAnotherAnotherAnother. 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." Pre-invasion, Russia had a visible polyamory education and awareness movement.

Polyfolks are like one ten-thousandth of what's at stake globally. Ukraine must have our full material backing for as long as it takes to succeed. 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 the story of one of their battles near Bakhmut – a Verdun of this war.


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