Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

March 1, 2024

How 'Couple to Throuple' ended: our poly education job is cut out for us. More poly in the media. And our place in the wider world.

Peacock's Couple to Throuple reality show has aired its final reveals and is over. The reactions from the polyamory world to the 10-hour series are... strong. There are lessons.

By Frankie De La Cretaz

...Now, look—I’m not under the delusion that all representation must be good. Straight, monogamous people have been messy as hell on reality dating shows for decades. ... At the same time, I can’t help but wonder, as Carrie Bradshaw may have on Sex and The City, is bad representation better than no representation? In trying to make predominantly queer culture legible to cishet audiences, are we doing more harm than good? ... I fear that the answer is “no” to the former and “yes” to the latter, and that this portrayal of polyamory reinforces some of the worst stereotypes about the lifestyle and the people who participate in it.

To be specific: established couples forming forced, unbalanced unicorn setups. 

...The contestants on Couple to Throuple are part of the current wave of exploration of non-traditional relationships that’s dominating mainstream culture. ... Non-monogamous content creators and influencers—as well as some of the singles who appeared on the show—have roundly criticized the format of Couple to Throuple for several things, including throwing inexperienced couples headfirst into what is notoriously the hardest relationship dynamic; not providing enough tools for the couples new to navigating non-monogamy; prioritizing the couples’ experiences and desires over the singles'; and not allowing the singles to have fully fleshed-out narratives or needs.

...But here’s the thing: This is the only kind of show about non-monogamy that could have been made for a mainstream audience. That’s because mainstream culture, while coming around to the idea of open relationships, still sees opening up a relationship as OK, as long as it’s in service of a primary (ideally straight) dyad. ... deprioritizing and therefore dehumanizing their other partners.

When one of the singles on the show, Sanu, voices that she feels “dehumanized” to her couple, Sean and Brittne, they respond with anger. This experience is one they are hoping will strengthen their own relationship; they don't consider what Sanu is hoping her experience will be. 

Similarly, single Mia tells her couple, Dylan and Lauren, that she feels “objectified” and like the two of them are just looking for a threesome rather than trying to build an emotional connection with her—something another single the couple matched with earlier in the series had said as well. Dylan and Lauren are deeply offended and tell the camera that they need to focus on what’s best for them as a couple, first and foremost.

Yet another single, Becca, says that she feels like “option C” for Maximo and Ash, and neither does anything to reassure her or tell her that she’s wrong.

Ash, Bella, Maximo

What we are witnessing is “couple privilege,” the prioritizing of an established couple, in real time. The show does nothing to help the couples (or the audience) learn about or unpack that dynamic. Couple privilege is “the idea that the established couple is the dynamic most important to preserve, often to the detriment of anyone else involved,” explains [relationship coach Melissa A.] Fabello. “This is exactly what feels dehumanizing and objectifying: the feeling that the singles are experiments for exploring the couples’ needs. The single, then, has less autonomy and is ultimately valued less than the established couple.” They are disposable once they stop serving the needs of the couple. ...

...Any argument that polyamory deserves the same messy representation as monogamy falls apart, however, when considering how Couple to Throuple could affect real-world practitioners of non-monogamy. ... [It] reinforces the worst preconceptions of polyamory and centers cis, straight couples looking to spice up their relationship. (It’s worth noting that the two queer men who come in as a couple are encouraged to consider adding a woman as their third, but none of the men in the straight couples is asked to consider adding a man as the third in their dyad.) It fails to offer any nuance about what non-monogamy looks like or how it can be tailored to fit individual relationships and the people in them.

Even the show’s representation of triads is skewed, presenting a dynamic in which all three parties always go on dates and engage in sexual activity as a threesome. Fabello notes that, in reality, “most triads most healthily function when each dyad has space for themselves.” ...

...Most damagingly, however, Couple to Throuple fails to allow the “thirds” to be anything other than an addition to an existing partnership. Watching the singles be treated as disposable when they no longer serve the primary couple is not only heartbreaking, but it also sets up viewers in the real world to see this behavior as acceptable. ... (In a piece for Autostraddle, writer Gabe Dunn referred to the therapeutic sessions they participate in as “toddler’s birthday party activities this show wants us to believe count as therapy”). ...

Here's Gabe Dunn's detailed recap of the final episode at Autostraddle: “Couple to Throuple” Never Understood Polyamory (Feb. 29). Bits of it:

...But damn, people are finally getting real on the finale platform. Where were all these straight-faced, grounded conversations in the resort??? Did the thirds really need this time away to suddenly speak their peace? It makes me wonder how the show would have gone if every few days the thirds had to spend a night alone.

B and S immediately step forward, D does not. Sean tells Darrien that they do see her and hopefully, they can give her enough space within the throuple to grow too. Darrien smiles and then runs forward into their arms...

...It all comes down to Rehman and Ashmal. J says now’s the time to tell the boys how he really feels. Is it??? On this platform and not in the days and days you had lounging by a pool?? ...

Throuples Post-Couple to Throuple

Now, an epilogue someone made on iMovie in 30 seconds.

Lauren, Dylan and Jess continued to “flex their throuple” IRL, but broke up because of distance two months after the show ended. (It’s airing almost exactly one year later.)

DSB dated in LA, but career commitments forced them into an amicable end. Sean proposed to Brittne. They’re no longer in touch with Darrien.

Maximo and Ash continue to explore the NYC poly scene. Becca never wants to be a second or third option again.

Corey, Denyse, and Wilder are still a throuple and Denyse is moving to LA soon.

Jonathan, Rehman, and Ashmal were together for three months. Ashmal then broke up with Rehman. (Who wrote this??) Jonathan and Rehman stayed together, but then they also broke up. A and R remain best friends but neither of them talk to Jonathan.

According to social media, a large swath of the singles still hang out. (I bet there was a whole other show happening at wherever they were kept.) Corey and Wilder hang out with Becca. The couples are all largely still in touch with each other. Lauren and Dylan are having a baby. Ashmal and Rehman host watch parties for the show in Chicago. And I’m about to see everyone at the finale wrap party tonight in West Hollywood.

Stay tuned for updates. It seems some of these people are still looking for a third.

Another where are they now, on Yahoo Entertainment (Feb. 29).

●  The show got piles of media attention, some actually with good poly education and representation. The BBC published What Couple to Throuple gets wrong about polyamory, according to the experts (Feb. 23), by a correspondent who has covered the poly world accurately before.

The show is among the first to represent polyamory to a mass audience. Relationship experts say the showrunners could have done better.

By Lexi Inks

...But experts say there is quite a lot that the Peacock original series Couple to Throuple has gotten wrong about polyamory.

...According to sexologist and sex educator Goody Howard, a throuple dynamic, commonly referred to as a triad in polyamorous communities, may not have been the best structure for a TV series to represent ethical non-monogamy. She feels Peacock went with it because of its monogamy-adjacent nature: "It's probably the easiest one for non-poly/monogamous people to understand," she says. But in reality, she explains, "there is no one way to be poly. Throuples often struggle with power dynamics and hierarchies more than some other poly structures."

Another issue experts noticed with Couple to Throuple was the immediacy with which the throuples engaged sexually. ... When the couples arrived on the island, they were greeted with beds made for three people.... Rather than jump into bed with the single they just met, the couples could have been given more time to connect and form trust and emotional intimacy with them.

One way that some polycules – a group of people connected by a network of polyamorous relationships – do this is by choosing a dynamic that fosters mutual respect and trust, such as kitchen table polyamory. ... This dynamic looks like a community or even a chosen family, Stewart says. Everyone has some degree of involvement in each other's lives, and KTP usually encourages an environment of open communication and support....

●  Remember Claire Spellberg Lustig's Couple to Throuple Can't Overcome Its Conservative Format? Maybe even the show's host and its on-camera therapist agree, quietly: 'Couple to Throuple's' Scott Evans and Dr. Shamyra Howard Debunk Polyamory Myths (Collider, Feb. 23):

So they both have a grasp of what poly ought to be in order to work. I guess we can't expect them to call out Peacock's exploitiveness. But they seem at pains to show that they knew better, and I think Howard edges near a confession when she says,

"When you are dealing with specifically throuples, which is one of the hardest dynamics in polyamory... that was the challenging part for everyone involved. As Scott mentioned, we were worried about them all.


●  Even those of us who spot the wrongs of the show may have internalized a wrong message from it: that poly life is inherently hard, stressful, and dramatic. No. Poly poorly done with the wrong people is certainly those things. But it can flow smooth and easy when done intelligently, with a good heart, with the right people.

In Cosmopolitan, Zachary Zane makes this point in his latest "Navigating Non-Monogamy" column: Polyamory Doesn't Have to Be This Complicated (Feb. 29)

...[The] increased visibility is, for the most part, fantastic. It normalizes alternative ways to have meaningful, loving relationships. But one troubling trend that’s come with this increased visibility is the idea that polyamory takes “a lot” of work—that it comes with stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and a need to “live life on hard mode.” ...

Margie Rischiotto

I’m sorry, but no. Life, in general, is hard enough.... The last thing any of us need is for our relationships to be complicated, and polyamory is no exception. What people don’t seem to get is that non-monogamy doesn’t have to be that much more complicated than monogamy. If it were, I wouldn’t have been doing it for this long.

Don’t get me wrong, like in any relationship, polyamory comes with challenges. ... But it does not have to be life on hard mode. And if it is, the relationship dynamic or arrangement you’re in is probably not for you.

Claiming that polyamory is overly difficult is damaging. It discourages people from exploring it because it makes it sound exhausting and normalizes a level of unhealthy complexity that feels like, for lack of a better word, drama.

If a poly relationship still feels unnecessarily hard after a few months of trying to make it work, that probably means you should try something different—again, just like anyone in a monogamous relationship would. And that’s okay! Break up and enter a different polycule or arrangement. Date people who want the same things you do. Find the thing that feels right and easy, because ultimately, that’s how a relationship should feel, no matter the structure. ...

There’s also nothing wrong with just being monogamous. ... It’s easy to be drawn to the scene for reasons unrelated to actually being poly. It’s a more reflective, sex-positive, kinky counterculture. But you can love these elements of poly culture and not actually want your boyfriend to go on dates with other people. You don’t have to be poly to have poly friends, or be sex positive, or practice kink. Admitting it’s just not for you might be the healthiest thing you can do if it doesn’t feel natural, or if the pros just aren’t worth the cons.

●  A timely piece in light of everything the last couple months: My Polyamorous Relationship Isn't a Trend — It's My Life  (Popsugar, Feb. 20)

As long as the world views polyamory as 'the hot new thing,' polyamorous people like me will struggle to have their very real relationships taken seriously.

Aly Lim_abstract triad graphic
Aly Lim

By Abby Moss

I'm in a throuple, and when I tell people about my polyamorous relationship, they often say something like, "Wow, cool," or "Oh, how modern!" And I get it. Polyamory is everywhere right now; it seems to be having a moment. ...

...I've been asked if I'm in a throuple to be edgy or different, or for shock value. And that annoys me. I've been in a committed throuple for five years now. My partner Paul* and I have been together for 13 years. We met the old-fashioned way, in a bar. Then, five years ago, we joined Feeld, a dating app for alternative dating styles, often used by people looking for threesomes and more serious polyamorous setups. At the time, we weren't looking for anything serious, but when we met Andrea* a month before COVID-19 hit, we knew there was a special spark there. ...It felt easy. We just got each other. You know that saying "When you know you know"? Turns out it applies to throuples, too.

Today, my relationship isn't very different from any other "traditional" relationship you might see. My partners and I live together. We go to family events together. We're incredibly lucky in that our families have been wonderfully accepting of our relationship — not everyone is so fortunate. We go on holidays together. We remind each other to feed our cats. We love and support each other. My relationship is not an experiment, and it's not a trend.

Calling something trendy implies that it's going to pass. That it is, as an article in The Atlantic unhelpfully called it, a "fad." But it's not a fad. It's not even new. ...

That said, it's exciting to see polyamory becoming more widely acknowledged. ... Representation matters, and the more polyamory is talked about, hopefully, the more polyamorous people will feel able to live out in the open.

...It seems like some people are trying polyamory on for size right now — which is fine if you're doing it to explore a new relationship style — but simply following a trend probably isn't a great reason. And it certainly wasn't mine. My partners and I are talking about buying a house in the next few years. We might even get a dog. ... The future will see us continuing to support one another in our careers, going on more fabulous adventures around the world, and continuing to grow together as a throuple and as individuals. But as long as the world views polyamory as "the hot new thing," polyamorous people like me will struggle to have their very real relationships taken seriously.

●  Yet another warning sign of what's happening to our bandwagon as it careens downmarket: I’m New To Polyamory — So Why Do I Feel So Judged For Creating Boundaries? (Refinery29 Australia, Feb. 22) 

Three hands reaching for each other, representing non-monogamy
Savanna Ruedy

By Phoebe McIlwraith

I’ve always joked that I’m a serious slow-burn romance girl who was born in the wrong era, but I haven’t let that stop me from the possibilities of casual dating.... I’ve cycled through the main dating apps — Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. However, a new name soon appeared on my radar: Feeld. ...

A pattern began to appear. 

...It quickly seemed like every other young person in the Inner West [suburbs of Sydney] was aligned to some type of non-monogamous dynamic. As a queer person who has been chronically online since the 2010s, [such things] didn’t spook me, but the overwhelming saturation within my age group and geographic space honestly did surprise me.
...However, I’ve begun noticing tension when trying to talk through relationship dynamics and possible boundaries. ...  In a dynamic where I thought it was encouraged to communicate, I was feeling overwhelmingly shut down. ... I started to wonder whether questioning what was happening in the non-monogamous pairings I found myself in would make me a traditionalist, a prude, a conservative or even a “bad queer”.

...[Sex therapist Christine] Rafe ... said what was happening in my relationships was not how ethical non-monogamy is meant to be practised. She says, “The thing that's concerning is that if you're in a non-monogamous community and you are ethically engaging in non-monogamy, consent and boundaries are like number one. If you're speaking to someone who's like, “I'm non-monogamous” and when you talk about boundaries says you’re “being traditionalist” or “being judgemental” etc., those people are not engaging in ethical non-monogamous practices.”

...Rafe advises,

Get really clear about your intention for dating and for exploring non-monogamy. Some people, they feel that they have to explore non-monogamy if there's so many people saying, “Yeah, this is my lifestyle”. [Ask yourself] actually, what do you want from a dating experience or from a relationship? Are you really open to non-monogamy? If so, what type, like what does that look like? Is it monogamish; is it poly? Is it casual sex, or having one predominant partner? We don't want to end up in a situation where we're being coerced into a non-monogamous relationship, with boundaries that we don't necessarily feel comfortable with, because that's what we feel is available to us.

Rafe also cautions people to not feel restricted by all the labels. “Relationship agreements are unique to each relationship.... Have the hard conversations, sit down and make time for open discussions. ...

BTW, a dating trick if you're feeling pressured to go too fast: It's hard to argue with someone who claims an identity, so identify yourself as demisexual (I'm one of them, BTW). That means sex does not work for you if you don't already have a developed bond. We live in a time when identity politics works (for the worst sides too, unfortunately!), so use it. If they respond with an identity of their own, by saying something like "C'mon, I was born with hot hormones, it's who I am" — as someone once argued back to me — they admit their incompatibility right out. Bye!

Warning: Sneaky people do not reveal their incompatibility so directly.

●  The Washington Post has printed a letter from Natalie Davis, a DC-area poly writer, presenter, and discussion-group host, answering that critical opinion piece by a member of the Post's editorial board Is Polyamory the Future?  Davis replies with Polyamory is an ethical relationship approach (Feb. 21)

I was struck by another opinion by a monogamous writer dismissing a valid — and considered — relationship structure. ... Mr. Hamid concluded that the challenges of polyamory “aren’t necessarily good.” I beg to differ, as would the large polyamorous community in the area. Is polyamory “difficult to navigate,” as Mr. Hamid accused? Well, aren’t all relationships? One need only look at the divorce statistics and the number of men and women who admit to cheating to see that nonconsensual non-monogamy has been part of our lives for centuries. Polyamory is ethical non-monogamy. All parties consent to the relationship structure, unlike the wink and nod of affairs and the broken marriages and broken hearts that result from cheating.

I would like to see The Post give voice to someone who has lived polyamory. ... We are living high-functioning lives, working regular jobs, raising children and serving in the PTA. We are your neighbors, co-workers, students, bosses, lawyers and mechanics.

Mr. Hamid asks whether people are really practicing polyamory. Yes, we are. Polyamory is here to stay.

Natalie Davis, Arlington

●  Pop trendiness can make polyamory look like a young people's thing. Let's step away. Here's a story from the opposite end of life, another story that involves Alzheimer's disease. We've seen heartful tales like this a number of times over the years — most famously involving retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, her husband with Alzheimer's, and her new partner who joined them.

The one is just out in the "Modern Love" column of the New York Times Style section: A Family Dinner With My Wife and Girlfriend (Feb. 23)

Brian Rea /  NYT

Learning to love two women at once — one living with Alzheimer’s — is a challenge and a blessing.

By Townsend Davis

Last Thanksgiving I was seated at the head of the dining room table with my family gathered around, enjoying our traditional feast.... My sons, 18 and 20, piled their plates high. ... I held the hand of my love, who was seated next to me with tears in her eyes as she looked across the table at a woman, her contemporary, who was eating with the help of a caregiver.

That woman is my wife, Bridget, aged 59.

Before Alzheimer’s devoured Bridget’s neurons along with her essence, Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday. Now, a decade into the disease, my wife had no idea what Thanksgiving was or who we were. The caregiver had to keep reminding her to stay seated. That evening was also the first time she and my new partner ate at the same table.

None of us could have imagined this scenario until recently. ...


...Eventually, Bridget required round-the-clock care at home. Forced from our bedroom by her incessant agitation, I created a separate space in our home for me to sleep and live in.

“Please go find someone else,” she urged me shortly after her diagnosis.

But I dismissed the idea out of hand. I didn’t want to imagine life without her. ...

Deb, the woman whose hand I was holding at Thanksgiving, was married for 25 years before divorcing in 2018. ... I had met her 14 months earlier on a surf outing in Montauk in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. She had driven to the beach that morning after a mutual friend had suggested we meet, concerned that we both lacked companionship.

The waves were big that day; the ocean cold. ...


...Deb has turned out to be an incredibly capable and understanding partner. She doesn’t question the time I spend with my wife and children. I still care for my wife as before, and I keep my wedding ring on. I am immeasurably happier. I can love two people fully and not feel conflicted.

Deb and I were open about our relationship with our family and friends. There were complications, of course. Deb had two children living with her who were understandably reluctant to accept me until the relationship proved serious. I had a high school senior and my wife at home. But we all adjusted.

My children seemed grateful to have a woman in their lives who understood the advantages of a mattress topper on a college bed. When Deb got in a serious car accident, her sons and I descended on the emergency room, cracking jokes to keep up her spirits and eating takeout hamburgers on the hospital floor. My parents-in-law gave us their blessing, with my wife’s mother saying, “It’s about time.”

I even tried to explain to Bridget that I had found another partner, but I would always care for her at home.

“I think that’s a good idea,” she said, but I’m not sure how much she understood.

At Thanksgiving, holding Deb’s hand, I thought I knew why she was in tears. She had just watched my older son greet his mother by saying, “It’s me, William.”

Bridget did not react at first. She did return his hug, albeit clumsily, after an excruciatingly long pause. I had seen similar scenes dozens of times, and I’d told Deb about them, but she had never witnessed Bridget failing to respond to her own child.


“I know why we can’t be married,” [Deb] said. “And I accept that this is our reality. But it’s still hard in some unnamable way I feel bad even mentioning.”

“I feel as if I am marrying you every day with what we do for each other,” I said.

As usual, without much planning, we had prepared and served the meal — our first Thanksgiving together — at my family home with ease, almost wordlessly. Deb had even taken it upon herself to get the family recipe for the “glop” from my mother-in-law, who could not make it this year because of her own husband’s illness. (“Your father is dying of cancer,” I had tried explaining to Bridget, to no avail.)

It was the same dance Deb and I have been doing since that walk on the beach. “The Beautiful Now” is our shorthand for this dance, a daily affirmation of our commitment to each other in which pain, comfort and joy intertwine. On that night, I saw no reason to do anything but embrace it all.

Here are similar stories that I've noted here, starting with Sandra Day O'Connor's, as well as some others about poly and aging (including this one; scroll down).

And Kathy Labriola's latest book, Polyamorous Elders: Aging in Open Relationships, deserves another plug. Here is Labriola being interviewed about it on the Multiamory podcast.

And OPEN, the Organization for Polyamory and Ethical Non-monogamy, recently finished its excellent, comprehensive End-of-Life Planning Guide for non-monogamous families. It's free online.

●  Lastly, a warning: The right wing is very much paying attention. Writes one of their strategists in UnHerd, Polyamory is the next big culture war issue (Feb. 10)

By John Murawski

The gender question has been a cultural wedge issue for many years now, but there are signs that the media is moving onto a new topic: polyamory.

...With legal recognition increasingly more likely, and with scholarly backing from social science journals and law journals, all that might be required to set off a national culture war would be for an enterprising Republican lawmaker to propose legislation outlawing polyamory. That’s how trans rights exploded on the national stage in 2016 when the Charlotte, North Carolina city council legalised trans access to public accommodations, and the state legislature responded with HB2, the infamous bathroom bill.

A bill to outlaw polyamory would be a non-starter legally (since Lawrence v. Texas), but that would not be the point. The "enterprising Republican lawmaker" would seek to provoke hasty, badly thought-out reactions from our side. Which, if the blunder were foolish enough (and left-liberals are good at that), could enable the right to gin up a national moral panic with vigilante campaigns against polyfolks, as they have successfully done against transfolk. Fascists take pride in their strategic thinking and laugh at their opponents who don't get that. 

So, forewarned is forearmed. If such a provocation trap is laid for us, the poly movement will need to have, and adhere to, a strategy to step around the trap and call it out — such as by pointing to the planning suggested in the piece above — rather than angrily trying to one-up the provoker and rushing into a trap.

See "defund the police," three words that may, by themselves, be why Republicans now control Congress.

Speaking of which. . .


(Look up their phone / email.)

Here, again, is why I've been ending posts to this polyamory news site with Ukraine: 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.

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.

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, weaponizing police abuse, 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.

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.

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 trying to hold onto an open society. 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 20th century.

But the outcome didn't look good for a couple of years then, either. Popular history remembers the 1945 victory over the Nazis and the joyous homecoming. Less remembered are the 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 also stamping hard on the old culture of everyday, petty corruption.  More on that.  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). More than 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 has more women volunteering in combat positions than any other armed force in the world.
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 in Russia or occupied Ukraine, 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 them to win their security, freedom, and future. Speak up for it.

Your congressperson's email and phone. Putin-aligned Republicans are blocking some $60 billion in aid, especially ammunition, that the Ukrainians desperately need in order not to be overwhelmed by Russian advances. Just a handful of other Republicans getting some courage to do what they know is the right thing would be enough.  

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

Ukrainian women soldiers in dense undergrowth
Women defenders 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.

Update February 2024: More than a year later Vidma is still alive, still directing the mortar unit (now in muddy trenches), and posting TikToks. A young girl who looks high-school age has joined themAnother. Their lives, and their promising society, depend on us. 

And maybe our own? Says Maine's independent Senator Angus King (Jan. 31, 2024),

Whenever people write to my office [asking why we are supporting Ukraine,] I answer, 'Google Sudetenland, 1938.' We could have stopped a murderous dictator who was bent on geographic expansion…at a relatively low cost. The result of not doing so was 55 million deaths.


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Blogger John U said...

IMHO, other than being charged with serious crimes, it is better to have bad representation than no representation. As P. T. Barnum famously said, "say anything you like about me, but spell my name right."

People won't be seeing C2T in a vacuum. They'll be seeing the plethora of thoughtful articles, too. I doubt that monogamy is taking a hit from all the bachelor shows.

For any group or practice that is outside the social norms there is an arc that is followed in the arts/media. First there is no representation, then there are smarmy sterotypes, then there the sideckick or subplot phase, then there is work about them, and then work by them. At the end of the process, whatever the name the no one dared to speak a generation or two ago becomes commonplace.

March 01, 2024 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...hey...no need to educate the world...just live and love on your terms...

March 03, 2024 12:22 PM  

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