Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan



September 17, 2014

Eve and Franklin's response to "Jealous of What?"


Salon / Peopleimages via iStock
Remember "Jealous of What? Solving polyamory’s jealousy problem" in Salon a couple months ago? A social-science researcher in a successful, long-term MFM triad argued that we need to shed the "individualism" of mainstream culture for poly to be secure and jealousy-free. It was controversial — a lot of people criticized her for an attitude of superiority and the howler that jealousy came into the human condition only with capitalism. I noted that Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert were preparing a response article for Salon and we could "expect a humdinger." Individual autonomy is at the core of their book More Than Two.

Now Eve just wrote, "So, Salon sat on our response for two months before we finally pulled it from their consideration and ran it on our own blog. You can read it here.

Excerpts:


Emotional outsourcing: Why structural approaches to jealousy management fail

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?
—Proverbs 27:4


Elizabeth Stern has hit the polyamory jackpot. She has two loving, secure partners who are highly compatible not just with her, but with each other. The two loves of her life like each other, share interests, and are actively supportive of each other’s relationship with her. And none of the trio has ever felt jealous.

...Like someone who’s never suffered depression giving advice to someone who has, or someone who’s never encountered economic hardship critiquing the moral shortcomings of the poor, Stern looks to her own happiness and tries to decide what she’s doing right and others are doing wrong — because obviously, if everyone else would just do what she’s doing, they’d be as happy as she is. Like many people with unchecked privilege, she scoffs at those who must actually work at the things that come to her naturally....

...Jealousy is often the fear of being replaced. It starts in us so young because it is, arguably, the first and purest expression of the ego. We cannot outsource the taming of our own egos; we cannot export the job of facing our own insecurity. Jealousy is not a one-size-fits-all problem, so a mass-produced, one-size-fits-all solution won’t succeed.

Stern’s conclusions about the roots of jealousy are naive, because she believes that since she and her partners have never experienced jealousy, it means they never will. They’re arrogant, because she believes that her single four-year polyfidelitous relationship with two men can serve as a model for all poly relationships.

But her assertions are also dangerous... because often people feel jealous when no one is doing anything wrong. Treating jealousy as a purely social issue (and we’ve seen it done) can lead to an endless circle of judgment, recrimination and accusation. It’s the ultimate in outsourcing: the outsourcing of emotional responsibility. True jealousy management involves listening to the jealousy to find out what it’s trying to tell you, and communicating with your partners (and metamours) to discover whether there is truth behind your fears — and if not, to get the reassurance you need....

But Stern’s conclusion is dangerous for another, more insidious reason....


Read their whole piece (Sept. 16, 2014).

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September 16, 2014

Brazilian baby registered with three parents

BBC Latin America

Remember the judge in Brazil who granted a three-person certificate of civil union two years ago? Now a different judge has registered a baby to three parents:


Brazilian baby registered with three parents

For the first time in Brazil, a judge in southern Rio Grande do Sul state has permitted a baby to be registered with two mothers and a father.

The judge said the baby's biological parents and the mother's female partner had requested the baby's birth certificate be changed.

The women married two months ago and the father was a male friend.

The judge, Rafael Pagnon Cunha, said his decision would open up legal precedents all over Brazil.

The two women had been in a four-year relationship before the birth and had asked their male friend to help them have a child.

He had agreed, but had asked in return to be recognised as the father of the baby girl, who was born on 27 August.

Judge Cunha said that all three parents had been involved during the pregnancy in the preparations for the arrival of the child.

"Being a father and a mother is above all about taking care and fulfilling tasks. I feel sure that for this child the possibility of happiness will be very great," the judge said.

The baby's birth certificate bears the name of two mothers, a father and six grandparents.


Original article (Sept. 13, 2014).

It's unclear whether they're a poly family or, as often happens, the male friend of the two married women (Brazil recognized same-sex marriage in 2013) merely served as the sperm donor and pledges to help them raise the child. Sounds like a family either way.

That previous story from Brazil blew up worldwide because of the BBC, and now this one is going around the world too.

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September 15, 2014

"When your boyfriend loses his lover"

Salon

Passionate poly writer Louisa Leontiades got a piece published in Salon yesterday. It's her first appearance there.


When your boyfriend loses his lover

We've been in an open relationship for years now. But some things aren't taught in the polyamory manuals.

I sit with him. His head is bowed, and he looks tired and sad. If tears could leak out of his eyes, they would. But my boyfriend has been trained not to cry, although I’m not privy to what he does when he’s alone, listening to his favorite love songs. It’s heartbreaking when someone who is so optimistic, so full of boundless positivity and who brings such joy to lives through his music is in a pit of numbed nothingness. But it’s not my heartbreak I’m concerned with, it’s his.

In an open relationship, you have experiences that are a rarity in other people’s lives. You welcome jealousy as a teacher. You challenge what a relationship really means.... But there are some situations the polyamorous literature rarely covers. What to do when your boyfriend is grieving the loss of his lover?

Of course, I’m projecting about his heartbreak, as I always do. He’s a “coper,” one of the reasons I love him. When we met, I told him about my baggage, and he said, “Don’t worry, darling, I can handle heavy.”...

...He speaks of her. Of memories. Of what ifs. Of his confusion. I try my best not to think guiltily about my own lover, my other significant other, sleeping in the bedroom. This heartbreak is his alone.

But I miss her, too. We are still friends, supposedly. And yet everything has changed. She’s not coming over every other day. Her laughter doesn’t sound in the kitchen anymore....


Read on (Sept. 14, 2014).

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September 13, 2014

"A Counselor's First Experience Working with a Poly Family"



A therapist writes about a professional-growth experience, at the website of the (mostly kink-oriented) National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. Excerpts:


Guest blog: A Counselor's First Experience Working with a Poly Family

By Eric Jett, NCC, LPC

...During the first intake, we had gone over the typical counseling questions and discussed the importance of family counseling that we [would] start after a couple of individual sessions between me and their son. Mom and Dad were extremely cordial about the process, extremely concerned about their son, and you could see their investment in helping him grow and survive this situation; yet something was still off. There was something mom and dad were holding back....

...The parents asked me was what I was required to report to the state about child abuse.... My direct approach was to ask “Do you believe your son has been physical, sexually, or emotionally abused in some way?” The mom and dad instantly went to denying any occurrence of abuse, and I admittedly told them I was a little confused about their concern on the child abuse reporting laws for our state.

Dads’ response was, “We are polyamorous.”... For the remainder of the hour, we talked about their amazing family which included six adults, who their son and other 3 children got to refer to as parents. Mom and dad’s greatest fear was that as a professional, this would be reportable....

[In] our next family session all 6 adults attended, and it became very apparent to me as a counselor the opportunities we had to work really as an amazing support structure for this teen and help him through this difficult time of his life.

This [was] my beginning experience working with poly families, which I have continued over the past several years.... However as a counselor it was an important learning experience to remind me of the fear and concern which can often be with individuals because of societal expectations.... This family had lived as a family unit, with their ups and downs like every relationship, for over 20 years before stepping into my office.

...I worked with the family for over a year and during that course of time they educated me on not only their family but resources, books, articles, and even polyamorous meetups in the area with other families and individuals interested in relationships.

...I have been pleased and amazed to be able to present this particular client case to colleagues [who are] in the beginning struggle with the idea of working with a poly family, and often I see skewed views of what this means for the family and children. However, after we talk about and demonstrate the work we were able to do in family therapy and how the family having multiple parents actually strengthened my work with the teen, colleagues often leave with a changed view....


See his whole article (Aug. 30, 2014).

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● Remember, if you need to educate a therapist about poly (on their time, not yours), you can point them to the NCSF's 36-page booklet What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory.

● Here's a one-page version at GoodTherapy.org (last updated May 2014).

● If you're looking for a poly-aware therapist or coach, one place you can start is at Tristan Taormino's Open List, organized by state and internationally, on the website of her book Opening Up. It also links to other lists. If you're a professional who should be on this list, it tells at the bottom how to get on.

● Check the NCSF's famous Kink-Aware Professionals (KAP) directory, which also includes doctors, lawyers, and others.

● And the long-running Poly Friendly Professionals directory at polychromatic.com is finally back up again (after being down due to a corrupted data file).

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On the subject of therapists, last February the Washington Blade (“the newspaper of record for the LGBT community”) interviewed Tamara Pincus, a DC bi and poly awareness activist and community organizer:


Queery: Tamara Pincus


By Joey DiGuglielmo

Tamara Pincus has been out as bi since she was a teen. It took her many more years, though, to embrace her polyamorous side.

She and husband Eric have been married 11 years but she’s also had relationships with women. She also has a partner named James she’s been with two years. Eric has another partner as well.

Pincus, 37, was born in Seattle but grew up in Massachusetts and New York. She’s in private practice as a psychotherapist and sex therapist (tamarapincus.com) and also leads a monthly poly discussion group at the D.C. Center. It usually meets on the third Thursday of each month....

She says the LGBT movement should be open to less “heteronormativity.”

“I understand why the gay marriage movement has tried to make it look like we’re all just like you with two very normal looking white men with this happy little family, but we also need to be accepting of people who are different too,” she says. “You silence a lot of voices when you say, ‘We’re all just like you.’”

Pincus has two sons, ages 5 and 7 and lives in Alexandria. She enjoys board games and spending time with her family in her free time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

I came out as bi at 16 and as poly three years ago. The hardest people to tell were definitely parents of my kids’ friends, one of whom ran into my husband when he was on a date with someone else. It hasn’t really been hard to tell people I’m bi....


And from there it turns unserious. Read the whole article (Feb. 26, 2014).

Here's an earlier, less frivolous interview with Pincus at HuffPost Women:


The Polyamorist On The Couch: Q&A With Tamara Pincus On What Therapists Should Know About Big Love

...Currently, there is not a lot out there for social workers about polyamory. A lot of them have never heard of it or think that it only happens when a couple is not doing well but not ready to break up. They don't understand the concept of poly identity and why people choose polyamory aside from a desire to have sex with more than one person.

This can lead to marginalization. A lot of poly clients in therapy don't come out to their therapists which means they don't work on a lot of the issues that come up. Also often when they do come out they feel judged by their therapists or misunderstood.

Often even the most well-meaning therapists will not understand polyamory so clients will end up spending their time educating their therapists which is not a service they should necessarily have to pay for....


The whole interview (Dec. 12, 2013).

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September 8, 2014

"Consensual non-monogamy a way of life for Edmonton polyamorists"

Edmonton Journal (Canada)

This nice little profile, in a leading newspaper of Canada's conservative prairie provinces, describes the local poly community. The story is currently the most-read item on the paper's website. The public comments so far are mostly polite and worth reading, and our representatives are doing a fine job.


Consensual non-monogamy a way of life for Edmonton polyamorists

Alyson Sildra, of Polyamory Edmonton
Alyson Sildra, founder of Polyamory Edmonton. (Photo: John Lucas, Edmonton Journal)

By Fiona Buchanan

An unusual Edmonton group is seeking to raise awareness about their unique formula for blissful romance. Polyamory Edmonton is a group of people that practise consensual, non-monogamous relationships. They are in the process of becoming a non-profit organization and want to educate Edmontonians about their unconventional take on romantic partnerships.

Founder Alyson Sidra, who is married and dating outside that relationship, gives a crash course on polyamory and explains why it can be a recipe for relationship success.

What is polyamory?

If someone identifies as polyamorous, they are open to having more than one romantic partner with the openness, consent and honesty of everyone involved. There wouldn’t be any cheating or anything secretive. Everyone knows who the other is dating or involved with.

...Polyamorous relationships must be tough to manage with so many people involved. Is it tricky?

It can be. We jokingly say that poly people can be very adept at scheduling. Other than that, most poly relationships have very similar issues to monogamous ones, just with more than one person.

Some people might say that romantic love doesn’t work when it is not exclusively between two people. How do you view it?

In my marriage, it felt comfortable for us to open up to love and to date other people without it feeling at all threatening or making our own relationship insecure. In fact, in a lot of ways, it tended to make it stronger. There’s a lot of communication involved.

You are not born with a certain amount of it and it definitely doesn’t get depleted the more people you have in your life. People view romantic love as something very different, but the love that you have for family and friends and children, it multiplies. For polyamorous people, so does romantic love. I think most poly people would agree that their capacity for love is just part of who they are....


Read on (Sept. 7, 2014), and leave a comment.

The story was reprinted the next day in Canada's National Post, under the headline Edmonton polyamory group seeking non-profit status, wants to extol the benefits of multiple romantic partners.

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September 6, 2014

Dedeker Winston, the poly character on Fox's "Utopia" reality series


The initial cast of Fox's Utopia

Heads up; the thing we feared would happen is gonna happen, starting tomorrow (Sunday Sept. 7) at 8 p.m. Eastern. But it could be interesting, because it turns out we have a would-be heroine in the fight. Can she outsmart the fight being rigged?

Earlier this summer, casting directors for a new Fox reality show came poking around the polywebs looking for someone to fill a precisely defined role. Wrote one:


I'm casting a documentary series on a major TV network that will air in the fall featuring 15 Americans from all different walks of life coming together to form a new society. They are still looking for the last cast member and this is who they would like:

1. A single woman in her 20s who is polyamorous.

2. They would like a woman who can break down the negative stereotypes about women and polyamory (for example: "a man who sleep with many is a stud, a woman is considered a slut").

3. There is compensation for being on the show.

4. This is a major network show with a lot of credibility and they are looking for the right person to fit this description, not an actress.


Another casting agent working the same assignment wrote,


Fox is specifically interested in a woman who strongly believes in plural marriage or celestial marriage and wants a platform to help dispel the misconceptions and educate our viewers on it.


In the Polyamory Leadership Network discussion that sprung up, the consensus was that Fox was designing Utopia to turn into Lord of the Flies — the purpose of a reality show is drama, not boring harmony — and that the rules of the setup would pit the characters against each other like rats in a shaken cage. Said Sarah Taub of the Network for a New Culture (with long experience building actual intentional community), "It’s hard enough for people with a shared vision and good community skills (communication, boundaries, emotional management skills, curiosity about others, functional group decision-making processes, etc.) to create a successful intentional community. With 15 random people, chosen by the producers for maximum drama … this show should be called “Hell” or “No Exit”, not “Utopia.” "

Dedeker Winston of Fox's UtopiaI floated the idea, only half jokingly, that someone with the right specs could apply for the slot, get accepted, stall signing as long as possible, then drop out just before camera time so the hot-polyamorist role would go unfilled.

Didn't happen. Instead they found Dedeker Winston, at right: a 26-year-old belly dancer and nude model from LA with the looks, body, and camera presence to drive prime-time ratings. But we may have lucked out — she seems to be smart, confident, articulate, and she really gets poly. Her smarts show pretty well in this interview with Cosmopolitan that just appeared (with that photo), but we see her more clearly on her own Multiamory podcast that she and two partners have begun producing, below:

Dedeker Winston and partners in the Multiamory podcast

Episode 1 of their podcast, the only one up so far, is damn good: Five Myths about Polyamory. It's 41 minutes long. Their summary of it:


Dedeker Winston and Multiamory.com website partners
In our very first episode of the Multiamory podcast we decided to compile a list of the five biggest and most common myths that we come across when talking to people about polyamory. In addition to busting these myths we discuss some personal stories about being poly and drop some hints about upcoming episodes.

The 5 myths:

1. Polyamory is just about sex.

2. If you found "the one" you wouldn't need to be polyamorous.

3. Polyamory is a way of avoiding all the hard work of a committed relationship.

4. Polyamory is only for people who don't get jealous.

5. One gender or group has an easier time being polyamorous. (Men, women, singles, couples, etc)

Thanks so much for checking us out. We hope you enjoy it!

Multiamory was created by Dedeker Winston, Emily Matlack, and Jase Lindgren


On their Multiamory site, she says that she is

"a strong advocate for polyamory and progressive thinking. She believes everyone should be able to live proudly and practically in alternative lifestyles, and is a public example and role-model for this way of living. You can see her on Fox's new show Utopia, where she is hoping to spread awareness of polyamory."

Here she tells more about her fit to the role in the show, and about her poly life and poly-awareness goals:



Excerpt:

When I found out what they were looking for — it described me 100% to a T. They wanted someone who was polyamorous, someone who wanted to create a new society, who wanted to be a voice for kind of the next sexual revolution and the next emotional liberation, and that's completely my m.o. I couldn't not contact them, basically, when I saw that.

Here is a clip from a Utopia camera of her lounging in a hammock on the compound with two other cast members and explaining what poly means to her:



Her hashtag is #PolyandProud.

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Fox is telling the public that Utopia is completely unscripted, that the 130 hidden and unhidden cameras merely observe, and that no production crew is onsite at any time.

Well, maybe not really. The show is a copy of the successful Dutch Utopia series that's being run by the same rules in the Netherlands, and I found something interesting. A person who claims to have been in on the Dutch Utopia told how the directors did the cage-rattling:


In the Dutch version, there is a room with a microphone where they can push a button and talk to the people 'behind the scenes', who are not on the terrain themselves. The viewers however don't get to see/hear these conversations. Originally this was [described as being] intended for when the participants really needed help (they can ask for a consult with a psychologist for example). But as the show progressed, it became clear that there was much more 'steering' going on in some situations than they wanted people to believe.

People are often called to this room, for all kinds of reasons (for example when [someone is] trying to cut down a tree that isn't allowed, or discussing things they don't want the viewers to know). Other times people come out of the room and start certain conversations or take certain actions (in order to continue some 'storyline' for example).

Hence it sometimes is unclear whether or not certain actions or ideas or what not are coming from the participants themselves or not. And having a room in which conversations take place that are not recorded/shown does not help that situation.


I hope Dedeker understood what she was walking into, and the rules she will have to work under (including, no doubt, a terrifying nondisclosure contract). When she is called into The Room, I hope she uses all her wits with the cage-shakers and can be strong with her "No." Even if it means getting vanished from the show and perhaps losing her accumulated pay. I admire her drive to represent us well, but it'll take all the smarts and character she can muster.

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Here's the show's official site, including its profile of Dedeker with a video clip. Definitely prime time.

The show is getting heaps of advance publicity this weekend. For instance at Entertainment Weekly: Fox's 'Utopia' cast already naked, weird -- and drawing 1 million views (online views that is).

TV Guide: 6 Reasons Fox's Utopia Could Be Amazing (Or a Total Disaster).

From an article at Cinema Blend:


Fox's New Reality Show Utopia Already Seems Like A Disaster

Fox’s latest reality series, Utopia, hasn’t even premiered yet, but it’s already proven to have a slew of problems. On Tuesday, a 25-year-old contestant going by the name Hex had to be taken to the hospital due to a severe case of dehydration.... The news comes just days after fellow contestant Andrea Cox was kicked off the show due to sneaking in a smartphone and researching the other contestants....

Honestly, Fox has invested a lot in Utopia. Stars have been signed on to the show for 52 weeks of hard living in the wilderness, and casting is ongoing just in case there are cell phone or health issues (also, cast members can totally be kicked off the series). It’s only Day 5 of the drama and it’s looking like Fox might have more problems to navigate than the network may have expected. If you are interested in seeing Utopia turn into a disaster, you can tune in when the show premieres....


A bit of the show's official transcript from Day 8:


8:21 p.m. - Red confronts Amanda because The Utopia State of Freedom (aka Red and Dave) felt cheated that she only returned four bananas to them after they gave her six. She explains that her four large bananas equals the six tiny bananas they had originally given to her. Things escalate. Because of course they do.

8:22 p.m. - Amanda tells Dave [a black ex-con] he has an attitude. As you could imagine, this does not sit well. Dave rants about not caring about “any of y’all n******” in Utopia. Amanda walks away and moves to the main house, where she sighs to Mike, “This is not prison.” Meanwhile, Dave hisses that Amanda’s attitude will get her man hurt one day.


Get out the popcorn for tomorrow night. (It's a 2-hour opener. After that the show continues on Tuesdays and Fridays.)

Dedeker kisses Emily, Jase, and her other boyfriend goodbye as she ships out for a year on the Utopia compound.

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Update Sunday night: Yup, the show was a dramafest. In the first three days in Utopia, we mostly see hotheads and ditzheads, a fight and a drunken near-assault on women, a well-meaning Pentecostal pastor out to convert and baptize everyone, heaps of shouting and, let's say, low emotional intelligence.... and complete cluelessness about managing their situation.

Dedeker had no part in any of the abundant craziness. So, she got practically no camera time in the two hours of the opening show. Except we do see that she is one of the skinny-dipping women.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the show had 4.6 million viewers, which it calls a "decent" kickoff. [later revised to 5.5 million]. Update: The show lost nearly half its audience from Episode 1 to 2, report various TV sites; one notes that the show will be canceled if ratings fall short of requirements. "Watching an adult throw a violent temper-tantrum and smash cans of food because he doesn’t get his way is a waste of the format. Everything about the show is top-notch, from the concept to the execution; only the casting has failed.... The decision to cast people for conflict instead of a genuine interest in forming a new society did turn some viewers off."

Writes Willa Paskin on Slate: "Through the first two episodes, five of the eight men assembled have violent physical outbursts. The female cast members avoid the trap of being portrayed as catty and vicious; as a result, they are granted no personalities at all, just a penchant for swimming naked."

Ratings declined further for Episode 3.

A New York Observer blogger's recap of Episode 1. Of Episode 2. Episode 3.

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