Dec 102012

Four researchers are looking for participants in an online survey for non-monogamous and potentially non-monogamous folks. The survey explains:

This survey is the beginning of an ongoing research effort to gain information about the community of individuals who engage in consensual, nonexclusive intimate relationships, or who are philosophically open to doing so, regardless of their current relationship configuration. We undertake this effort in order to better understand this community, its beliefs, practices, and desires, as well as its position within the larger mosaic of humanity.

With knowledge comes the ability to better serve this community, to better represent its interests in the public discourse, and to foster understanding, acceptance and nondiscrimination in the broader sphere. We deeply appreciate your willingness to share your information in furtherance of this important pursuit.

The results of this survey will be used by the researchers to write and publish academic articles and dissertations, in the hope of raising awareness in the scientific community about non-monogamy. One researcher is also writing a book.

The survey should take 35 to 60 minutes to complete, and researchers ask that you answer the questions in one sitting. Answers will remain confidential, with no individually identifying information collected. Take the survey here.

You can follow the progress of the study on its Facebook page.

Nov 212012

Jessica Burde of Polyamory on Purpose is in the midst of an IndieGoGo campaign to fund a book she’s writing, the Polyamory on Purpose Guide to Pregnancy, which she plans to release in mid-March. With almost 10 years of polyamory and some pregnancies under her belt, she is uniquely qualified to dispense advice on the subject. And the subject is in dire need of an in-depth guide. Burde explains,

Pregnancy is a big deal for anyone, but there is a whole cultural and medical template to see monogamous couples through the challenges it creates. For poly-folk, pregnancy creates many challenges that monogamous couples never need to confront, from the unexpected pregnancy when you can’t be sure who the bio-father is, to deciding if everyone in your polycule will be raising the child together. There are legal hoops, medical hassles, and relationship issues challenges every polycule will need to confront when someone in the polycule becomes pregnant.

. . . I want to create the guide that I wish I’d had during my pregnancies. I want to create a something that is a concise and complete guide to pregnancy in a polyamorous relationship, so that the information is out there for future poly-parents.

The funds gathered during the IndieGoGo campaign will pay for an editor and publishing expenses. This is a flexible funding campaign, so Burde will receive all money contributed by Monday, December 10th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific, even if it falls short of her $700 goal.

Contributor perks include a copy of the ebook, a signed paperback copy of the book, mentions in the book’s acknowledgements, and a subscription to all future Polyamory on Purpose guides.

Burde asks that if you don’t have the financial means to contribute, help spread the word about the campaign via social media, poly forums, and local meet-ups. If you do have the means, contribute now!

Nov 162012

How does one find childrens’ books and media that do not follow the stereotype of “happily ever after” monogamy? Technogeisha wrote a post at Life on the Swingset about her struggle educating her children about alternative relationship models:

We have been trying to keep the standard narrative driven drivel to a minimum since the birth of our first. It was easier in the early years then the real challenge began in preschool. The other little girls had been fed a non-stop diet of “Someday my prince will come.” which our daughter decided to embrace wholeheartedly. A couple of years later a similar thing would happen to our son.

Once they entered school, gender roles were assigned and adhered to. So was the notion of dyadic relationships with the inevitable “first comes love, then comes marriage, the comes the baby in the baby carriage.”  It wasn’t enough to tell them this wasn’t the only option in life. I needed backup. I needed to come up with resources that go against the standard narrative and offer positive views on non-traditional families and relationships. It was difficult to find but I found a few alternatives.

Although it can be hard to find books, TV shows, and movies featuring non-traditional (and especially non-monogamous) families, Technogeisha rounds up some great suggestions. She first recommends books focused on LGBT families, then lists a few with subtle poly themes, such as Else-Marie and Her Seven Little DaddiesSix Dinner Sid, and the story “The Little House That Ran Away from Home” from Strange Stories for Strange Kids.

She also mentions some books for young adult readers, books with themes of self-acceptance and favoritism, and a few movies and TV shows.

Read the whole post at Life on the Swingset.

Nov 132012

Victoria Hsu, lawyer and president of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR), is collecting signatures on a proposal for new Taiwan marriage laws that would allow both same-sex marriages and legal protections for multiple-person relationships.

The multiple-person family portion of the proposed law would adapt the existing law, which Hsu considers “out of date” and “patriarchal,” since it is rooted in the practice of concubinage.

The petition has almost 30,000 signatures so far, and Hsu hopes to acquire one million by the end of 2013.

If Hsu’s law is adopted by the government, Taiwain would be the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage — and one of the first countries in the world with a multiple-person family law.

Nov 082012

In the fall 2012 issue of their newsletter, The Kinsey Institute announced that the archival episodes of Cunning Minx’s Polyamory Weekly podcast has now been added to their Kenneth R. Haslam Collection on Polyamory.

Founded in 1947, The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University promotes interdisciplinary research and scholarship in the fields of human sexuality, gender, and reproduction. The Kenneth R. Haslam Collection, developed by Dr. Haslam in order to further public and academic understanding of polyamory, contains a wealth of materials, including books, conference materials, research articles, newsletters, archives of web-based discussion groups, and more.

With over 340 episodes to date, Cunning Minx has been hosting and producing the Polyamory Weekly podcast since 2005. It is, indeed, becoming a historic bit of polyamory-focused media.

Nov 012012

City Pages, a Minneapolis/St. Paul alternative paper, not only wrote about polyamory — they made it the cover story.

As a look into the poly scene in the area, the lengthy story profiles a triad and as well as a woman who is dating around. The triad consists of Carrie, who is a member of the board on MN Poly (the Minnesota Polyamory Network) and her two partners, Rick and Mark.

The other woman profiled is Jami, a bisexual 31-year-old who is also a member of MN Poly. She explains why polyamory fits her:

To me, being poly is about building open, honest, lasting relationships. I just believe that some people are meant to be monogamous and others aren’t. I tried being monogamous and I realized it’s not for me. Some people say that being poly isn’t an orientation like being straight or gay, that it’s a choice. Personally, I think that the fact I don’t have to be everything for just one person is fantastic. It’s just better.

The story covers a lot of ground, detailing both the triad and Jami’s varied experiences, such as how they realized they were poly and how their friends and family have reacted to it. It also makes note of the many poly groups and organizations throughout the state (including Modern Poly), and Carrie talks about how far the community has come in recent years.

Plus, as a result of this article, in which Carrie mentioned that poly folks with children may not want to talk to media outlets for fear of legal repercussions, a woman named Julia Janousek from north Minneapolis came forward, offering herself as an interview subject on the topic of raising kids as a polyamorous mom. Janousek explains that she never sat her kids down to tell them she was poly, and instead just presents the situation as their normal life.

Read the whole City Pages article and follow-up interview.

Oct 292012

Want to attend the 8th annual Poly Living conference at a super discounted rate? The time to purchase tickets is now! The early registration price of $80 is still available, but will increase soon.

The conference will take place February 8th through 10th, 2013, at the Embassy Suites Philadelphia Airport Hotel. It is an event for learning and connecting with others:

Since 2005 when George Marvil hosted the first Poly Living Conference in Philadelphia, it has been the best place to warm up your winter with fun, learning and polyamory community. Whether you are new to polyamory and wanting to find out more, a professional interested in helping clients or an experienced poly person looking to have fun with old friends, Poly Living is a great place to learn, explore and connect with real people.

Workshops will be facilitated by nationally and regionally known presenters, with a range of topics ranging from the serious to the fun. This year’s keynote speaker is Kamala Devi, of Showtime’s Polyamory: Married & Dating, who is also an author, coach, activist, and performance artist. She has been practicing polyamory for 15 years.

Get tickets now before the early registration price disappears!

Oct 252012

OKCupid has been the go-to dating site for some non-monogamous folks over the years, but a new poly-specific dating site might change that.

KōTangle is a global dating site for the ethically non-monogamous created by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá, authors of Sex at Dawn. It’s currently in the alpha phase, but new features and functionality are being added soon. The site will eventually include options for content publishing, events listings, forums, and groups.

Ryan and Jethá explain why they chose to embark on this project:

Traveling around the world talking about Sex at Dawn these past two years, I’ve come to the painful conclusion my audiences were more interested in meeting each other than in watching me give a Power Point presentation about prehistoric sex and monkey balls. Shocking, I know . . . A Sex at Dawn lecture provided an excuse, and a filter, that made it easier for our readers to find each other.

But other than a Sex at Dawn event, where to meet other people who get it? . . . the #1 complaint about our book is that we don’t say anything about how to put these ideas into action. Turns out, a lot of people are looking for a sexy, intelligent community without the sleaze and shame typical of many conventional dating or swingers sites.

Ryan and Jethá have big plans for KōTangle. It will be a safe and respectful, Safe for Work community that sponsors regional events and supports sex-positive initiatives. It will be completely free, save for some optional advanced features. These advanced features, which will include access to special events, will be available to anyone who sets up an account prior to the official launch.

Ryan and Jethá are currently looking for recommendations on contributors to the site, as well as suggestions on how best to feature events.

Meanwhile, a Ning-powered poly social networking site called myPolyplace has also sprung up. There are currently over 150 members, with options for blog posts, forums, groups, events, and media sharing.

Oct 222012

The Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance has launched its much-anticipated Family Matters project! Ricci Levy, Woodhull’s Executive Director, announced the launch of the project during her opening remarks at the Sexual Freedom Summit in Washington, DC. The website’s mission statement says it all, and says it beautifully:

Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance’s Family Matters project is dedicated to advancing, respecting and protecting the fundamental human right to family by eliminating discrimination based on family structure and relationship choices. This project will raise public awareness of family diversity through the sharing of stories and research using social media, provide education about human rights at conferences and public events, and facilitate collaboration with other organizations to draft and promote model policies and legislation preventing discrimination based on family form.

Family in 2012 takes many forms. Some families are legally recognized and socially respected. Others are not. All families face challenges and all families matter.

If you would like to share your family for inclusion in the Family Matters project, submit your information on their site.

Oct 192012

Last December, a trial was held to determine the custody of two children. The maternal grandparents had filed a petition asking that either they or the mother be awarded primary custody, which led to the father and mother each filing for primary physical custody. At the trial, it became known that the parents had previously engaged in polyamorous relationships. Despite the fact that the children’s’ therapist testified that they were not harmed by this, the judge awarded primary physical custody and sole legal custody to the grandparents.

The mother could not afford filing an appeal, but the father could, and did. Just nine months later, he has won, and the court order was overturned — awarding him full custody of the children.

Nancy Polikoff, a law professor who has worked gay and lesbian family law issues for 35 years, wrote a timeline of the case and how the ruling came to be overturned. It had a lot to do with the appeals court’s view that the judge unfairly penalized the father for his past polyamorous relationships.

The appeals court said the judge interjected “artificial morality concerns” into its determination, something not permitted by the list of factors in the custody statute.  Although the trial judge claimed otherwise, the appeals court found that the judge’s “general disfavor of polyamory” played a role in the decision.  At the time of the trial the father was no longer in a polyamorous relationship.  They appeals court noted that “while ultimately unsuccessful, his former experimentation with that lifestyle did not harm the children and does not currently affect the children negatively.”  The appeals court called polyamory “a nontraditional sexual practice,” but considered it analogous to other cases in which a parent’s previous sexual conduct was found irrelevant absent evidence of harm to the child.

Sex figured into this case in another way.  The trial court considered the father’s wife’s friendship with a professional dominatrix and her blog post in which she described herself as a “closet poly.”  The appeals court found that “the trial court’s preoccupation with these morality issues is improper, particularly where, as here, there is a dearth of evidence to suggest that the sexual practices affected the children at all.”

The good news about this is that the court’s decision will be entered into Pennsylvania case law, making it an official legal precedent in the state.