Friday, July 31, 2009

BIG NEWS! New Issue of Loving More Magazine Online and FREE

Loving More® Magazine's first online issue, The Road Less Traveled, has been published to the Loving More website, and viewing it is free! Soon by signing up for free on the website, you will be able to view each new issue, the articles and other resources. This will include live links and video of a diverse group of people telling their poly stories, plus a video message from Loving More Executive Director Robyn Trask. My book review in this issue makes it worth your while all by itself! (Grin)

For almost 20 years Loving More has been the only magazine dedicated exclusively to polyamory. Over the years the magazine has covered all different styles of polyamorous relating for both those new to polyamory and those who are poly veterans, where you will find information on poly families, parenting, sexuality, dealing with jealousy, finding compersion and much more.

Paid supporting Loving More members (including subscribers with a current membership) will soon receive an e-mail with a PDF, printable version of The Road Less Traveled plus instructions for downloading it and the free player that enables them to view it digitally. Paid supporting members will also receive an annual printed compilation issue of the magazine to keep their print collection current.

Other great things are happening at Loving More, including a new blog, its National Polyamory Retreat September 11-13, 2009, and the Poly Living hotel-based conference in Philadelphia February 19-21, 2010. Coming soon is the (paid members only) Loving More Community Connections web-based chat and 3D virtual environment. So keep an eye on Loving More, where big changes are afoot that will make Loving More paid membership a terrific value.

Loving More Non-profit
970-667-5683

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Newsweek Article on Polyamory

UPDATE: Regarding my discussion below about comments to the following article, as my friend Alan points out in his comment to this post, please know that there are also many positive comments with a "live and let live" tone to them, and many other civil, rational ones made by poly people who explain and clarify. It's not easy for me to shrug off the negative ones, they bring out the determined advocate in me, but balance is still very important. Thanks to Alan for reminding me to focus on the positive, too. I guess that's what happens when I write up such a post late at night after 12 hours on the road on a trip that should have taken eight!

Here's my original post - read on.

-------------------------------

Newsweek has just published an excellent poly article on its website entitled "Only You. And You. And You." Publication in the magazine to follow. "Family" web series writer and director Terisa Greenan and her partners are featured.

I'm quoted at the end of the first page - interesting how Glenn Stanton (Focus on the Family) and Andrew Sullivan (same sex marriage proponent and critic) prove my point. Sullivan arrogantly makes it clear that poly interests aren't nearly as important as his and reduces us to irrelevancy. Stanton warns the faithful that we need close watching. We polyamorists didn't ask to be dragged into the same sex marriage debate, and polyamorists are overwhelmingly supportive of same-sex marriage, but both sides are still taking their issue frustrations out on us and show no signs of stopping until the same-sex marriage question is finally settled. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see Sullivan, Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson, etc., figure out a way to stop being so hypocritical? But alas, being so isn't politically expedient.

There's a lot more to the article than the polyamory-as-political-football issue, so enjoy!

Comments that follow the article are all over the place. I encourage you to leave your own poly-supportive comments but ask that you do so in a voice of calm reason - that's what will be more likely to win over the undecideds than something more combative in tone.

There are many hateful comments, which is par for the course as these articles go. I haven't read them all, but this one really stands out to me, I think because it is a perfect example of religious extremists being so sure that they're way is the only way:



Now I know for certain we are definitely in the last day's. All like sheep have gone astray, each after his own way. This is not judging people, it's a warning. Because of what you're doing, nothing but a bunch of fornicator's like rabbit's, you will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. But then, why would you want any part of heaven? That's not where your heart is. But you will get what's coming to you.

I've been working with the media on articles like these for many years now. I'd think I'd be used to the comments by now, but it's still surprising to me at times just how it is that people honestly and openly loving more than one person at a time (instead of the status quo of cheating) is so disturbing to so many people. We polyamorists just want to go about living our lives and to be treated fairly.

We advocates still have a lot of work to do to correct outrageously mistaken assumptions if article comments are any indication of how widespread knee-jerk reactions about us are, i.e.:



"It may be exciting for them but it's not love. They can't have the intimacy you get from a relationship with one person. If they do get something close to that with one of their partners then the others are not having it."


"... this just sounds like people too afraid to really love someone, trying to pretend they don't care."

"... this lifestyle choice is for a dominant personality and a bunch of passive clingers. Strange."

"...this behaviour is not masculine. Men are dominant and possesive by nature. Any man who is ok with his girlfriend/wife sleeping with another guy on a regular basis is not a man."

Some are incredibly convoluted in their attempt to explain us away, i.e.:



"There are people who are reverting back to prehistoric times. Some social classes of homo sapiens seem to be de-evolving into homo-erectus. These social classes are beginning to exhibit many of the social characteristics of lower animal life forms, i.e. getting closer to the origin ancestors instead of continuing to evolve into higher intelligence."

and



"I see polyamory, polygamy, and gay marriage as socially destabilizing. Polyamory in particular reminds me of a radioactive element -- constantly forming and reforming into new elements, always decaying."


And some are just plain mean-spirited:



"It's even lamer than swinging. They talk about each other's feelings after humping each other. By the way, the lady in the picture is no prize. I think she got the better end of the deal with the two sorry dudes fawning over her. I am guessing one or both of them suffers from Asberger's syndrome and are socially awkward. It's also wimpy that they all moved to Seattle because one guy got a job with Microsoft and the others glommed on, as he was to be their primary meal
ticket."




"These type of freaks make me ashamed to be a Liberal."




"Usually, older (35+) or uglier women have more boyfriends. Guys will do a lot of little things for easy sexual pleasure."



Here are two videos included in the article:



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Family Web Series Creator On Seattle Local News, Oprah Interested

I've posted here before on Terisa Greenan's wonderful web series called "Family", about a Seattle male female male triad's trials and joys. There are now 15 Family webisodes on Youtube, and Terisa and company continue to crank them out as the number of hits on Youtube continue to soar - 81,000+ so far.

Today KOMO in Seattle has published a news article and video about it that is basically fair and sensible. You can read the article, which seems to be pretty much the video piece word for word.

Well-known author and matchmaker, Dr. Pepper Schwartz is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle and has in the past acknowledged that the human tendency to desire more than one partner is natural. So, I'm disappointed at the tone of her comments on the video. Of course, who knows what else she said that didn't make it into the story. What she says is true in some cases, but far from all, and the main reason what she says IS true is that people still need to gain the skills to make it work.

The editing made Terisa sound a little flaky in one instance, though I know that not to be the case. Who can blame her if perhaps she was coming from that giddy place poly people find when they have such an abundance of love in their lives? It's pretty heady stuff and an experience her nasty commenting critics will perhaps never have. How unfortunate that many people can't (or won't) look outside the monogamy box, even if for only a moment, when evaluating a story like this one.

T and I had dinner with Terisa, Scott and Larry last month, along with her third and his wife and child. She and I had spoken by phone but never met, and I found her and the rest of the family to be delightful. Terisa is a warm, sincere, smart woman - and, of course, talented!

The family on which "Family" is based did a great job and deserves our thanks for being willing to expose themselves to public opinion as they have. Many of the comments at the end of the article are pretty vicious, much as they were for Jenny Block when she first came to the attention of the public over a year ago when her book Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage was published. The very idea that either Terisa or Jenny are simply greedy sluts as alleged by commenters in both cases is laughable, yet people insist on making sweeping assumptions about their motives. It seems to come from a place of defensiveness, one into which I wish we had more scientific insight. This is not new, but it continues to amaze me how easily this kind of thing pushes people's buttons, and not in a good way. It just goes to show how far we still have to go to gain tolerance and awareness for polyamorous people and families.

I am delighted to hear that Oprah found Terisa. Her producers have been promising for some time now to devote one of her shows exclusively to the topic of polyamory. Robyn Trask of Loving More has in the past fielded requests for poly participants in other Oprah episodes where what was being discussed really wasn't polyamory. She educated the producers so that they now understand what polyamory is, and I'm glad to see that their interest is still strong.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

News Article and Video on Wisconsin Polyamory Group

Check out this well done TV news piece (both article and 3 minute video) on polyamory that features the leaders of the Young Milwaukee Poly group. It is very fairly reported, something we activists work hard to help happen. It's not entirely in our control, but more and more the media treats the subject of polyamory legitimately without denigrating us or spinning the story to make us look like a bunch of flakes.

Kudos to Young Milwaukee Poly!

Next up, an article on polyamory in Newsweek which we hear will be out on July 27. Yours truly was interviewed on the role polyamory plays in the same sex marriage debate. For info and my thoughts on that question, see this post.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Declaration of Independence and the Fight for Sexual Relationship Freedom



On this day of celebration of freedom in the United States, I received this inspiring video from a friend. It is excellent and worthy of 15 minutes of our time on Independence Day. In it, the actor Morgan Freeman sets the stage by describing the setting and circumstances in which the Declaration of Independence was prepared, signed and publicized. He then introduces a large and diverse group of our finest actors, from Kathy Bates to Mel Gibson to Kevin Spacey to Whoopie Goldberg, who then read the Declaration of Independence. Yes, it is patriotically inspiring, but I am also inspired by the words of the document in that they remind me of our duty to resist that which oppresses us.

I resist the tyranny of a one-size-fits-all standard of sexual loving relationship. I also resist the negativity that taints our views about ourselves as sexual beings. I will continue to resist until the day comes when resistance is no longer necessary. And I hope I will see the day when those whose preferred form of consenting adult romantic relationship and/or sexual expression does not subject them to the tyranny and oppression of those who believe that their way is the only way. Therein lies our ongoing struggle.

I am but one of a large and growing number of leaders who carry on this fight. Yet the fight is also being carried out by all of those who live their lives according to how they self-identify, oppression notwithstanding. Simply by having the courage to live a life authentic to who we are, we carry on the struggle for sexual relationship freedom. We are to be congratulated for doing so.

I wish you a happy, meaning-filled Independence Day. May it be grounded not just in patriotism but also in the fight for freedom of consenting adults to discover and to practice the intimate relationship structure and mode of sexual expression that best meets their emotional and human needs free of governmental, societal or institutional coercion or favoritism.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sanford Political Cartoons

I love political cartoons and just came across these two on Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoonists Index as particularly interesting in that though the cartoonists go for absurdity, we polyamorists see them as making a valid point. (You can click on them to enlarge them if needed.)

Here is the first one which is by Dwane Powell of the Raleigh News & Observer.



Not surprisingly, Mrs. Sanford has ruled out this possibility.

"South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford sat in her oceanfront living room Friday, recalling how her husband repeatedly asked permission to visit his lover in the months after she discovered his affair.

"I said absolutely not. It's one thing to forgive adultery; it's another thing to condone it," Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press during a 20-minute interview... "


In this next one by Chip Bok of The Akron Beacon-Journal.



The reference is to what seems to be becoming tradition in France, i.e. Fran├žois Mitterand, former prime minister, openly had a wife and a mistress. These two women attended his funeral together, at his wife's invitation. It's also worth noting that the present First Lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is quoted as saying she is:

.... easily "bored with monogamy", and that "love lasts a long time, but burning desire — two to three weeks".


To date President Sarkozy has remained silent on the issue, but it's safe to say that he and Carla have some kind of an open marriage agreement.

I am amused by the irony of the hugely different points of view on marital fidelity of the French and South Carolina First Ladies.

My friend, Alan M., of the most excellent Polyamory in the News blog, has, as always, done a fine job of analyzing the Sanford scandal in the context of polyamory - check it out. See also my previous blog posts on this topic here (the Loving More press release) and here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Audacia Ray on the Sanford Scandal

I recently met the awesome Audacia Ray at the Sex 2.0 conference held in the DC area in May. Audacia Ray is a sexual rights activist and is the author of Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads, and Cashing In On Internet Sexploration (Seal Press, 2007). Dacia is also the Program Officer for Online Communications and Campaigns at the International Women’s Health Coalition and an adjunct professor of Human Sexuality at Rutgers University.

Dacia is a guest today on The Takeaway, a new national morning news radio program co-produced by PRI (Public Radio International) and WNYC Radio in collaboration with the BBC World Service, The New York Times and WGBH Boston.

Today's program is entitled "Love, Sex and Governor Sanford", in which Dacia and another guest make some very excellent points. Give it a listen, it's only 7 minutes long.

As a polyamory advocate I am intrigued by the part of the Sanford story that makes clear (if he is being truthful) that he first developed an emotionally intimate friendship with Maria Belen Chapur. This is something married men and women are often forbidden from doing in western culture. A few years ago a therapist wrote an article published in the Baltimore Sun that was emphatic that opposite sex friendships aren't OK for married people. At the time I was furious about it and vehemently disagreed - but context does matter, as does the importance of clear, direct communication between spouses about specific boundaries around behavior with others. Polyamorists must develop this ability in order to make their relationships work. Monogamy encourages avoidance of such discussions, because people marry thinking that everyone already knows the rules.

Once Sanford became emotionally bonded with Ms. Chapur, his human nature made it very, very difficult (though far from impossible) to avoid expressing those feelings sexually - it's the way we are wired as humans. Does that mean he should never have become friends with her? I guess I'll have to leave that decision up to the individuals who find themselves in that situation to decide, because it is their marriage, not mine, that is at stake.

Help Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Though I don't tend to speak of it here, another facet of my life is that I am an Army mom. I also oppose the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prevents LGBTs from being out if they are serving in the military.

On Tuesday, a military board told Lt. Dan Choi -- an Iraq War veteran (as is my son-in-law) and Arabic linguist -- that it was recommending his discharge from the Army for "moral and professional dereliction" under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Despite this setback, Lt. Choi is not giving up. Bolstered by more than 300,000 signatures to letters of support calling for the repeal of DADT, Dan is now taking his fight to repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy to Congress.

Dan needs your help as soon as possible.
The sooner DADT is repealed, the sooner he can return to service.

I just signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Lt. Choi is going to personally deliver to her. The letter is being launched on Lt. Choi's behalf by the Courage Campaign, Knights Out and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

We need Speaker Pelosi to take leadership now and speak out publicly in favor of current legislation in Congress that would repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

More than 50,000 people, including me, have signed Lt. Choi's letter in just a few hours. Will you join me in signing it and urge your friends to do the same? Just click here to add your name.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sally Kern: Economic Crisis can be Blamed on Obama's Immoral Policies

In March 2008 I posted here about Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern's hate speech against LGBTs. Well, friends, she's at it again, as Professor Jonathan Turley explains.

Also, Rush Limbaugh seriously believes that Obama's economic policies were the cause of Republican Gov. Mark Sanford’s affair with a beautiful Argentinian woman. Seriously.

Is it possible that the extremist leaders of the religious right and sore loser conservative commentators are really losing it? One can always dream.