Queer Youth Radio on Polyamory May 9, 2013Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory, Culture and Society.
Tags: LGBT, monogamy, polyamory, relationships, Sex education, Youth
I ran into this today:
I saw it on a blog called Youth Media for Building Healthy Commnities, which I just discovered today.
It’s a fairly good, and short introduction to polyamory intended for young people, specifically in the Long Beach, CA area. I’m glad to see that resources for young people are inclusive enough, and aware enough, to include polyamory into it’s programming. The video is pretty low tech, and I don’t know what kind of reach it has, but seeing it’s existence is at least encouraging to me.
I noticed that the video made the claim that polyamory fits under the umbrella of “Queer,” and thus LGBTQ generally, which is an idea which is not universally accepted by all poly people or by all LGBTQ members and allies. That the struggles which poly people endure are comparable to those of the traditional LGBTQ community is a tough sale, even if in some philosophical sense there is an affinity between the two groups. There is a sense that poly people are queer, and perhaps the relationship is more obvious to younger people than it is to me. I’d be interested to hear from younger people about how they think about that relationship.
I believe that the LGBTQ community should be generally informed about polyamory, especially because there is a natural affinity between minority groups who are struggling for understanding, rights, and community. We have things to teach one-another, and projects like this video, and the blog with which it is associated, are good positive steps in the right direction. Also, I would very much like to see a future when comprehensive sex education includes the basic concepts of polyamory as a possibility for people to explore, especially since it will be preferable and more healthy for many people (at least). We need young people, for the sake of our future world to be a more sex-positive place, to have understanding about their sexuality, possibilities for relationships, and all things related to those two.
I also noticed that they said, near the end, that ”monogamy is an equally valid lifestyle choice, just as polyamory is a great fit for others.” Putting polyamory on equal footing with monogamy is an improvement over the usual view that polyamory might merely be right for some people, which seems to imply it’s a weird thing that weird people do (well, it is that often too). I might be willing to go further, and say that polyamory is superior (with the appropriate caveats, of course), but i appreciate the equal footing here.
More of this, please!
Toward a More Skeptical Monogamy April 25, 2013Posted by wfenza in Culture and Society, Polyamory.
1 comment so far
Here at polyskeptic, we tend to refer to atheism and polyamory as “skepticism, properly applied.” I’d like to unpack that a little. As happy poly people, we love polyamory. We love polyamory so much that sometimes, it sounds as though we think polyamory is the only way to have a good relationship. So when we say that properly applied skepticism results in polyamory, it might sound as though we mean that monogamy is inherently unskeptical. This is only half true. It is true that if we lived in a more skeptical world, there would be a lot more polyamorous people. If people took a skeptical approach toward their relationships, many people would conclude that monogamy was not the best way to achieve their goals. However, not everyone would. There are plenty of ways to practice monogamy skeptically, and I’d like to go through a few of those.
Both Parties are Only Interested in Each Other
This is the most often-cited reason for monogamy, but often one of the rarest to be approached in a skeptical manner. Most people feel sexual or romantic desire for more than one person. However, not everybody does. A couple who approached their relationship skeptically could easily conclude that they were only interested in each other. However, the difference between this and your garden-variety monogamy is that skeptical monogamy (or what Shaun calls accidental monogamy) would not have rules against outside sexual or romantic connections. They just wouldn’t happen, because neither party would be interested. A skeptical couple, however, will know they cannot predict their future desires (especially many years in advance), so a skeptically monogamous couple will not make long-term plans or rules that are dependent upon their desires remaining only for one another.
Both Parties Enjoy a Controlling Dynamic
One of my least favorite things about traditional monogamy is that it involves each party being controlling in regards to the other party’s sexuality. It’s a form of ownership over an incredibly important part of another person, and I find it repellent. However, some people are into that! And that’s totally ok! In the kink community, there are tons of examples of people who have no desire for an egalitarian relationship. There are relationships which are explicitly based on ownership and control. Both parties go into the situation with eyes open, knowing what they want, and knowing what they are getting. This is entirely compatible with skepticism. So long as each party has skeptically examined their own (and each other’s) desire and each party enthusiastically consents, this sort of relationship is compatible with a skeptical worldview.
If we lived in a more skeptical world, this would not be an issue. However, we live in the real world, and in the real world, being polyamorous can have consequences. Often, if we are thinking skeptically, those consequences are less bad or less likely than they seem. But sometimes the consequences are real and relatively certain, and it makes sense to try to fit in. Part of what the community is doing is trying to make this less of a concern, but as it stands now, the fear of societal consequences (especially in less liberal regions/countries) can be a legitimate, skeptical reason to stay monogamous.
Lack of Ability or Desire
This is lumping a lot of things together, but basically it stands for the proposition that polyamory takes a certain amount of emotional work and emotional stability, and not everyone is able to do it, either due to mental illness, societal conditioning, or just plain personality. For most people, being happily polyamorous takes a lot of effort.* A skeptic will not shy away from working toward a worthwhile goal, but there is always a cost/benefit analysis. For some people, the amount of work is too great, the payoff (in terms of happiness) too small, or the chances of success too low. A skeptical approach to life will recognize this and make decisions accordingly. Some people will reasonably conclude that it’s just not worth it. So long as their partner agrees, it’s a reasonable position.
I’m sure I’ve missed other reasons why a truly skeptical person or couple might choose monogamy. My intention here was to explicitly acknowledge that monogamy is not always a bad or unskeptical choice. However, I’d also like to stress that the bar for skeptical monogamy is pretty high. It requires a critical examination of all parties motives, desires, predictions, and assumptions. Just as polyamory takes a lot of effort, so does monogamy, and it’s not something to be entered lightly. As with all important decisions, it’s best to approach it in a critical, skeptical manner.
*this is another area in which we are hoping society will improve. As polyamory becomes more mainstream and monogamy becomes less of a default expectation, starting a polyamorous relationship should take much less work in terms of switching away from a mononormative mindset.
Tags: Christian, homosexuality, LGBT, parody, relationships, religion, YouTube
Wait…have you seen this?
So, I found this today via the Friendly Atheist, and I really thought this was a parody. I simply cannot believe that real people, trying to make a real point, could be so unaware.
Wait, yes I can. But it hurts to think about it, because I really want to like our species, but find so many reasons not to.
So, a man admits his infidelity (his “adultery”) to his wife, with his accomplice at hand, and offers the argument that if she loves him, she has to love his adultery. And she accepts it, even so far as to write up some placards to support this publicly. Of course, the primary analogy is between accepting of the sin (of homosexuality/adultery) of the sinners we should love. You know, “love the sinner hate the sin” and other hilariously stupid ideas derived from the absurdity of Christian theology.
But also, this video is hilarious (unintentionally) while simultaneously frustrating. And, of course, the first thing I thought (when deciding whether it was a parody) was that this was a poly triad making a video mocking Christians. But since this seems legit I’m just going to have to pose the question of whether poly people should take offense at this video or not. I mean, this is clearly in the wheelhouse of the argument that homosexual marriage will lead to thing like group marriage, sex with alpacas, and whatever else Christians fantasize about when denying that their worldview is as crazy as a pack of rabid hyenas on coke. But are the Christians who made this even aware of the overt similarity to polyamory here in this video? Is it making fun of us?
Perhaps, but I don’t think any offense should be taken, and I think what Hemant said in response to it is the reason why:
This is the sort of video you would expect an LGBT group to make to mock Christians’ narrow-minded thinking on the subject… Instead, the Christians here went ahead and did the work for them. They’re proving to the world how badly they don’t get it.
They are mocking themselves, without being aware of it.
See, what a video like this does is exposes the lack of self-awareness of people who make it. Think of it this way; could we here at polyskeptic have made this exact video (with us in it, of course), and had it be a parody? Could we have written it much better to make the point of the absurdity of the conservative Christian worldview in relation to such issues as homosexuality? No, I don’t think so.
The nonchalance of the wife in this video, in reaction to her husband admitting adultery while holding hands with another woman is done for the sake of comedy. The tension here is between an obviously not-acceptable situation of direct, in-your-face cheating along side the subsequent calm acceptance, tolerance, and ultimate capitulation to it. Of course nobody is going to respond calmly to such a situation. Of course these things are sinful and wrong. Of course this is comedy gold. Just not for the reasons they intended.
The English idiom “of course” here is also telling. It implies following the expected (mainstream) set of behaviors. Except the “of course” used above is said mockingly, because that set of expectations only occurs within the rigid bounds of a monogamous (Christian, in this case) world. My hope is that the fact that this video misses the point about homosexuality and the standard tropes about monogamy are equally understood by people. I hope that this video is not just absurd because of the stupid analogy between “sins,” but because it teases itself where monogamy lies.
Because my worry is that for many people the calmness and acceptance of the quasi-polyamorous circumstance portrayed here will be missed. That the effect of the joke will be at being offended by the effectiveness of the analogy. The video is saying that just like the idea that your wife would calmly accept your “adultery” is absurd, so is the idea that we should accept homosexuality. And the problem is that, for many people, this will land. I am willing to bet that the producers of this video would be gobsmacked if they saw people who would accept what they would deem as “adultery” with calmness. Granted, the actual act in the video is not polyamory, but the tension of the joke is embedded in the idea that no woman (or man, especially in a patriarchal system) would accept their spouse having another lover. Without that “of course,” the joke cannot land, and we are left with the presentation of the equal acceptability of homosexuality and sexual non-exclusivity.
Sounds about right to me.
When I watched it all I saw was a hilarious pseudo-advertisement for polyamory via unintentional self-parody. I saw the absurdity of having an issue with homosexuality compared to the absurdity of jealousy, exclusiveness, and monogamy. And not only am I not offended but I have a wry and mischievous smile on my face. I love it when Christians do the work for me, I only wish they could understand it.
Tags: Alternative lifestyle, dating, happiness, monogamy, relationships
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I’m happy with my relationships. Not directly related to this, however, is the fact that I’m not looking to meet anyone right now. That is, I’m not actively seeking new partners right now, but its not merely because I’m happy.
There are women I’m interested in, to varying degrees, with whom I interact somewhat frequently but I either do not have any reason to believe my interest is reciprocated, or I know that this interest is not, in fact, reciprocated. But I’m OK with that, because I’m not really looking anyway. That may change at some point, but right now I’m content with the number of relationships I have.
Yesterday I was reflecting on this happiness and this contentment and it occurred to me that this was a feeling I had had while monogamous, in the past. There were times, when exclusively committed to a girlfriend, where I had periods of genuine happiness with my life and contentedness with the nature of my relationship. And this, in context to where I am now, made me realize two things about some of the reactions I hear from monogamous people upon being confronted with the possibility of polyamory.
The first is that that sense of happiness, when in a monogamous relationship, does not imply that a person is built for monogamy, necessarily. That would be mis-attributing the source of the happiness to the structure, rather than the contents, of their relationship. Such a person, being happy and content with their monogamous relationship, could still pursue polyamory and be equally (and possibly more) satisfied with that alternative to sexual and romantic exclusivity. The feeling of contentment with one’s relationships does not have to mean that one must merely tread the cultural water of mono-normativity, because perhaps being content, or even happy, is not always enough to stop the pursuit of each. There are many potentialities in life which too many people miss because they are merely content where they are. Perhaps they are capable of more, and don’t pursue more because they are merely ‘content’ or ‘happy enough.’
I call ‘bullshit’ on that.
A monogamous person who is happy with their partner may, in other words, be interested in other people but much like with other aspects of our lives (such as where faith comes in), be subject to confirmation bias when it comes to attributing that contentment to their exclusive relationship per se. That is, they remember all the great aspect of the commitment they have (remember, commitment does not imply exclusivity), but forget all the times they have desires to love—erotically, romantically, etc—another person. They feel a general contentment but may be mis-appropriating that contentment to the nature of the relationship, rather than the person they are with. And being with other people does not (necessarily) take anything away from that great relationship, now does it?
If you answered yes, you are delusional. Exclusivity does not a better relationship make, and loving two (or more) people does not necessarily diminish the love you have for any one of them. If you really believe that then I will file you next to the creationists in terms of being un-attached to reality.
While I’m not actively pursuing anyone right now, or even feel a strong impulse to do so, I may in the future. Hell, I might start doing so tomorrow, for all I know. And this does not necessarily mean that my relationships are broken or that I’m lacking anything from my current partners, it just may mean that I might meet someone really awesome (as I did when I met Gina) or that variety in itself may be valuable to me (it is, just not all the time).
In short, I’m open to the fact that what I may want, need, etc will probably change throughout my life, and I want to keep my life open to all those possibilities out there (and, more importantly, I want to keep those opportunities open for those close to me). And if someone else, say some monogamous person I’m explaining polyamory to, were to take their contentment at any given time as a sign that the structure of their relationship is the cause of that contentment, then they are making a leap in logic which is not warranted.
The awesomeness of people bring us happiness and contentment, not how many of them you are romantically/sexually involved with. How can adding more awesome people to your life be anything but, well, awesome?
I am not content because I’m polyamorous (again, per se), I’m content because the people I’m closest to are amazing, beautiful, and satisfying people. In my case there just happen to be two of them who are willing to share me, but if their happened to just be one (or three) that would be awesome and contentment-inspiring. But if I were monogamous, perhaps still married to Ginny, knowing and being around someone like Gina and wanting her constantly would NOT be a position of contentment for me. And if I were monogamous thusly and intended to stay that way, I would therefore have to avoid being around someone like Gina (who I just can’t help but love) if I wanted to maintain the illusion of perpetual contentment with my hypothetical monogamy.
And this is what I think many monogamous people are doing; they are content often (perhaps very often), attribute that contentment to the exclusivity itself (hopefully tying it to the awesomeness of their partner), and ignoring or pretending that their extra-relationship desires don’t exist or would destroy that contentment by some magic unknown to me. So they go on convincing themselves that monogamy is better for them, that polyamory would not work for them, etc while the truth very well may be that they would be happier being polyamorous if they were just willing to do the work.
This is why polyamory is superior. Not because being with more than one person is better per se, but because being polyamorous, even while only involved with one person at any given time, allows open-ended pursuits of happiness and contentment rather than keeping us deluded that we are content in circumstances where we are unnecessarily limited, romantically and sexually.
Are you content with your monogamous relationship? Fine, what does that have to do with polyamory?
Thorough and Perpetual Skepticism March 26, 2013Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory, Skepticism and atheism.
Tags: religion, Religion and Spirituality, Skeptical Inquiry
Skepticism is a method.
Skepticism is a method. It is not a set of beliefs or even tentative conclusions (it leads to the latter, however). You cannot be a skeptic for a little while, come to some conclusions, and stop being skeptical. OK, well, you can do that, but doing so is counter-productive, assuming you care what’s true and not merely a little better than what you used to think. I mean, if all you want is to ditch Christianity, and you use skepticism to do that and get to Scientology, then it did it’s job, but you left the job partially done (and poorly, in that case).
You have to keep that toolbox open all the time, apply it to new information, and make sure that old information is challenged in light of new data. It may sound tiring, but being a skeptic is perpetual, and should be applied periodically.
I mean, sure, enjoy your life and don’t constantly analyze information skeptically, but when you hear new claims, be skeptical and either talk it through then or investigate it later. Assuming you care about whether that thing is true, which brings me to the other thing.
You should be skeptically thorough.
You should question your assumptions, carefully analyze your worldview about all sorts of things. Again, not constantly, but periodically at least. You should be willing to apply the tools of skepticism to all of the important ideas and behaviors you have, because you might miss some set of assumptions if you fail to do so, and end up living a silly lie for no good reason.
What happens if you don’t do this?
Well, being around the atheist community for many years, I’ve seen people find skepticism, apply it to their religious beliefs, and either accept some other religious or spiritual belief because they didn’t follow through or simply stop after doing so. This is how Christians become Pagans or atheists who oppose inclusiveness in our community and larger skeptical movement. I’ve also seen tons of skeptics become atheists (as they should) and then fail to apply that skepticism to other things, like Men’s Rights Activism, for example.
Or monogamy. You know, the acceptance of possessiveness and exclusivity in romantic relationships. That doesn’t make any sense, except as a rationalization of jealousies, fears, and other unsavory behaviors towards people they supposedly “love.” I both laugh and cry when I see someone declare love with words clothed in possession (you are “mine”, you “belong to me”, etc). It’s absurd. I mean, sure, if you simply are not into anyone else, then fine, but if so you don’t need to be possessive or jealous because your happiness with monogamy has nothing to do with the fact that it’s not all about you.
If you love someone, them loving other people should not matter. Hopefully, they love you too, and you should be willing to share.
I’ve seen the same thing, in reverse order, in the poly community. Somehow these people come to realize the absurdity of this possessiveness and exclusivity, but don’t think to criticize their basic beliefs about the nature of reality.
I know, I know, I’m weird because I think about stuff like that naturally.
Strengthening your tools
I think that the more aspects of your life you apply skepticism to, the better skeptic you can become. The more ideas you get over, the easier it can become to think through other ideas. Don’t stop questioning just because you gave up religion, monogamy, or chasing Bigfoot (seriously, does anyone still really do that?). Keep applying those tools, and you will be better for it in the long run. It can be tiring, emotionally, cognitively, and socially, but there are others out there who are willing to help, befriend, and accept you as one of us weird skeptics.
Why Polyamorous Marriage Might Happen March 20, 2013Posted by wfenza in Culture and Society, Polyamory.
In the Stranger this week, Mistress Matisse wrote an article entitled You May Now Kiss the Bride and the Other Bride and the Other Bride and the Other Groom: Why Poly Marriage is Never Going to Happen. She gives three reasons why poly marriage is a pipe dream, none of which are very convincing.
Her first reason:
For starters, poly- marriage organizers would have to agree on a precise definition of what, exactly, poly marriage even is. Explaining the flowcharts and Venn diagrams of poly relationships can be trickier and take longer than a play-by-play of naked Twister. And you can’t just engrave “It’s Complicated” on tasteful ivory card stock and mail it off to however many sets of in-laws.
Sure, it’s complicated… if you make it complicated. So why not keep it simple? Poly marriage can be exactly the same as mono marriage, just repeal the laws against bigamy. Whatever rights one partner has go to the other partner also. Rights that need to be divided can be split equally between partners.
People tend to get bogged down in the details of this sort of thing. Sure, legal rights like insurance, inheritance, property ownership, and the like would get more complicated when there is more than just a dyad, but so what? Those same legal rights get complicated when there is more than one child, also, but our courts can handle it. The law is always complicated. Even when laws are written clearly, courts find ways of complicating them. The fact that it would take a complicated legal framework is no reason why it can’t happen, especially when there is already a framework – mono marriage and parent/child relationships – that can be adapted.
Her second reason:
But let’s say the poly community comes up with a way of defining “poly marriage.” Then comes the price tag: It costs five bucks to file an initiative, but persuading voters to change the law in favor of poly marriage would take a lot of skillful and extremely expensive political marketing… fundraising infrastructure is key—and queers have it, poly people don’t.
Poly people definitely don’t have the infrastructure to fund a mass movement for marriage rights, can’t argue with that. But will this always be the case? There is reason to think not. For one, queers didn’t have the infrastructure 20 years ago either. Arguments for gay marriage like Virtually Normal by Andrew Sullivan were routinely dismissed as unrealistic or even undesirable. It wasn’t until homosexuality became more mainstream that the gay marriage movement started getting taken seriously, and it snowballed from there. Just because polys aren’t there yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Right now, the community’s goals are mostly visibility-related, but there’s no reason to believe that we’ll never get to the point where marriage is on the table.
Queers have another leg up on the poly community that may not persist: numbers. Latest estimates place the number of homosexuals in the United States at 11.7 million, or 3.5% of the population. Reliable estimates of polyamorists are harder to come by, but most estimates place the number around half a million families (which would translate to an least one million individuals) – nowhere near the 11.7 million queer Americans. However, polyamory is growing, and has the potential to grow far larger than the gay community. As poly becomes more mainstreamed (which is happening more and more every day), monogamy will become less of a default and more of a choice. There is every reason to believe that the more people who see polyamory as a viable option, the more people will prefer it as a lifestyle. Unlike homosexuality, which all evidence suggests is an inborn desire, polyamory is not a sexual orientation. There is no limit on the amount of people who will choose polyamory. As our numbers grow, so does our political power.
Mistress Matisse’s third reason:
I’m a polyamorous person who has never yearned for poly marriage…. I think romantic love that leads to deep, committed relationships is wonderful. But the romance of filing a group tax return? I’ll pass. The legal aspects aside, I’ve never been interested in sharing a household with more than one person. Frankly, even one person is a bit much sometimes…. Multiple-partner cohabitation always seemed to me like it would have all the usual relationship difficulties, plus less closet space, more scheduling headaches, and definitely more emotional processing. I am not alone in my opinion. When I remarked to a poly friend that I was writing about this topic, he quipped wryly, “Oh, right. Poly marriage: When sustaining one happy marriage just isn’t challenging enough for you!”
Just… wow. So… poly marriage is never going to happen because Mistress Matisse isn’t interested in it? I hate to be the bearer of disappointing news, but paging Mistress Matisse! You are not the spokesperson for the entire community! Your personal preference on cohabiting is fine, but it’s far from universal. I live in a house with my fiancee and my wife (and her boyfriend and his wife) and we love it! I also know other poly families who cohabitate in more than just a dyad. Your personal preference is just that – personal. It has absolutely no bearing on the likelihood or unlikelihood of poly marriage at some point in the future.
Furthermore, attitude like this (“marriage? Who needs it?”) were common in the queer community 20 years ago, when it looked like marriage was out of reach. You still find plenty of queers these days who aren’t interested in getting married, but you’ll be hard pressed to find more than a handful (aside from closeted Republicans) who don’t support the rights of all Americans to marry the person (if not persons) of their choosing. As poly marriage becomes more realistic, it will become more popular. That’s just the way of things.
Poly marriage may happen and it may not. It certainly won’t be happening in the next five years. But maybe someday. I certainly hope that it does.
Tonight’s the Night! March 5, 2013Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory.
Tags: Lisa Ling, oprah, Our America, OWN, television, tv
So, tonight is the airing of the documentary we were involved with, and I know that a few of us are nervous (including me, at least a little), but I think that it should be a well done piece.
We will not be watching it tonight, since we don’t have cable and we have decided to watch it elsewhere but not be there too late, since it is on at 10pm (the OWN channel, see local listings).
We will be watching it tomorrow, so any thoughts that I have will have to wait until then, at the earliest.
For those of you who have still not seen the previews, here they are (embed codes aren’t working here):
If you end up watching it tonight, let us know what you thought.
Previews of Our America episode next week! February 27, 2013Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory.
Tags: Lisa Ling, media, Oprah Winfrey Network, Our America, polyamory, relationships, television
Here is a couple of previews to next week’s episode which includes us here at polyskeptic!
(the embed codes don’t seem to be working with wordpress, sorry)
Polyskeptic is about to OWN you! February 15, 2013Posted by shaunphilly in Culture and Society, Polyamory.
Tags: ducumentary, Lisa Ling, Oprah Winfrey Network, relationships, television
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edit; The show has been moved up to the 5th of March, rather than the 12th.
We here at polyskeptic have been involved, over the last few months, with a project that will hit reality in just a few weeks. Over a few days, separated by some weeks, there were cameras, a camera crew, and even a person whose name you might recognize–Lisa Ling–in our home in order to ask us questions about being polyamorous. And so on Tuesday, March 12th 2013 at 10pm (EST), on Oprah Winfrey’s Network (OWN), our family will be one of three families featured in an episode of Our America, with Lisa Ling.
We have not written about this yet. In the beginning, it was because we were not allowed to do so, but now that the current season is in progress and the website has already given us a glimpse of what’s coming, I have decided that I can write about it, and have been putting it off for no good reason at all. Some people close to us already know about it, and a few other people have contacted me (mostly through facebook) after seeing the TV ad for the coming season, which included most of our faces.
In the video below, if you pay attention at around 16 seconds and then 30 seconds, you may see some people you recognize:
Now, we have no way of knowing what kind of response we will get from friends and family or the polyamorous community itself. We will have an opportunity to find out what some of the polyamorous community has to say right after it airs, as the weekend after it airs we will be in Atlanta for the Atlanta Poly Weekend conference March 15-17. Whether we will be minor celebrities, run out of town with flaming torches and pitchforks, or merely treated as a few schmucks who were on TV once is yet to be seen. My guess is that we will be world-famous, wealthy, and more awesome than we already are overnight.
I may be biased.
I got a chance to meet Kamala Devi and Michael McClure from last year’s Showtime series at the Poly Living Conference. Robyn Trask, who is the head of Loving More and who I also got to meet last weekend, will also be featured along with her family in the OWN documentary (along with a third family I know little about). My recent experience in interacting with these people, as well as those around them at the conference, has made it clear how many polyamorous people appreciate the exposure of this lifestyle, as coming out as polyamorous can be a real concern for many people. We, here at polyskeptic, have not hid our identities and now that we are about to be on television (even if only on a cable channel many people don’t watch) we will have little choice about being out to the world. This privilege of ours is not universal, and for the same reasons atheists need to be out of the closet when they can, the same is true for polyamorous people.
I hope that you all watch, and I would be interested in feedback about the episode, which we have not seen yet.
Show: Our America: with Lisa Ling
Channel: Oprah Winfrey Network
Episode Title: “I Love You & You…& You” (4.8)
Air Date: Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
Polyamory conferences past and future February 11, 2013Posted by shaunphilly in Polyamory, Skepticism and atheism.
Tags: #APW2013, conferences, Loving More
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So, I spent the weekend at Loving More’s conference in Philadelphia. It was, perhaps surprisingly to some, my first polyamory conference. I have participated in local events over the years, but my conference experience has been so far limited to a few atheist/skeptic conferences, one time at an animation conference, and that one time I hung out in the lobby with some furries at anthrocon when it was in Philadelphia some years back (probably 2005).
I met some pretty awesome people over the weekend, and I hope to see them all again. I got a chance to meet a couple of people from the Showtime series, Polyamory: Married and Dating as well as many other people who I found to be friendly, affectionate, and a lot of fun. To all of you I met over the weekend (And there are too many to list), I enjoyed meeting you all very much and hope to see you again. It’s strange how just a couple of days with people in compressed space and time can make you feel like you have known them a long time, and then they are gone….
Preconceptions and reality
I will admit that before arriving there, I had some preconceptions and expectations, being the cynic that I am. Loving More is run mostly by people who lean towards the new age/pagan side of things, and there was a significant element of that at the conference, but there is also a significant presence of people interested in science, who are a little (or a lot) geeky, and who are just extremely sex-positive, intelligent, friendly, and who know how to have a good time.
I got a chance to meet some people IRL who I have known online, even some people who read (or at least have read) this blog. And some of those people I will have a chance to meet again in Atlanta for the Atlanta Poly Weekend conference starting March 15th (that’s less than 5 weeks away!) This brings us to the future.
I am now very much looking forward to the conference in Atlanta, because not only did I have a great time, but I even had a chance to have a conversation about the relationship between skepticism and polyamory with a bunch of people. I even got to lead a discussion at one of the workshops, which gave me some insight on how to have such a discussion among poly people.
One thing is showed me was that there are quite a few people who are already skeptics, as I am, or who at least understand the issue (even if only somewhat) and who are interested in talking about or listening to discussions about it. But what I also learned (and this was what I was concerned about) was that there are some people there who have no experience with skepticism at all, and who have no concept of what it is about at all. Their experience with skepticism, atheism, and rational thinking in the sense that I use it here, and how it is used in the atheist/skeptical world, is almost null. Not only do they have new age and pagan beliefs, but they are almost completely unaware that there are communities of people who not only see their worldview as fundamentally wrong (and potentially dangerous), but that their worldview might not be unscientific in the slightest.
They are not stupid people, they are just living within a bubble of a worldview which, as far as I can tell, is completely delusional but largely internally coherent (which I knew). What I was not sure about was that some of them just didn’t know that we skeptics exist, or at least never think about us our the implications of our worldview upon their own. I am not sure how true this will be at the conference in Atlanta, but I will have to think about how to communicate the fundamental worldview conflict in case it is a reality there.
So, as I get closer to participating in a panel discussion with two other skeptically-oriented polyamorous people, I have more to think about. I am less anxious about it now (I’m sure that will chage in about 4 weeks), and will now focus on having more fun, talking with more people, and hopefully starting to define not only the nature of the questions, but perhaps finding a way to better include skepticism in the polyamorous world in such a way as to make us all better people.
Improving life through skepticism, or someshit.