Monday, April 13, 2009

weekend poly workshop: polyamory and diversity

This weekend I helped present a workshop at the University for the Queer Youth Conference (sponsored by AIDS Victoria). One of the Victoria Poly 101 members who is also on the UVic Pride team asked for my input, and together she and I assembled a really comprehensive hour and a half of information, demonstration and discussion on the ins and outs of poly within the context of society at large.

Several other members of Victoria Poly 101 agreed to attend as panelist speakers, and the mix of diverse poly backgrounds was illuminating and entertaining to listen to. I think we managed to cover a LOT of angles in a short time!

Key points discussed were:

- the importance of communication and negotiation

- boundaries

- jealousy and self-knowledge

- differing kinds of intimacy and how they can ALL fit into poly

- how one can be poly and still incorporate traditional spirituality or ethics

- raising children in a poly family

- poly in a political and societal context

As a demonstration, I brought a small collection of relevant books, a big pile of stuffed parrots ;P and a chart I had made illustrating the network of connections in my own life, including my lovers, my children, my biological family, my "heart" family of choice, my metamours and even my pets! I was even able to add one of the panel members to my chart when she informed me that HER partner was dating a partner of MY partner... the possibilities for connection (and the need for openness) are truly limitless!

The attendees of the workshop ranged from high school age to adult, with varying knowledge and experience levels of polyamory. Questions asked and issues raised by the audience were insightful and articulate. Overall, it was a pleasure to attend and present at this conference and I look forward to seeing many of the same people again at future diversity events!

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