Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Creating safe and respectful discussion space

Ok, listen up, y'all,

It's the beginning of VP101's second year in existence as a poly discussion/information/support group and I for one am giving a BIG cheer for how awesome we were in 2009!

One of the things I'm most proud of is that we have been able to create a space for people of all ages, from diverse backgrounds, relationship preferences, gender identifications and tastes in clothing (ok, just had to throw that in there because of the poly pants joke.. ) to meet, discuss and support each other in the exploration of ethical relationship dynamics.

That said, I know there are quite a few new members (yay, welcome new members!!) who perhaps aren't accustomed to being in such an open, non-judgmental space and are unsure of how this works. So.. as my first poly service announcement of the year, I want to go over my very few but firm facilitator rules for poly discussion:

1. What is said in the room stays in the room, no exceptions unless you have explicit permission from the person speaking to discuss what they said with others.

2. Listen respectfully to what everyone has to say. Agreement is not necessary, respect is essential.

3. VP101 discussions (4th Thursday of the month) are not dating meetups. If you wish to pursue a social connection with someone at the meet, please wait until after it's over to do so.

While VP101 social events (we have started having one of these a month) are less strict about rule number three, please be aware that anyone soliciting attention in a disrespectful manner will be asked to stop, and possibly asked by the host to leave if they are making other people uncomfortable. Please refer to rule number two about respect. There are poly dating groups in town and I'd be happy to let you know when they're happening if you want to attend a mixer!

One of the aspects about being polyamorous is that people tend to form relationships and date within our community. Something I greatly admire is the ability of poly community members to rise above the desire to engage in "high school" drama and politics when dealing with former partners who are members of the group. While you may not wish to attend a social event because your ex is there, please do not feel you cannot attend a discussion for this reason. Your facilitator has a zero tolerance policy for drama during discussions.

Please remember that there is no *right* way to practice polyamory. Let's honour the qualities of respect, honesty, communication and compassion which we have so successfully nurtured in our discussions this past year. We are, in case you weren't aware, a shining example to other poly groups in BC and in North America.

Way to go, folks! Looking forward to celebrating your awesomeness on January 28th.

Polyishly yours,

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