What Is Poly Role Models And How Could It Help Poly People?

Cathy: Make sure this is going good. Okay. So alright what is Poly Role Models and how could it help you?
I’m here with Kevin A. Patterson from http://polyrolemodels.tumblr.com/ and I’m Cathy Vartuli from https://theintimacydojo.com/ and Kevin thanks so much for being here.

Kevin: Yeah. Thanks for….thanks for taking the time for having me on.

Cathy: Oh, I’m excited. Could you tell for someone who doesn’t know what poly role models is could you tell them what it is and how you got started?

Kevin: Well it’s a…it’s an interview series where I….I speak to people like real…real-life people who have experienced with polyamory and I ask them you know ask them what they’re good at; I ask them what they’re bad at; I ask them like what they do in terms of safe sex measures; what their like when did…when did they get started; what their structures is if they even have a structure; what their mistakes have been

Cathy: Wow.

Kevin: and what’s actually end up being the most important question is what self-identities are important to them and how do those self-identities impact their polyamory?

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: I’ve got in like some really incredible answers people have spoken about their race, their gender expression, their religion where they’re not they’re unnoticed apparently and you know all these things impact polyamory. I mean when we look at polyamory just sort of the way it’s represented in media

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: it usually looks a certain way. It usually like traditionally attractive, well to do, white cisgendered. It’s very focused on a close triad.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: And things like that so I speak to people about their polyamory and they tell me like an infinite number of things so that when people are looking for polyamory,

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: when people want to find out what is it or is it, they’ll feel boxed out by such unlimited representations.

Cathy: I love that. Thank you so much for doing it because they’re….you’re right. If you looked at media it’s very….it’s a very small demographic and a one…..one way to express themselves and I think I love that people can be creative and find what works for them. How did you start doing this like when did you start it and how….how did it start to evolve?

Kevin: Like it’s….it started like it’s just sort of by accident like I….I taken I taken a lot of media

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: and so there was a weekend where I had or I…..I live with my wife, I live with my wife and my kids and I had two partners spending the weekend. Two partners other than my wife spending the weekend and it was an awesome time for me but like my wife where I hadn’t really get checking in on

Cathy: Oh

Kevin: she….she was upset.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: you know like I wasn’t checking in on with her, she wasn’t really checking in with me and by the end of the weekend when my partner said had gone, we end up having like a huge fight and it was like a really huge like it was like we might have we….were getting ready to like disband and join other families kind of fight. [Inaudible 00:03:13]

Cathy: Like pack your suitcase and leave.

Kevin: Yeah. Yeah and we sorted it out

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: like we….we just have like a really long talk, we process all of our feelings, we…..we picked up of all our all of our mistakes were and then we went to our local polyamory meet up like a….like a week or two later and we told the story what happened there and the organizers said something like “wow, you guys had been doing this for thirteen years. At that time it was like thirteen years

Cathy: Wow.

Kevin: and it’s like fifteen now but you know she said “you’d been doing this for so long and you just don’t find ways to f*cked up and….and make it right and you guys are like poly role models.” And [Inaudible 00:03:54]

Cathy: Oh, wow.

Kevin: Yeah like then and then like I drive home I’ve been thinking that’s….that was a really good label she gave us. I wonder….that’s the thing I can do like imperfect people going polyamory successfully. I mean like there’s…..whenever I talk about Poly Role Model whether it’s my face that’s in it or somebody else who I’ve interviewed with, I’m not expecting perfection in it. People say I don’t feel like a role model like “no, your f*ck ups are as valuable as your success is and people need to know that.”

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: So I spend

Cathy: I love that.

Kevin: Yeah, I….I spend so much of my time figuring out like what kind of format, I spend a lot of time talking to Rebecca Hiles of https://twitter.com/thefriskyfairy and she gave

Cathy: She’s great.

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely and she gave me a lot of help in terms of format and figuring out what questions I wanted to ask and all in all we end up we came up of the idea of this interview series which was like one part Humans of New York and one part Aisha Tyler’s Self-Inflicted Wounds and they can get about polyamory and making it about polyamory.

Cathy: Yeah

Kevin: And then what for it’s designed? I…..I made it a point to wants to showcase marginalized voices. I wanted to have a lot of people with color,

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: a lot of people in…in the LGBT com…community, neurotypical folks, people with disabilities, [Inaudible 00:05:21] folks, these people who….who didn’t normally get representations

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: in terms of polyamory, media representation.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: I want to make sure that their names and their bases were out there and that people wouldn’t see polymory as something that was inaccessible to them.

Cathy: I love that. Thank you so much for doing this because I know it’s…. it’s a labor of love and you put a lot of work into it.

Kevin: And then a labor of money

Cathy: No

Kevin: [Inaudible 00:05:43]

Cathy: Well, I think I think our culture in general people try to pretend their relationships are all good or they

Kevin: Yeah.

Cathy: just bash their exes and there’s not a lot of like how do we work it out and just people sharing the different way the things they run into, just knowing you’re not the only one who had this problem can be like “oh, okay you know they made it through. I don’t know how they did it or and here’s some ideas but it’s not

Kevin: Yeah.

Cathy: the end of the world just because we’re running into this problem.”

Kevin: Yeah. There’s….there’s a sort of respectability politics about telling our good stories

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: So that people know like “yes, this is going to really work, yes, this is going to really work, yes, this is going to really work.” But that’s for people who are on the upside looking in.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: For people who are interested in polyamory, interested in doing it themselves and they’re not on the upside but they’re on the entire, they want to know that they can screw up and that polyamory is not broken.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: That they can be mistaken in their relationships and that their relationship is not broken.
Cathy: It’s not

Kevin: It’s not barely broken.

Cathy: Yeah, it’s not proof that poly is bad and everyone should be an abandoned ship or whatever. So

Kevin: Exactly

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: exactly I mean people….people have their monogamous relationship self-destruct every goddamn day

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: and no one’s ever thinking maybe it’s monogamy thing is the worst one.

Cathy: Well, some of us do you think that there’s a challenge for some people so?

Kevin: Oh, yeah, yeah but I mean people who are hard wired for monogamy or people who prefer monogamy they never question their monogamy when their relationship

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: break up and…and really we shouldn’t be do that with our polyamory either.

Cathy: Yeah. I love people being able to express themselves as they are not having to try to fit in a box that doesn’t fit them.

Kevin: For real.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: Thank you so much.

Cathy: Yeah, Kevin thank you so much! I’d love to come back and ask you a couple other questions if that’s okay?

Kevin: Yeah, absolutely.

Cathy: Yeah. If you’re watching this, video thanks for tuning in. I love what Kevin’s up to. Check out his website, it’s http://polyrolemodels.tumblr.com/ and if you have questions or thoughts or you have a question for Kevin leave it in the comments below we’ll make sure he gets it to them.