Welcome to the Polyamory Leadership Network
The Polyamory Leadership Network (PLN) is a loose association of about 125 people around the world working to advance public awareness of polyamory — open, ethical, consensual non-monogamy, often flowering into romantic group relationships — as a valid and positive relationship choice for some people. We are working to educate the public and to build skills and resources within the growing worldwide poly community itself.
The PLN has no officers and little structure. Its purpose is to share ideas among members, to help us network and aid each other with our projects, and to set new projects in motion.
Our official common-denominator goal, and our commitment to the poly community, is “To promote acceptance of relationship choice.”
For centuries, certain people and groups have had extraordinary, revelatory experiences with multi-love relationships — leading these people to become passionate about spreading the word that polyamory exists and can work. For some people and intimate groups, poly can create dazzling new ways of life rich in love and joy and wonder — when done with wisdom, honesty, care, insight, and abundant communication all around.
Many of us feel that polyamory represents a remarkable potential deep in human nature that few know exists. Some of us see it as the generalization of romantic couple-love: from the particular, two-person form that everyone knows about into something larger and more fundamental, if much less known.
But people and groups who experienced these revelations, and had this passion, usually found themselves alone in a wide wilderness, with no paths for action in sight.
We hope to start a new era in which such paths are visible and waiting.
The PLN began in October 2008, thanks to volunteers working with Polyamorous NYC who were planning that month’s Poly Pride Weekend in New York. They realized that the weekend was bringing lots of well-known poly activists to the city who had never met. So Polyamorous NYC scheduled a National Polyamory Leadership Summit for right after the weekend’s events. At that meeting, 34 people came together to brainstorm ideas and discuss how next to proceed.
Despite the enthusiasm at that first event, not much happened until the second Summit in February 2009, held right after Loving More’s Poly Living Conference near Philadelphia. That meeting drew 62 people including some by audio hookup. The group brainstormed project ideas — dozens of them! — and formed committees around “point people” who volunteered to work on some of them. Because most of the people attending came from far and wide, it was decided to work via collaborative Google Groups. A main Google Group was set up for general discussions, and several others were created for specific project committees.
In the online discussion following the meeting, the participants decided to name the group the Polyamory Leadership Network — with the understanding that “leadership” simply means “people who do cool things without waiting for permission.” The group makes no claim to speak for anyone else, aside from the fact that people who speak out on any topic will be heard more than those who don't. A similar term would be “movers and shakers” as suggested by members of the Modern Poly group.
The Google Groups approach to running projects had partial success. By the time of the third summit in March 2010 (with 35 attending, again following Poly Living outside Philadelphia), many of the projects from the previous year had died on the vine, but others had come partially or wholly to fruition. It was clear by now that volunteer energy among widely scattered people goes only so far. So this third meeting was designed to identify people’s own current projects; to identify what excites and motivates each person and what they do well (because these are the things that get done); to list the skills and abilities each member offers the rest; and to list Action Items that people would commit to in order to move their own projects forward. And more ideas were launched.
The fourth Summit took place in October 2010 on the outskirts of Seattle (31 attending), again following a Loving More Poly Living conference. We reviewed progress on projects, brainstormed some new ones, brought new members up to speed, and held networking sessions in several formats to match people with others having similar plans, visions, and skills. Discussion sessions focused on four topics in particular:
- poly outreach to the general public and to other alt-sexualty communities;
- dealing with the media;
- fundraising; and
- the Canadian legal case regarding criminalization of polygamy and polyamory.
Since then, the PLN has settled into what seems to be its permanent role: as an active discussion and coordination group for polyactivists building projects or wishing to assist in projects, and for sharing ideas and information toward this end. Most discussions take place on a dedicated PLN Google Group discussion list. Particular projects (such as the PLN Tech Team and the Poly Outreach Committee) have their own spinoff Google Groups. One noteworthy project set up by a PLN activist has been the Polyamory Media Association (PMA) to help out-and-proud polyfolks become skilled, effective public spokespeople for themselves.
Most recently, members held smaller regional PLN meetings in Philadelphia in February 2012 and in Atlanta in March 2012. These smaller regional meetings (about 12 to 20 people) seem to be particularly productive. There are also tentative plans to organize a weekend-long national Summit for October 2013.
Membership in the PLN is by application. Perhaps the best way into the PLN is to do cool poly-awareness activism that attracts our attention, and we invite you. Or, if you’d like to collaborate with other poly leaders on their projects and/or seek help for the projects you are doing, you can complete a new member application. We'll ask you about your poly activist work and vision, your related skills and experience, a personal reference, and a pledge basically to play well with others.
We put value on you being sponsored by one or more existing members of the PLN, though you may certainly apply without this.
Feel free to pass our information to poly activists you may know. We want to create a fertile collaboration zone for everyone who is doing poly activist projects, shares our vision, and works productively with others in a collaborative environment.
So, join us? We're in this for the long haul, and we think we've got a bright future.