Multi-parent families and the fight for legal recognition

How polyamorists and polygamists make the case for moving beyond the two-parent family

I’ve been delighted to see major publications increasingly covering alternative family structures lately. As I’ve talked about before, social norms around monogamous marriage and the nuclear family have created a lot of internal struggle for me. The rigidity of these structures — the expectation that life includes marriage, the judgment we hold toward who those who don’t conform — has made it challenging for me to feel into what relationship structures actually work for me. For a while, I assumed that if I wanted to live outside these norms, I’d have to accept being seen as a weirdo. But now it seems these ideas are making their way from the fringes into the mainstream.

An article in this week’s edition of the New Yorker, “How Polyamorists and Polygamists Are Challenging Family Norms,” takes a peak into the lives of several different multi-parent families who are making the case for expanding our definition of family. Fascinatingly, the article examines two very different perspectives: polygamous families who, in the formerly-Mormon tradition, invite men to have more than one wife, and polyamorous families who embrace nontraditional structures of all sorts.

The article is a great read, and as a nonmonogamous person myself, I felt a thrill seeing poly families get their moment in the spotlight. In particular, reading about a polycule of young folks who are building a queer-utopic home together on a big property in Ulster Park, New York, made my heart sing. Maybe someday soon these nontraditional family structures won’t be considered all that weird. Maybe the next generation will grow up in a world where they feel free to choose the structures that work for them — and ditch the ones that don’t.

In the meantime, we weirdos will trek on, turning our utopian dreams into reality.

Read the New Yorker article here.