Atlanta Poly Weekend was held a few weeks ago. A great time was had by all. Many new faces, lots of returning friends.
I was grateful to be included not only as a staff member this year but additionally as a presenter. 2 gave solo classes, 1 joint class and was on a panel discussion.
I gave a class on the struggles that we can face in hierarchy set relationships and how to navigate around them as well as strategies for avoiding them all together. My second class was abut coming out. Who, why, what, and when.
Both classes were well attended and I had a very fun and open group of people that shared a lot of experiences.
The joint class I gave was with co creator Rose Hagalaz. She and I had an idea for a discussion about the generational gap in the greater non-monogamy movement and what the driving force behind it is. We came away with a great deal of input, knowledge and some reassuring of our own thoughts. But the biggest point that we made and others agreed with was that we should be working to unite the different relationship styles, discuss our commonalities and where we can work together. Not pushing each other away because we have different philosophies.
My panel discussion on the Poly in the Media with Co-panelists, Tikva Wolf and Joreth, was really big. It had a great turn out (about 20 folks) and we had a wonderful time discussing and chatting different media coverage. How to protect ones self in the media, and from the media. We all shared experiences and watched a few videos to compare how the media can spin your story.
My Coming out class was the best one yet. I say that every time but really, it gets better each and every time I give it. This particular time after the class I had a person come up and discuss with me the desire to come out to her children as she no longer wants to hide her true self from them. This was a great moment in my teaching times… I inspired a person to take a leap and act on something I had taught. And thats all it takes for me, is if one person walks away with one thing that I said and it inspires them to do one thing in their life that helps them my class was a success. I will soon be making a list of techniques for coming out to folks but in the mean time should anyone need help talking to a loved one, there is a book out now called “When Someone you love is Polyamorous.” Its a fairly basic info book to give to them or read with them so they can have a better understanding and develop questions.
My other class was “There is no Winning in Polyamory” I may tweak the title of this one as it evolves. It was an early morning class and was only attended by a handful of folks. We did get to discuss the topic in a free form manner and bounce ideas around about what hierarchy is, how it is sometimes done in an unethical manner and how to avoid that. We concluded that relationships are more positive and healthy when they are prescriptive rather than descriptive. Descriptive relationships take away the agency of the individuals and allow for social scripting and expectations to drive the relationships. Prescriptive relationships give the individuals the power and information they need to build the relationship together, making it more fulfilling for them. Just a thought.
Other happenings at APW 2016: The hotel was new. A last minuet sale by the previous property management group forced the directors to find a new venue with only 45 days remaining in their prep time. KUDOS to the Sheraton Atlanta Downtown for working with the directors and assisting with hosting their wonderful event on such short notice. If you haven’t been this hotel is beautiful. Its all been recently renovated and it really is a nice hotel.
By the numbers APW 2016 looked like this:
Total Attendees- 226 (thats up in attendance from last year by 34 people I think. )
Presenters: 30, Staff: 15,Merchants: 7,Volunteers: 2,Sponsors: 2,Community Organizations: 10, Hotel Room Nights 101, Hospitality suites 2.
Atlanta Poly Weekend again supported Lost N Found Youth of Atlanta with a charity auction. Relationship Equality Foundation, APW host organization, Matched the first $1000.00 and a total donation of over $2400.00 was made to the organization.
Next years dates have been announced along with a brand new website design for Atlanta Poly Weekend June 2-4, 2017 Again will be hosted at the Sheraton Atlanta Downtown. Current registration is $50.00 for adults. Pricing will increase to $75.00 as the event gets closer. Make sure you get your tickets soon! I hope to see you there in 2017!