Activism, Politics, Polyamory

A Momentary Burst of Activism

This morning, I received this email from the Registry of Marriage & Family Therapists in Canada (of which I am a member):

Dear Karen,

Canada’s Election Offers an Opportunity to Educate

Canada’s current federal election provides Marriage and Family Therapists across the country, a unique opportunity to educate and raise the profile of the profession with the candidates. In each constituency, candidates will be asking for opportunities to discuss their positions on a variety of issues they believe to be important in their particular riding. As a member of the Registry of Marriage and Family Therapists in Canada, this is your opportunity to ask the candidates in your riding questions focused on issues of importance to you as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

In order to facilitate this process, we are working on compiling a list of questions and related background information for use with candidates. Please take a couple of minutes to drop us an email at with one or two issues or questions you believe to be important to you as a Marriage and Family Therapist or to your clients. The questions and related background information will be posted on the RMFT website at
My response:

Hi Donna, and thanks for the opportunity to include questions for the candidates!
Because I deal with some vulnerable subcultural groups, one of which is receiving a lot of media attention these days, I do have some questions:

Between the establishment of queer marriage rights and the onset of the media coverage in Bountiful BC, Canadians are being confronted more frequently with the understanding that not all (consenting adult) intimate relationships are between one man and one woman. While there is a slowly-increasing number of therapists who are experienced or trained in dealing with these non-monogamous, non-heteronormative relational structures, government support and resources for mental and medical healthcare seems to be slower in acknowledging that “relationship” and “family” have far broader meanings than they used to. What does the government (federal, provincial, or municipal) see as being the biggest roadblocks to providing adequate ? and equal ? care coverage for extended family households or marriages? How is the government at all levels educating itself around the pervasive existance of these non-traditional but very real family units, without resorting to pathologizing and dismissing them, to the detriment of those constituents who have chosen to live in these unsupported family arrangements?

(Note: Polyamory is, to the poly community, a very different thing than polygamy, particularly religious-based polygamy such as we’re seeing in the media coverage of the FDLS trials in BC. But the public doesn’t often know enough to make the distinction, and we’re finding that lack of informed coverage and cultural differentiation is part of what makes therapy a generally uncomfortable, if not outright hostile, environment to the poly community.)

I very much look forward to reading the participants’ responses, and thanks again for providing the platform to ask the questions.


Karen Grierson

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