eNMCI 2021


24 – 25 – 26 September 2021

Please note that all times are in London/Lisbon summer time (UTC+1). See The Time Zone Converter if you need to know when that will be on your timezone!

Check all our presenters’ bios here!


11:30 — 13:00 Panel 1: CNM, pandemics, environment and ecological politicshttps://www.youtube.com/embed/AG9fsWagF7Q?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

COVID-19 and the Need for Exclusive Choice: Corona Crisis and Intimate Relationships

Andrea Newerla

Dangerous Liaisons – Alternative Intimacies in Israel in the Time of Covid-19

Leehee Rothschild

Promiscuous Care and Pandemic Intimacies amongst Gay and Bisexual Men

Jamie Hakim

14:30 — 16:00 Panel 2: Decentering CNM Whiteness – Decolonial and anti-racist perspectiveshttps://www.youtube.com/embed/Y4O4L4G2RZM?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

Decolonial perspectives on consensual non-monogamy

Yin Paradies

Distal to Proximal: Decentering whiteness via the intersectional prism

Zayna Ratty

Non-monogamy in the Black American community

Crystal Byrd Farmer


11:30 — 13:00 Panel 3: Parenting Paradigms – CNM challenges to mononormativityhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/wMzECs8ltaE?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

Polyamorous Families: Findings Across Continents and Decades

Eli Sheff and Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli

Multiple parentings and multiple conjugalities: transformations and challenges

Duína Porto

14:30 — 16:00 NMCI get-together: free-form discussion and debate, moderated by NMCI volunteers


11:30 — 13:00 Panel 4: Communities of Care – Trauma, In/exclusion and Non-violencehttps://www.youtube.com/embed/i6OA-cxpiyM?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

Sick and tired of being sick and tired (cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances)

Suryia Nayak

Re-imagining narratives of intimate violence: PhotoVoice inquiries with queer non/monogamous communities in Lethbridge, Canada (cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances)

Jaisie Walker

Caring communities for marginalized populations within a polyamory organization

Michelle Vaughan

14:30 — 16:00 Panel 5: Global South and Latinx existences – NMCI2022 presentationhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/UEkcllGkvaM?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

Santiago de Chile Team

Natalia Guerrero, Directora Escuela Transdisciplinaria de Sexualidades

Sergio Fiedler, Académico de la Universidad de Playa Ancha, UPLA

Yesenia Alegre Valencia, (c) Doctora en Estudios Interdisciplinarios sobre Pensamiento, Cultura y Sociedad de la Universidad de Valparaíso



Andrea Newerla

The lecture presents results of a qualitative study conducted in Germany in the second half of 2020: 18 people who were in no or more than one partnership at the time of the survey were interviewed about their intimate practices in the Corona crisis. The interactions between Corona public sphere(s) and these practices are the focus of the analysis: the need to limit physical-close contacts to an absolute minimum, distance bans and the closure of public meeting spaces had an impact on the structures of intimate relationships. The interviews show that public images and narratives have effects on which physical-close contact was perceived as legitimate and which was not. For example, questions from the interviewees revolve around the necessity of dating in the Corona pandemic: Is it necessary to meet new persons in the crisis? What about my multiple intimate relationships, can everyone continue to meet everyone? People who ask themselves these questions are encouraged in the crisis context not to answer them for themselves alone. They are also encouraged to relate their own actions to the social responsibility they have in dealing with the pandemic.
For this reason questions about intimate relationships and physical proximity are posed differently. For example, while Illouz (Why Love Hurts) states in her analysis of love that non-choice — not having to choose someone — is a free expression of modern subjectivity, these subjects in the Corona crisis context, on the other hand, are faced with the necessity of making a choice: they must choose with whom they want to share physical closeness, and their choice must be small. These experiences are new for many people, especially those who have chosen to practice diverse forms of intimate relationships (e.g. non-monogamous relationships). How their intimate practices have changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic will be discussed during the presentation.


Leehee Rothschild

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a proliferation of discourses and regulations concerning separation, capsulation and isolation that often reinforced traditional conceptions in relation to the centrality of the couple and the mononormative family. In Israel Covid-19 regulations situated the couple and the couple-centred family, as the main social unit around which lockdowns had been organised. The state ignored other forms of intimate citizenship, which required polyamorous and queer people, living in non-normative intimate formations to make some tough decisions on how to administrate their relationships at the time of the pandemic.
This presentation explores the practices and the experiences of adult Israeli individuals, living in non-normative intimate constellations, during the pandemic. It is based on qualitative research involving individual and group semi-structured interviews and textual analysis of legal documents, including state-regulations concerning interpersonal relationships at the time of Covid-19.
I will open with a discussion of intimate citizenship in Israel at the time of Covid-19 and the reinforcement of mononormativities. I then, show that the most common response to the mononormativity of the Covid-19 regulations within polyamorous and queer circles was the construction of individual forms of ‘ethical civil disobedience’ that adapted the regulations to include alternative intimacies. Finally, I move on to discuss the beneficial aspects of alternative intimacies at the time of the pandemic. I indicate that non-couple-centred choices, in regard to housing and child-rearing, contributed to the resilience of individual, intimate and familial relationships, during lockdowns, by providing options of space and separation, alongside poly-affective support networks.


Jamie Hakim

In this paper I bring together two bodies of work to explore the ethics of non-monogamy, care and intimacy during the coronavirus pandemic. I begin by outlining the concept of ‘promiscuous care’, which was developed in the co-authored The Care Manifesto (2019). Drawing on Douglas Crimp’s definition of promiscuity, which emphasised multiplication and experimentation of sexual practices beyond mononormative, hetero-reproductive models and which went on to save lives during the AIDS crisis, promiscuous care is a call to similarly multiply and experiment with models of care beyond the shrivelled forms which prevail today. In the second part of this talk I bring this concept to bear on empirical work carried out as part of the ESRC funded ‘Digital Intimacies: how gay and bisexual men use their smartphones to negotiate their cultures of intimacy’. The interviews carried out for this project took place during the coronavirus pandemic and its various physical distancing restrictions. Participants therefore reflected on how they negotiated their different cultures of intimacy at a time when it was prohibited to get closer that one metre (plus) to someone from outside your household. These arrangements privileged monogamous, co-habiting partners, and provided a series of challenges to anyone else who deviated from that norm. I home in on interviews with two non-monogamous participants, one who felt unable to practice any form of physical intimacy under the pandemic restrictions, and one who, alongside five ‘sex buddies’, collectively negotiated a range of strategies that helped them maintain physical intimacy with principles of harm reduction in mind. I use these interviews to argue that far from reckless, irresponsible hedonists (as gay men are so often portrayed in relation to non-monogamy), these non-monogamous practices constitute a form of ‘promiscuous care’ that enabled my participant and his sex-buddies to sustain their lives in pandemic conditions.


Crystal Byrd Farmer

Black Americans have a historical and cultural connection to non-monogamy that is not often represented in narratives about non-monogamy. How have Black relationships been shaped by polygamy, Christianity, slavery, and Black nationalism, and what are the unique challenges that Black Americans face when interacting with the predominantly white and middle class non-monogamous cultures?


Zayna Ratty

How can we decenter whiteness in CNM when facets of the intersectional prism exists distal to our awareness?
How societally conditioned tropes of race and ethnicity facilitate fetishization, objectification and gatekeeping and where they sit within a colonialised historical context of relational procedure. How decentering from the axis requires an intersectional conversation about class, ableism, age, capitalism and patriarchy.
Using my relational ethnicity map and Sullivan’s self-system, during this presentation we will aim to bring those facets into proximal awareness and highlight selective inattention to the intersectional prism in CNM. How our self-system and Moore’s Paradox intersect to prevent us from having our beliefs challenged and how we can avoid anxiety through a lens of proximal awareness.


Yin Paradies

This panel presentation will focus on consensual non-monogamy (CNM) within the broader varieties of contemporary non-monogamies. I will consider the whiteness of CNM, explore the various foci of monogamy, as well as CNM in pre-colonial history, before examining key aspects of modern coloniality and decolonial perspectives and futures. I will conclude by braiding together decolonial invitations and challenges with a questioning of consent as a focal paradigm, and an initial articulation of CNM as sacred and wild sexuality.


Eli Sheff & Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli

Drs. Sheff and Pallotta-Chiarolli will first introduce their studies on polyamorous families and briefly summarize their independent findings, noting the significant areas of overlap among the findings of the studies. Next, Dr. Sheff focuses in greater depth on polyamorous parents’ collective “free range parenting” practices. Then, Dr. Pallotta-Chiarolli provides a brief in depth overview of ​the intersections of Indigeneity, ethnicity, and religion in her findings. Finally, the presentation closes with questions.


Duína Porto

The “Parenting Paradigms” panel seeks to advance the discussion around the social acceptance and juridical recognition of non-normative families under the Western mononormative standard. In a postmodern contemporary world marked by diversity – of identities, relationships, affective bonds, modes of parenting and familiar arrangements – the debate must per force foreground issues around Human Rights, Family Rights, and cisheteromononormativity. Stemming from a Brazilian perspective, and considering the paradoxical social resistance to recognizing polyamorous unions side by side with a growing acceptance and protection of polyparenting, we will reflect about the multiplicities, possibilities, contradictions and consequences of affective bonds.


Jaisie Walker

Seven collaborators in this research used PhotoVoice, a visual participatory action methodology, to explore the complexity of violence as it is lived, represented, and (re)defined in the context of queer non/monogamous communities in Lethbridge, Canada. Critically engaging with the themes of neoliberalism and the intersections of power and identity that often shape spaces of non/monogamies, collaborators considered prevailing narratives of violence within their communities, and how these narratives challenge or sustain conventional gender-based heteronormative models of relationship violence. Through the participatory process, collaborators troubled what constitutes and qualifies violence, how violence is talked about, and made more explicit connections between interpersonal, community, and state violence. Their complex and unfolding stories generated visual conversations that they organized into themes: “rethinking violence,” “acceptable forms/stereotypes/ expectations of queerness,” “labour, needs, and boundaries,” “hierarchies,” and “creating change.” Collectively, these themes delineate the unmistakable bond between liberal ideas of political emancipation, and the often obscured violences felt in contexts of supposed freedom. With communities of care at the forefront, this research draws particular attention to the dichotomous language of victimization and perpetration, identity-based abuse tactics, contractual models of consent, and both hierarchical and egalitarian ideals, creating entry points for people to re-envision the reliance of their communities on conventional gender-based heteronormative models of relationship violence, and allowing all non/monogamous folks to engage with our experiences in ways that honour the fullness of their complexity.


Michelle Vaughan

This discussion will highlight opportunities, missteps and challenges in building on knowledge of trauma and experiences of marginalization polyamory in creating and maintaining caring communities within a polyamory non-profit social organization. Integrating the importance of policies and procedures that center safety for members of marginalized groups, creating a diverse board of directors and soliciting ongoing community feedback around both in-person and virtual events, Dr. Vaughan will discuss how a social/educational non-profit in Ohio, USA has strived to create safer spaces within the context of cisheteropatriarchy, white supremacy, classism and ableism. Opportunities and issues around access access, donations/dues, addressing harmful language and assumptions and addressing formal and informal concerns regarding harmful behavior will be discussed as well as leadership and meeting facilitation within a board largely comprised of white, queer women with varying privileges and experiences of lived oppression.


Suryia Nayak

Are you ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired’? (Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964). The starting point of this paper is ‘caring for [ourselves] is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare’ (Lorde, 1988: 131). The question is how do we create communities of care in our contexts of intersectional racist trauma, exclusion, and violence? How do we realize our vision, desires, and yearnings for inclusive, peaceful, loving communities of care? What we do know is that ‘survival isn’t theoretical, we live it everyday. We live it on the streets, we live it in the banks, we live it with our children’ (Greene, 1989:183) and ‘those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. (Lorde, 1979:112; emphasis in original).
This paper offers a Black queer feminist model of communities of self-care practice based on three intersecting principles from the work of Audre Lorde.
· The first principle: ‘choosing areas where your energy is most effective’ (Lorde, 1988: 64-5).
· The second principle: ‘the transformation of silence into language and action’ (Lorde, 1977a).
· The third principle: ‘learn to love the power of your feelings, and to use that power for your good’ (Lorde, 1977b: 37-38).
The triangulated synergy of these principles forms a mutually constitutive relationship, which releases a multiplication effect, a power greater than taking each principle individually. The primary strategy of these principles is mutual collective sharing of experience, where ‘the intersections of [our] stories’ (Davies, 2016: 136) create the ‘intersectionality of [our] struggles’ (ibid: 144).

Keynote Speakers

This space has information on upcoming and past keynote speeches at the NMCI Conferences



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2017-2021 research assistant at Institute of Sociology, Department of Social and Cultural Sciences JLU Gießen.
2012-2016 Evaluation of the Hessian model project „Dementia: discharge in the gap / network analysis and local network development“, Institute of Sociology, Department of Social and Cultural Sciences JLU Gießen
2012 Dr. phil with dissertation about interactions between care home stuff and people with dementia („Über das Regieren der Demenz. Wie sozialpolitische Rahmenbedingungen Handlungsstrategien professioneller Pflegekräfte in der Pflegepraxis von Menschen mit Demenz beeinflussen“), Philipps-University Marburg and Bielefeld University
2007-2010 Doctoral Student, DFG (German Research Foundation) Research Training Group “Group Focused Enmity“, Philipps-University Marburg and Bielefeld University (2004-2007)
2006 Master of Sociology, JLU Gießen


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Leehee Rothschild is a PhD candidate in Manchester Metropolitan University, this presentation is part of their PhD project Queer and Polyamorous Families in Practice – Housing Choices, Child-rearing and Law, supervised by Dr. Christian Klesse, Dr. Kay Lalor and Dr. Daniel Cardoso They completed their MA Cum Laude in Ben Gurion University, under the supervision of Dr. Amalia Ziv.. An article based on their MA dissertation Compulsory Monogamy and the Polyamorous Existence was published in the Graduate Journal of Social Science, as part of the special issue proceeding the first NMCI. Their current research was recently awarded the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Award for its contribution to Jewish Women and Gender Studies. In addition to her academic work, Leehee has been an activist and organiser in the Israeli polyamorous and queer communities for many years.


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Jamie Hakim is a lecturer in culture, media and creative industries at King’s College, London. His research interests lie at the intersection of digital cultures, intimacy, embodiment and care. His book Work That Body: Male Bodies in Digital Culture was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2019. He is principle investigator on the ESRC funded ‘Digital Intimacies: how gay and bisexual men use their smartphones to negotiate their cultures of intimacy’, which is partnered with sexual health organisations the Terrence Higgins Trust, London Friend and Waverley Care (www.uea.ac.uk/digital-intimacies). He’s also co-investigator on the AHRC funded ‘Public Health Messaging during the COVID Pandemic: Dating App Usage and Sexual Wellbeing among Men Who have Sex with Men’. As part of the Care Collective he has co-authored The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence (Verso, 2020).


Crystal Byrd Farmer is a speaker and writer active in the US polyamory community. She is the former editor of Black & Poly, an organization promoting healthy polyamorous relationships for people of color. Her book The Token: Common Sense Ideas for Increasing Diversity in Your Organization is out now. Crystal is passionate about encouraging people to change their perspectives on diversity, relationships, and the world.


Zayna Ratty (She, Her) is an LGBTQIA+, GSRD (Gender, Sex & Relationship Diversity), Polyamory, Race & Ethnicity Hypno-Psychotherapist, ACT Practitioner, presenter, columnist, and trainer based in Oxfordshire, UK.
She’s a Pink Therapy GSRD awareness endorsed trainer, was the 1st PoC Chair of Oxford Pride and Diversity & Equalities Officer at The National College of Hypnosis & Psychotherapy.
Zayna has over 1000 hours of client work and experience in her specialisms of race, ethnicity and GSRD. She contributes her knowledge as a regular columnist to both OxMag and Fyne Times and she is also co-host of the Beyond Monogamy with Zayna and Jonathan podcast.
She regularly delivers diversity training, mental health consultancy services and education to a wide variety of corporations.
An advocate for raising awareness of marginalised groups within society, Zayna has been twice nominated for the National Diversity Awards Positive Role Model (LGBT+) in both 2019 and 2020.
Zayna’s charity, diversity consulting work and private therapeutic practice explore how race, gender, sexuality and relationship diversity create a prism of intersecting identities.


Professor Paradies is Chair in Race Relations at Deakin University. He conducts research on the health, social and economic effects of racism as well as anti-racism theory, policy and practice across diverse settings, including online, in workplaces, schools, universities, housing, the arts, sports and health. He also teaches and undertakes research in Indigenous knowledges and decolonisation. He has authored over 200 publications, delivered over 250 presentations, is an invited reviewer for more than 100 journals, and has been an investigator on more than 50 grants, worth over $30 million.


Dr. Elisabeth “Eli” Sheff is a researcher, expert witness, coach, speaker, and educational consultant. With a PhD in Sociology (University of Colorado, Boulder, 2005) and certification as a Sexuality Educator from the AASECT (the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, 2012), Dr. Sheff specializes in gender and sexual minority families, consensual non-monogamy, and kink/BDSM. Sheff is the foremost academic expert on polyamorous families with children, and her 20+ year Polyamorous Family Study is the only longitudinal study of poly families with children to date. Currently lecturing at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, Sheff has also taught at the University of Colorado, University of Montana, Georgia State University, Oglethorpe, Emory, and the University of Zurich. Sheff co-chairs the Consensual NonMonogamies Legal Issues Team for the American Psychological Association, Division 44. Dr. Eli is also editing a series of books on diverse sexualities, genders, and relationships with Dr. Richard Sprott and the publishers Rowman & Littlefield. In collaboration with three colleagues, Dr. Eli developed The Bonding Project, a test people can take to explore their preferred bonding styles.


For over 30 years, Maria has been an academic, author, activist and ally in the issues and intersections of cultural diversity, gender and sexual diversity, relationship and family diversity. She is considered to be the first Australian person to research and publish about polyamory, consensual non-monogamy and bisexuality, beginning in 1992.
An Honorary Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Deakin University and with her consultancy, GSE Tapestry Consulting, Maria espouses decolonising research and writing projects, training and advocacy that are empowering and capacity-building for the communities and organisations she works for and with, and creating respectful and dynamic collaborative approaches. Maria’s current research is with First Peoples of Australia with Southern European heritage, exploring the contestations and connections between colonialism, racism and multiculturalism.
Apart from journal articles, her publications include research and narrative on NMCI: Love You Two (2008 Lambda Literary Award); Border Sexualities, Border Families in Schools (2011 Lambda Literary Award); Bisexuality in Education: Erasure, Exclusion by Inclusion and the Absence of Intersectionality (2016 USA Bisexual Book Award); and Women in Relationships With Bisexual Men: Bi Men By Women (2017 shortlisted for Lambda Literary Award).


Duina Porto holds a PhD in Human Rights and Development from the Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB), Brazil. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled “The legal recognition of polyamory as a consensual multiconjugality and family structure”. As a law professor at UFPB, with particular reference to Family Law, she has focused her research interests on the conjugality, parenting and other socio-legal issues of family relationships within the Brazilian State.


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Jaisie Walker (they/them) is a white, queer, non-binary, monogamish researcher, activist, friend, and community educator, living and working on the lands of the Omamiwininiwag (Algonquin people), colonially known as Ottawa, Canada. They are currently the Senior Researcher in the Health policy team at the Native Women’s Association of Canada where they coordinate anti-colonial gender-based research relating to Indigenous health priorities. Jaisie completed a Master of Arts in Gender Studies at the University of Lethbridge in 2020, where their thesis on intimate violence in queer rural non/monogamous communities was awarded several grants for research excellence including the Parkland Institute Graduate Research Award, and two SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarships. Jaisie’s research and work is guided by their decade of non-profit leadership and frontline expertise working in domestic violence shelters, harm reduction housing, sexual health centres, and 2SLGBTQ+ peer support and education.


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Michelle Vaughan, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is a licensed psychologist, researcher, author, non-profit organizer and educator. She serves as the Executive Director of PolyColumbus, in Columbus, Ohio (USA) an Associate Professor in the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio (USA) and co-chairs several committees for the Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy within Division 44 of the American Psychological Association. Her scholarship focuses on strengths-based work on CNM, queer and transgender people, including the forthcoming Handbook of CNM-Affirming Clinical Practice from Rowman & Littlefield in summer of 2022.


Dr. Suryia Nayak is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at University of Salford and Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the School of Health and Society. She is a qualified social worker and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and group analyst. Suryia has over 40 years of Black, queer feminist activism in ending violence against women, services for Black, Asian and racially minoritized women and girls and forced migration.  Suryia applies models of liberation based on intersectionality to the psycho-political impact of oppression. Suryia has extensive experience as a clinical supervisor, with expertise in attachment, trauma, and loss.