What we're about

Chicago Poly Meetup Group helps facilitate engagement with the local Chicago Polyamory Community, and to meet other supporters of multipartner relationships and families. Talk about open relationships, polyfidelity, and other alternate forms of commitment. Share with others honestly, respectfully, and transparently. Anyone interested in polyamory is welcome!

CPMG is open to all who are polyamorous, poly-curious, and poly-friendly. Note that CPMG represents a subclass of the more general concept of consensual non-monogamy, focusing primarily on committed relationships. This group is not dedicated per se to other forms of non-monogamy and human sexuality such as swinging, recreational sex, etc.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A HOOK-UP GROUP, NOR A PLACE FOR PERSONAL ADS.

We host a wide range of events every month in order to cater to our ever growing poly community right here in our beautiful city of Chicago! This list is ever evolving as our members become organizers and cater to the needs of the community. Currently, meetups include:

· Dinner and Lunch Socials

· Potlucks

· Poly Karaoke

· Support Groups

· Book Discussions

· Movie Nights

· Cocktail Socials

· Cuddle Parties

· Newbie Discussions

· Crafting Get-Togethers

New to polyamory? Check out some references:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory)

We look forward to you Joining Us! ( http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Polyamory/join/ )

CPMG Guiding Principals and Mission:

The culture we are building rests on the values of Agency, Respect, and Collaborative Spirit:

-Agency: Holding space for individuals, their self-identification and support for their self-determination

-Respect: Honoring that everyone has something to contribute and deserves access to a supportive learning environment

-Collaboration: Working together to create mutually satisfactory experiences using active consent

Who is CPMG for?

CPMG brings together people practicing, investigating, and supporting polyamory and non-monogamy. We offer education, community building, and support resources for the people new to polyamory, as well as to those who have decades of experience. As there is no single way to pursue education and support, we encourage members to participate in and / or create events that meet their needs.

Identity and Self Determination

The expression of identity and the respect for self-determination are key parts of the culture that CPMG seeks to promote. We affirm the gender & sexuality expressed by all participants and expect the use of pronouns that support those identities as part of creating an inclusive space. Racist, transphobic, sexist, ageist, ableist, sizest and other marginalizing terms are not welcome.

Modeling Good Consent

CPMG seeks to foster and maintain a culture of consent at the events hosted under our name. The Consent & Harassment Policy is in place at all times and we must all model good behaviors for those around us. We recognize there are power dynamics present in all interactions between people and groups. Empowering people to collaborate without coercion is key in managing these dynamics. Our policy is that no one should assume entitlement, or feel obligated to give away agency. We expect those in positions of authority to have an additional responsibility to model these behaviors, such as:

· CPMG Event Hosts: Event Hosts are expected to model consent during all events. They are accountable for making every effort to ensure informed and ongoing consent when they are hosting an event or interacting with members. In addition, they must acknowledge and show an understanding of the leadership role they are holding as an event host that is present between themselves and attendees. Any participant can revoke consent at any time.

· CPMG Leadership Team: (Organizer, Co-Organizer, Event Organizers, and Event Hosts) represent CPMG and the values we seek to uphold. They are also expected to make every effort to ensure informed and ongoing consent at their events.

· Members: CPMG members, and anyone that members bring with them to events, are expected to contribute to creating a supportive space by practicing consent in accordance with the Consent & Harassment Policy.

Shared Resources

At CPMG events, we come together to learn, share, support, and enjoy ourselves in a shared space. It is important to be mindful that we are all responsible for fostering and maintaining a supportive and inclusive space for all participants. The CPMG Leadership Team is dedicated to assuring that the group is both accessible and diverse so that the needs of all members can be advocated for. If a member has a need, concern, or suggestion, please bring those to a member of the Leadership Team so that they can be addressed in a timely manner.

Mistakes & Intervention – Asking for Help

The definition of a "consent incident" varies from person to person, as every person's needs and experiences are different. That means that consent incidents may look like boundary violations, unwanted PMs or other messages, sexual or physical assault, or behavior like bullying or coercion. Simply put: if an attendee feels a need to speak to someone, the CPMG Leadership Team is available to hear the concern, offer support, understand the people involved in the incident, and connect them with the resources that can reduce trauma, including but not limited to trauma counselors or law enforcement. While we do not have an independent group of support personal in CPMG, our membership is made up a wide assortment of professionals and lay people with experience in mitigating these situations, and there are also files and resources in our Message Board. Our event guidelines, policies, and core principles are designed to promote a safe and fun community for polyamory folks. As such, CPMG reserves the right to whatever response is necessary to protect and support these principles and the members, including but not limited to: restorative processes, removal from the event, notification of other event organizers, and/or involving law enforcement. These responses are outlined further in the CPMG Policies.

In the instance that a CPMG Leadership Team member is involved in the consent violation, that Leadership Team member will be removed from their position pending the completion of the process.

CPMG General Rules of Conduct and Safer Spaces Guidelines

1. Chicago Polymory Meetup Group (CPMG) practices safer space for all who identify as polyamorous / non-monogamous (or those who support or are investigating polyamory). This includes members sexual orientations, gender identities, and other marginalized identities (such as: race, age, ability, class, etc). “Safer space” means using inclusive language that acknowledges the diversity of this group, including diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities. Statements and language that marginalize or assume homogeneity in our audience (such as language that assumes there are no LGBTQ people, no people with disabilites, or no Indigenous/Black/People of Color in this group), or that are offensive toward any historically oppressed group of people will not be tolerated.

2. CPMG advocates open communications with intention, fostering interactive dialogue, facilitating trust, listening to others, and giving and receiving support. We promote ethical behavior that respects the boundaries of others. Any language or behavior that violates informed consent or disrupts civility through the use of abusive or privileged tactics at our events will not be tolerated.

3. CPMG's Meetup space is primarily for members to post their events. The Discussion Forum and Message Boards are also for conversations and posting articles of interest. Dating profiles or requests for partners are not permitted. (Further details about this are outlined in CPMG Policies)

4. Membership in CPMG is granted to individuals subject to review of their introduction questions being answered and ongoing review of their behavior once inside of our community. Allegations of emotional abuse, assault, violations of consent, gross bigotry or other misconduct (inside or outside of relationships) that are properly reported to the Leadership Team will be investigated before action is taken by the CPMG Leadership Team.

5. Complaints against members or leaders of CPMG must be submitted to a Leadership Team Member. If appropriate, a restorative justice process may be used to repair harm and introduce acceptable alternatives. CPMG reserves the right to expel anyone for violation of our Rules of Conduct, unwillingness to engage in a restorative process, or for behavior that is judged to be harmful to our community.

House Rules For All Events

A. Learn – Our events are for learning about polyamory and developing friendships and connections within the community. It is not a play space–therefore nudity, kink, and sex play are not permitted.

B. Open communication – We are all about open and honest communication! Help us to create a space that facilitates trust, where attendees give and receive support to one another. Get to know your fellow attendees by asking respectful questions and listening carefully.

C. Verbal Consent – Please be sure to ask and wait for a yes before hugging or initiating any physical contact, and encourage each other to speak openly about consent and personal boundaries. This helps foster a culture where personal boundaries are supported and attendees are empowered to speak confidently of their limits. (i.e. “Can I give you a hug?” “No thank you, but I would love a handshake.”)

D. Expectations – check them at the door! Being at this event does not signal sexual availability or indicate any aspect of sexual orientation

Respectful behavior toward hosts and guests is required. Anyone who violates these rules may be asked to leave the event.

E. Safer Space – CPMG strives to create a safer space for people of ALL identities, including those who do not identify as polyamorous. No photography, video, or recording of any kind is allowed without prior verbal consent of all parties involved.

CPMG Leadership:

CPMG is led by 3 leadership committees and the Organizer. While the Meetup ToS provides unequal website duties to each title, the CPMG Leadership Team works in as democratic a process as possible. Together, these are the “Leadership Team”.

The Leadership Team is as follows:

Organizer (Meetup title Organizer):

1. This is a 1 year position. Each year, anyone else from the Leadership Team may offer to step up to this position. If someone who is not on the current Leadership Team offers to step up to the Organizer role, they will be expected to go through the same process to join the Leadership Team as any other member.

2. Approves Co-Organizers / Event Organizers under the Meetup ToS and the format of these policies and guidelines.

3. Assures fund-raising / monthly dues are collected from members / Leadership Team members in order to pay the annual fee. Pays the Annual Fee to Meetup.

Online (Meetup title Co-organizers):

1. Deal with the day-to-day and social interactions online platform of meetup.

2. Approves / declines new members, including editing and creating new introduction questions. Moderates acceptable answers to intro questions.

3. The website Discussion Forum and Message Board would be used as a place to grow community and invite people into discussions. Online committee members would be in charge of starting / monitoring monthly or bi-monthly online discussions. These would deal with topics of joy/engagement with multiple partners, topics similar to monthly support group, possibly even mirroring them (staggered before/after), with a strong focus on consent and being aware of personal boundaries and behavior. Emphasis could also be placed on engagement and positive growth of individuals or the non-monogamy / polyamory community as a whole.

Accountability (Meetup title Co-organizers):

1. Deal with crisis events/trauma/ emotional first aid. Make sure leadership group has a good “moral compass”. This group handles the restorative justice process. Responsibility to pay attention to what may be occurring on the meetup boards and discussions.

2. Have input with Online committee for developing content for online discussions.

3. Implementation of these new policies / guide the transition of CPMG to following these guidelines during the 6 month implementation period from September 22, 2019 – March, 2020.

Event (Event Organizers or Event Host):

1. Running events on a once/or semi-regular basis.

2. Responsibility in the Meetup Online community would be focused on their individual events.

3. Event Hosts are regular members who host twice per year or less.

Annual Leadership Team Meetup Event:

The annual meet-up of the Leadership Team will be to:

-review this document, including suggestions collected from members through the Message Board, Discussion Forum, private messages, etc. *Note: Any changes or edits that need to be made immediately to this document (eg, safety concerns, oversite of Leadership, etc) can happen with agreement of ¾ of the Leadership Team.

-review the roles of Leadership Team members

-review the year’s activity

-Leadership Team orientation and social for new Team members

How to Become a Member of the Leadership Team:

Mentor process:

• A clear understanding of what consent is, and different types of consent, as well as being able to determine what consent violations are.

• Ethical character.

• Show willingness to engage in the leadership role you are choosing.

• Have some history with polyamory.

How to remove yourself from leadership:

Send an email announcing the desire to remove themselves from leadership to the main email, which all co-organizers and organizer will have access to. This email need not be made public, but can be if the person resigning so chooses.

Policies:

Consent and Harassment Policy:

CPMG is dedicated to promoting safe and fun events for all members. All activity should be consensual, in both actions and language. Harassment of other attendees or members will absolutely not be tolerated.

All members, including Leadership Team members, are expected to treat others with respect and consideration and agree to abide by the following statements:

-“I will do my best to respect the identities of CPMG members as they are expressed. This includes refraining from non-consensual racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, ageist, ableist, sizeist, or other prejudicial remarks.”

-“I will work towards creating non-coercive consent in all my interactions. Some examples of coerced consent are: following a person(s) around, sending unsolicited PMs (particularly regarding sex or romantic relationships, and pressing for interactions despite receiving multiple rejections or expressions of obvious disinterest.”

-“I will do my best to be thoughtful and aware of my actions and how they affect those around me. I will respect the physical and mental space of other members. This includes my own – I will practice self-care as needed by removing myself from situations that make me feel uncomfortable or unsafe.”

-“I will do my best to hold events as they have been advertised, and to make reasonable efforts to assure the event stays true to the event description.” OR “I will only attend events in the spirit of the event description.”

Consent Violation Policy:

All complaints will be noted within the Accountability Leadership team.

Those who are making complaints (including, but not limited to consent violation complaints) have the following options for reporting:

1. No Action Complaint: Make a complaint with no need for action. This will allow a complaint to be lodged and for Accountability Leadership team to take note of an incident or issue. Multiple offenses from the same person may lead to action being taken outside of this complaint process. This sort of complaint may be made anonymously.

2. Restorative Justice Process: Make a complaint that involves CPMG leadership in a restorative justice manner. This sort of complaint may involve the accuser wishing to remain private, but it will not be “anonymous” as the restorative justice process will involve both the accuser and the accused in an attempt to restore damage done and resolve the issue to the best of CPMGs ability.

a. Find out how the accuser wishes to discuss the matter with the rest of leadership. Do not railroad the accuser. Listen.

b. Follow wishes of what that accuser wants for “justice”, do not suggest “justice”, or tell them what they should be feeling, needing, or how long the process should take. This is not the time to gather evidence.

c. Look to repair harm. Ask all involved to take responsibility and own their actions (including inaction). Make efforts to make sure that the lenses of privilege are minimized (race, gender, class, sexual orientation, ability, etc). Look to take the process back to the group, and include the greater group as a whole as the process is going on. However, this should be a focused goal, of restoring damage done. Make sure that the problematic behavior is not rewarded.

d. The accused should be informed. The committee will determine what being defensive looks like. What is expected of the accuser and what rights and duties do they have, and the same goes for the accused.

e. CPMG will seek professional mediators to facilitate in this process. Both the accuser and the accused will be educated as needed on the restorative justice process by the accountability team.

f. Have the accuser present the information that they wish to present in regards to the consent violation. Be aware that this may take a while. If the accuser is abusing this, by not cooperating in communicating effectively, set a 60 day timeline. This may be tricky because PTSD and abuse triggers do not help in these sorts of situation. Accountability leadership team may reach out to accuser and try to work with them in whatever way might help. Indicate a balance between resolution, and making sure there are no “false accusation”, which only occur at a rate of around 4-8%. Too much credence on “false accusations” should absolutely be avoided.

g. If accuser is interested in discussing matter with accused, have them do so online with a record, or with the accountability leadership team (2 members minimum if possible) in person. If accuser are not willing to discuss the matter directly with the accused, respect that.

h. The accused should listen and take accusations seriously. Defensiveness is understandable, but also can be counter productive in these situations.

3. Complaint through Law Enforcement: Make a complaint that involves law enforcement. CPMG leadership will work with law enforcement to provide material support for any violations that occurred online and at events. Events outside of CPMG-related events are outside of the scope of CPMG, but other supporting documentation may be provided if the accuser requests.

If the accused is in a Leadership Role, they will immediately step down. This will be the start of a process; it is not an admission of guilt. For non-leadership members, the above process will begin immediately, and may include requesting that the member not attend events until the conclusion of the process.

False accusations / embellishments / inventing information will lead to a Restorative Process. Leadership Team members found to be engaging these activities will permanently lose Leadership roles.

Moderation Policy:

Moderation in an online forum (CPMG Discussion Forum or Message Board, or in regards to Private Messages) should be done as light-handedly as possible. Individuals are responsible for their own behavior, and their own discomfort. Saying “no” to something being done that makes a member uncomfortable is preferable to not saying anything, and then later filing a complaint with a moderator.

Core Principles of Online Spaces

Transparency

Accountability

Safety

Every moderation action taken by any member of leadership should keep the Core Principals in mind. Only Spam posts shall be deleted (see Spam definition), unless there is strong agreement from the majority of the Accountability Team (or the Leadership team as a whole). There should be a strong reason for this (or it should be determined to be spam as listed in our Definitions), and this reason will be shared with the members of the group.

Sometimes things will be heated online (as in real life). As long as there is a purpose behind an online argument, and it follows the Meetup ToS, it will generally be allowed to continue. If the conversation becomes too threatening or harmful, then a thread may be locked without stating a reason for up to 24 hours while the Leadership Team determines how to proceed. Anything longer than a 24 hour lock shall require the Leadership member who locked the thread to indicate what they are locking, why, and when the thread will be re-opened. With very rare exceptions (following the judgment of the Accountability Team as a whole), threads shall be re-opened within 7 days of being locked.

The Meetup ToS shall take precedence in all instances involving the Meetup.com Website.

Moderation warnings:

Those involved in behavior that the Accountability Leadership team finds to be problematic may lead to warnings. This sort of behavior from a member can be considered “Flaming”. Repeated warnings may lead to a banning.

Bannable Offenses Policy:

Spam is a bannable offense on the first instance. Most other offenses will not be automatic bans, and will involve the discretion of the Accountability Leadership team. Trolling can be a Bannable offense, especially if it is used in a way that involves retaliation or attempts to usurp democratic involvement in group policy.

Consent violations shall be taken very seriously and may lead to a permanent ban, however the goal of making sure restorative justice is taken in these instances when possible, is to not just “kick out” people who have problematic behavior. Consent violations don’t simply disappear, nor do the people responsible for this behavior vanish. If the behavior is not corrected and the community not restored, then the problematic behavior simply moves elsewhere. The goal of CPMG is to restore the community following actions that have had a detrimental effect on the group. While we are not a court or place with legal standing, we are a community that takes these sorts of offenses very seriously. We are fallible, but aim to make our community and the larger society a better place whenever possible. As with polyamory in general, this often involves difficult conversations. Repeat consent violations will be grounds for a ban.

Definitions:

Calling In:

Calling In is a method of problem resolution that involves effort on the part of the offended party (or an advocate) to engage someone making an offense to have a conversation and be involved in a restorative process.

Here’s a few ways to start a form of Calling In within a conversation around topics that might be offensive to members of the poly community:

-“I noticed you used the word ‘ghetto’ when you were talking about that woman’s hair. What did you mean by that?”

-“I don’t understand the joke you just told, can you explain it to me?”

-“What does “not normal” mean to you in regards to what you were expressing about Polyamory?”

-“Why do you believe that bisexual women (or men) are ‘playing both sides’”?

Calling Out:

This is an attempt to confront inappropriate action, and will typically involve a public element to it. The aim is to get a person engaging in oppressive behavior to cease their behavior, and make amends. This typically takes less emotional involvement than “calling in” and often appears more confrontational. Both Calling Out and Calling In have their purpose and can be valid means of dealing with forms of oppression and inappropriate behavior.

Consent:

Consent is the receipt of permission for physical or sexual contact of any sort as well as permission to share identifying information. As most CPMG are public events, sexual contact is not permitted at them, as per the CPMG event rules. However, sexual contact outside of a CPMG event shall still always involve consent. Consent is typically and preferably obtained verbally from someone that you do not know well, and even with those you do. Non-verbal consent may be appropriate with people you know well, or under certain conditions, such as within a kink dynamic, but should be taken very seriously regardless.

Flaming:

Purposefully inciting conflict or arguments, for the sake of it. Flaming may result in a warning, but is not a bannable offense. Repeated or excessive Flaming can be seen as Trolling (which is a bannable offense).

Harassment:

Harassment includes repeated interactions that annoy, threaten, or intimidate other members. Harassment may include such things as following a person around, sending unsolicited PMs (particularly regarding sex or romantic relationships), and pressing for interactions despite receiving rejections or expressions of obvious disinterest.

Polyamory:

The definition for Polyamory is diverse and there is much debate over it. However, polyamory typically involves the concept of multiple partners in a consenting and non-monogamous setting, often with levels of commitment seen historically within monogamous relationships in the US and many western countries.

Spam:

Spam is any advertising for things that have nothing to do with Polyamory (penis enlargement, other websites that have nothing to do with polyamory or polyamory-related events, stocks and bonds, and other clearly inappropriate sales tactics often involving suspicious actors looking to collect financial or personal information on members. This behavior shall result in an immediate ban.

Trolling:

Trolling may include making a puppet account (for the purposes of deceiving anyone in the group, including Leadership). This can include making repeated hook up posts, repeated PMs to someone (or the same sort of PM to multiple people without a event-related purpose). Trolling may be a bannable offense.

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