‘Polyamorous Black Girl’ battles for acceptance with online blog

Alicia Bunyan-Sampson is working to break down the stigmas surrounding being polyamory.

By Pat Taney

The face of Canadian families is changing. In a series of reports and in an upcoming documentary “Thoroughly Modern Families,” Citytv is looking at non-nuclear families. Households that may not look like the “norm” but are fighting to be seen and heard.

Monogamy means you spend your life with one partner but one woman is on a different path. She chooses to love freely and openly with multiple partners. A path that for her is the right one — but the journey has not been easy.

“It’s a daily battle,” said Alicia Bunyan-Sampson, who lives in Pickering, Ont.

Sampson has fought many battles in life, from racism – “I grew up in the suburbs and I was like one of two black girls” – to now defending her choice of love. “There are continual consequences of my being poly.”

Poly, as in polyamorous, meaning she doesn’t restrict herself with loving one partner. A part of herself that she hid for many years.

“It was kind of something I always put in the back of my mind,” Bunyan-Sampson said. “I told myself, maybe you’re like a little slutty and that’s what this is about. So you just put that away and date the way everybody else does. And I did that. But it never quite worked.”

It wasn’t until she went to college that she found others who shared her feelings.

“I started meeting people who live non-traditional lives, that’s when I learned about polyamory.”

But coming out as poly hasn’t been easy.

“Non-monogamy is seen as a perversion on it’s own. But I think a non-monogamous woman is incredibly perverse for folks.”

As we’ve been reporting this week, acceptance of non-monogamy is growing in society. But for Alicia, there’s another layer of complexity.

“Polyamory and blackness is still something that people are really turned off about,” she said. “It’s a very taboo thing, especially for Black Canadians.”

Bunyan-Sampson spent her life fighting many forms of racism and says for Black girls like her, standing out even more by choosing a polyamorous lifestyle opens the door to more abuse.

“Coming out and saying I have an interest in more than one boy? Right. Let’s put an additional target on my back. I was not trying to do that. So I really, pushed that down for a long time.”

RELATED: Polyamory vs. Polygamy: What sets them apart?

Bunyan-Sampson has met several other Black Canadians like her who have done the same. It’s something Calgary based Attorney John-Paul Boyd, Q.C., noticed in 2017, when he surveyed people identifying as polyamorous for the Vanier Institute of the Family.

“Remarkably, 90 per cent of our respondents self-identified as being Caucasian with European ancestry, which is far disproportionate to the representation of non-whites in Canadian society.”

Bunyan-Sampson is now working to create space for other Black men and women who share her feelings. She blogs about being Black and polyamorous. “My writings are under the name: “Polyamorous Black Girl.”

She also authored a book entitled, “No Filter: Diary of a Polyamorous Black Girl,” where she writes about her journey, struggles and fight for acceptance. They all contain stories she hopes provide a safe place for others struggling to come out.

“I want Black girls like me to be seen,” said Sampson. “At the end of the day I am being honest with myself and writing about it has been therapeutic. I want others to see that just because we love differently, it does not make us perverse.”

In an upcoming documentary on Citytv, Bunyan-Sampson shares more of her story while taking on critics, including her own friends.

“I launched a podcast and my first one will be for this documentary where I invite a good friend, who has concerns about me being poly, onto the show. We’ll have quite the debate,” shared Sampson.

The documentary also dives into other non-traditional families including platonic parenting to parenting in a polyamorous household.

“Veracity: Thoroughly Modern Families” airs Sunday January 30th at 9 p.m. only on Citytv.

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