Graduation Date

Fall 12-16-2016

Grading Professor

Yoruba Richen

Subject Concentration

Urban Reporting

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


About 10 percent of Americans identify as polyamorous, defined as having multiple love affairs within a single relationship. Those relationships are as diverse as they are complicated with some ranging from having multiple people within a relationship to a couple having outside individual relationships.

Within the gay world, polyamory and open relationships has become a norm, and within the gay fetish scene it’s almost a requirement.

But polyamory has its own set of complications legally. Because in America we have a system where only one person can receive benefits (be it through marriage or blood), there are complications if, say, a three-person relationship loses a partner in death. What then happens to the two partners? Is there a system in place?

My film follows a group of nine men within the fetish scene who all consider each other family — stronger than a bond of blood, they grew their family through their fetish. They are self-identified pups, and they consider their group to be a pack. Within that pack there is structure and hierarchy, just as you’d find in any family. And just like in any family you’d also see their bonds are built through kinship, tradition and passing down values.

But there is nothing in place that legally recognizes their family. I follow the leader of the pack, who was deeply affected by a passing of one of his pups, and realized that if something were to happen to him, none of his pack would be protected.

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