Atlanta city council member Liliana Bakhtiari has come out as non-monogamous, sharing they’re in a relationship with two “wonderful” life partners. (Instagram/@lilianaforatlanta)
A queer politician from Georgia has proudly come out as non-monogamous as they introduced the world to their “wonderful” life partners.
Atlanta city council member Liliana Bakhtiari, who is the first queer Muslim to hold an elected office in Georgia, announced she’s been in a loving relationship with her two partners in an interview with NBC News.
Bakhtiari explained that they’ve been with their partner Kris Brown for 10 years before Sarah Al-Khayyal joined the relationship in 2020. The three life partners decided to come out to the world as they soon plan to begin building a family together.
Bakhtiari told NBC that the partners are “openly showing” their relationship and are “proud of it” as they work to break down stigmas about non-monogamy.
“It should be destigmatised,” they said. “It’s a very valid familial structure that people should embrace.”
Bakhtiari, who is also the first non-binary councilmember of a major US city, said it’s been difficult to hide the relationship from the world, but they wanted to come out on their terms instead of a “political opponent” outing them before they were ready.
“This is the sort of thing that a political opponent or someone who has some axe to grind might pick up on and twist around and turn into something negative, and we want to claim it upfront and say this is the best thing about our life,” Brown added.
Bakhtiari explained that she met Brown at a bar in 2012 and was open about being non-monogamous from the beginning of their relationship.
“I was like, ‘That’s cool with me,’” Brown said. “It was the first time that I had been with anyone who didn’t want to be monogamous.”
Brown continued: “For me, it was kind of a relief as well to be like, ‘OK, I don’t have to be this person’s everything all the time. I can be as much of their life as works for us, and we can have this fluidity’, and I really liked the feeling of that.”
Al-Khayyal, who met Bakhtiari through a virtual support group for non-monogamous people, said the trio initially decided to only share their relationship with close friends and family for the safety of their careers.
She said that she knew there would be “some sacrifices” she had to “make being with someone who’s in politics”, but the couple promised to one day share their love with the world.
“But they were clear that there would be a day where we could be out, and that was also important for me,” Al-Khayyal said. “I didn’t want to be in a relationship where I was always going to have to be essentially in the closet.”
Bakhtiari said they knew that coming out as non-monogamous may affect their political career as their term ends in January 2026. But they’re happy to finally be open to the public about their “happy and healthy relationship”.
“If people don’t want to re-elect me because I’m in love with two wonderful people and in a happy and healthy relationship that is possibly the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me, then I’m good,” Bakhtiari said.