for the conference is to serve our non-monogamy community as a whole. Our community includes all genders, ethnicities, sexuality preferences, and varying levels of ability, ages, and experiences. We seek to strengthen our non-monogamous community by relevant educational topics and discussions on non-monogamy, examining privilege and inequality in non-monogamy. We want to create fun and interactive spaces with activities for people to meet, play, and be seen in an inclusive and affirming environment.
In 2016, we (Sara and Kate) found ourselves at a popular non-monogamy conference, and while we were feeling the vibes of being around a bunch of non-monogamous people, we also found ourselves wanting more. We were remarking on how expensive it was to book flights, get a hotel, and pay for a ticket too that we thought, let’s just do our own conference in Tucson! We knew we had a special community full of inspiring and interesting people. We started naming who we already knew that we’d love to hear speak more about specific topics. We were interested in starting small, like a one day event with a few workshops. We put a call out to our group to see who might be willing to help, and we got a handful of volunteers with a lot of good ideas. A few organizers from the Phoenix community got involved and it started to grow. We wanted to keep the vibes really Tucson-like because we love it so much, however, it started growing and we started thinking bigger scale. We decided to try inviting some of the prominent voices in the larger non-monogamy community because we admired what they had to say. We didn’t really know if they’d come to our non-existent conference but we decided to try and to our pleasant surprise, they came! And they told their friends and they came too!
From the beginning we were intentional about inviting speakers and creating a conference program that address the diversity of non-monogamous people. Still so often only privileged cis het white people are being represented in the limited media depictions of non-monogamous people as well as research studies. We wanted to create a space that made room for marginalized voices: BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color), QTPOC (Queer Trans People of Color), people who are disabled, neurodivergent, and asexual. We wanted content that clearly challenges our attendees to question and deconstruct all systems of oppression, not just monogamy. Our second year we saw even more topics and speakers presenting through an anti-capitalist, queer, sex positive, social justice, and trauma informed lens.
In alignment with these values of centering marginalized voices and disrupting the capitalist cis het mono patriarchy, we are committed to paying our invited speakers well. We wanted all of our speakers to feel valued for their work so we set aside 85% of our budget for paying our speakers, something many conferences don’t do. We also knew it was important to make this as accessible as possible, so in our first year we gave out about 25 scholarships with no obligation to volunteer in exchange. The second year we went full sliding scale so everyone paid what they could. We’re still learning how to make this all feasible, and we are excited to see the growing collaborations and community investment in this event.
SW Love Fest is organized by folks in the Tucson and Phoenix area. Spearheaded by Kate Kincaid and Sara Bachman-Williams.