On October 27th, 2012, Rebecca presented her “Metamour Intensive” workshop to a packed room at that year’s Transcending Boundaries Conference. At the time, I tweeted that it was “life changing.” Now, a little over a year later, I can say that, in fact, it was.

If you care about having relationships—not just romantic relationships, or polyamorous relationships, but any relationships with other human beings—this is the video you have to watch to find a “missing piece” you won’t get from either mainstream relationship self-help books or poly community meetings across the world.

Rebecca described her workshop as follows:

As polyamorous folks, we talk a good game about our relationships with our “metamours”: people with whom we have a partner or partners in common. For many of us, a cornerstone of our polyamory is having caring, appreciative, and mutually-supportive metamourships. But poly communities don’t talk much about HOW we develop and maintain these relationships. Meanwhile, mainstream culture tells us that our lover’s other lover is someone we should dislike and distrust. How do we make the leap from “threat” to “family member”? How do we stay connected to our metamours when relationship troubles hit? Why do metamour relationships even matter? In this hour-long Metamour Intensive, we’ll dig deep into the nature of having and being a metamour. Drawing on the challenging work of Franklin Veaux, Maymay, and David Jay, we’ll discuss what metamour relationships are and WHY we don’t talk about them enough; share concrete strategies for building and facilitating healthy, fulfilling, stable metamour relationships; and untangle how normative cultural programming gets in our way. By the end, you will understand why strong metamour-relating skills are important not just to polyamory but for social justice work as a whole.

Some of this material stems from conversations Rebecca and I had in preparation for my own speech, “From Triads to Triadic Relationships,” and if you’re curious about this work’s antecedents, check out that post, as well as Rebecca’s presentation notes. But I’m glad this piece is Rebecca’s solo work, and grateful to be able to feature it here.

In typically generous style, she titled it “Metamour Intensive.” I would’ve titled it, “Everything everybody ever told you about relationships is wrong.” The video and full transcript of her session is below.

REBECCA CRANE: I am going to talk to you all for a little while about a very interesting kind of relationship. And then I’m going to get you all to talk to me about your very interesting kinds of relationships.

So, like I said, my name is Rebecca. I got into my first non-monogamous relationship when I was 15 years old. And, since then, I have had–been privileged to be involved in a variety of different non-monogamous relationships and this means that I have also had a lot of metamours.

And what I want to talk about today is why and how we, in poly communities, talk a lot and focus a lot of attention on these relationships [“primary,” “lovers,” etc.] and we don’t really talk so much about these relationships [metamourships]. And I think that’s interesting because this [metamour] relationship history has had just as much influence on who I am, and how I do relationships, and how I see the world, as this [“primary”] relationship history.



AUDIENCE MEMBER: You put a lot of work into that.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s beautiful.

REBECCA: So, “metamour” is a poly neologism. It’s a word that poly people made up, ’cause we like to do that. And like other words that poly people make up, there are lots of different ways to define it and many people define it in different ways in different contexts. For the purposes of this talk, when I say “metamours,” what I mean is two or more people who are involved in some kind of consensual non-monogamy and have a romantic or sexual partner or partners in common, and know about each other’s existence. As for how we define “romantic” and “sexual,” that is, like, a whole other conversation, conference, world.

The reason I want to talk about metamour relationships is because I actually think that metamour relationships are what’s unique about polyamory. People will define poly or say that what poly is about is “having multiple partners,” but a lot of people in the world have multiple partners and most of them just call it “cheating.” Only polyamorous people have metamours. (And I’m gonna, like, take breaks to look at my notes sometimes. [unintelligible])

Um, so, it surprises me that since we have access to this pretty unique kind of relationship, and since we are a community of people that likes to talk about how we are trying to open up space for more loving relationships, and varieties of relationships, and trying to resist what monogamous culture tells us about who and how we should love, that we talk so little about one of the most complex, unique, interesting kinds of loving relationships that you can get into.

So, um, when I told people that I was going to do this presentation–and I’m just gonna [unintelligable]–



AUDIENCE MEMBER: Is there any chance that your slides might be available via email later on or something like that?

REBECCA: Yeah, I will do my best to put them on the Internet.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I would love to not have to take lots of notes. And it seems you’ve done a lot of work on your slides.

[discussion about slides, notes, etc.]

REBECCA: Okay, so, I told people I was coming here to do this workshop, and I told people I wanted to give a talk on how to have more meaningful metamour relationships and a lot of the responses I got were people saying, “I don’t wanna love my metamours. I mean, y’know, my metamour lives in France. We’ve never even talked.” That’s totally fine. Or, y’know, “I have this other metamour who’s just a manipulative creep, and they’re trying to steal my partner, and my dog!”

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: “Why do I have to have a more meaningful relationship with these people?” And, my answer to that is: you don’t. You do not have to do anything. More meaningful metamour relationships are just, like, not a priority for some people. Or, for some people, they’re really threatening, or they don’t feel safe for various reasons. And that’s legitimate. I’m not actually here to tell you what to do with your personal relationships. What I want to talk about is what Common Poly Wisdomâ„¢ is telling us that we should do with our metamour relationships. And then I want to point out some of the consequences of that for our communities and for our relationships, and I want to talk about how we might do some things differently, if we want to.

So, Common Poly Wisdomâ„¢. We all know that this is a thing, because you can take the same relationship problem to any poly meeting around the country and you will get pretty much the same advice.

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: Or, as a friend of mine says, if you ask ten poly people–five poly people for definitions of polyamory, they’ll give you ten different answers. But, if you ask ten poly people for resources about polyamory, they’ll send to the same four websites.

So what does Common Poly Wisdom say about our relationships with our metamours? Well, to start out with, it says you should be on good terms with your metamours, and friends with your metamours, because that will make your relationships with your partner, and doing polyamory, easier. That, if you know your metamours, you’re likely to feel less jealous, because you’ll know that they’re real people. Um, it tells us that it’s good to have good communication with your metamours, because it makes things like scheduling easier. And it also tells us that caring about your metamours can be a way to get closer to your partners because those are people they care about, too. That, if you don’t care about your metamours, that you don’t get along, you just don’t have a lot in common, it’s still good to have each other’s phone numbers just in case your common partner gets hit by a bus or something. And it also tells us that if you have conflict or bad relationships with your metamours, that can actually put your relationship with your partner in jeopardy, especially if you are, say, a “secondary partner,” to someone with veto power, or you’re just the second person who comes along.

So, what does all of this advice have in common? It’s not actually advice about our relationships with our metamours. It’s actually advice about how to protect our relationships with our partners. Very rarely in the poly rhetoric, do we talk about the metamour relationship in and of itself, and how it’s valuable as a relationship. Um, mostly when we talk about metamours, we talk about using these relationships as tools to support our partnered relationships. How can we use our metamourships or work on our metamourships in ways that will make our partnered relationships feel more comfortable, safer, stronger, etcetera. Even the way that we define “metamours” has this pattern.

So you’ll notice at the beginning I said “metamours are people who have a partner in common.” But that’s not what you’ll hear if you go to one of these many poly meetings around the country. You’re more likely to go to that meeting and ask, “What is ‘metamour’ mean?” And someone will say, “Oh, y’know, it’s like, your partner’s partner.” So, notice that there are two relationships in this definition, and neither one is the relationship between metamours. [One is: Your partner. The other is: Partner’s other partner.]

We talk about metamour relationships like they have a job to do: support partnered relationships. And if they’re not doing that job, y’know, they might as well not exist.

So. What does this boil down to? What is this the Common Poly Wisdom about metamour relationships?

The Common Poly Wisdom about metamour relationships is that partnered relationships are what matter, and that metamour relationships are disposable. So that’s weird. Especially for a bunch of people who say that we are committed to trying to have relationships that break mainstream ideas of what a meaningful relationship can be. What is going on here?

Polyamory is a way of doing relationships or, depending on who you talk to, it’s a bunch of different ways of doing relationships, or whatever. It’s also a subculture.

SLIDE: sub•cul•ture (noun)

1. A culture (as of bacteria) derived from another culture.

2. An ethnic, regional, economic, or social group exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to distinguish it from others within an embracing culture or society.

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subculture

AUDIENCE: [Laughter and applause.]

REBECCA: As a subculture, it exists underneath the umbrella a larger culture. So, just because you’re standing under an umbrella, doesn’t mean you’re not gonna get wet. We are pretty good at resisting dribbles of monogamy, because we’re actively trying to do something else. But there are a lot of other parts of mainstream culture that we, as a community, are soaked with. And these things have a lot of influence on why we treat metamour relationships like they’re disposable.

So, I wanna just look at these, quickly, a little more closely.

So, sexual privilege tells us that relationships that involve sex in them “count” more than relationships that don’t have sex. That relationships with sex are “real,” that they’re important, that’s what intimacy is about, etcetera. This is a problem for a lot of people. This is a problem for asexual folks who might not have any relationships with sex in them, and it’s also a problem for anybody who wants to have a relationship that’s meaningfully intimate with someone they’re not fucking. Like, say, metamours.

Couple privilege tells us that what “a real relationship” looks like is two people bonded together in a collective voting block. That that is the most important kind of relationship that you can have.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: A collective…?

REBECCA: Voting block. Um, they support each other, they have each other’s backs, they make agreements together, and this is a problem for–that this kind of coupled relationship is more important than relationships involving one person or more than two people. So this is a problem for single people. This is a problem for people who might join a larger group after that voting block has already been established and they can’t really, like, y’know, be a part of it. And it’s also a problem for people who might want to vote together, or have each other’s backs, or support each other’s needs, but who aren’t in a romantic or sexual relationship. Like, say, metamours.

Heterosexism in poly communities is way more than I can get into in this talk. That is also another session, another conference track. Um, but I will talk a little bit later about some specific ways that heterosexism plays out in metamour relationships.

So, what’s the impact of all this mainstream cultural rainwater dripping down onto our relationships?

Well, the most common impact is that the health and wellbeing of a certain kind of relationship between two people, especially if those two people are a man and a woman who are having sex with each other, is automatically privileged as more important over the health and wellbeing of any other relationship that those people might be in. And the most common way that this plays out in our actual everyday relationships is that, when the going gets tough, someone gets dumped.


REBECCA: So, it doesn’t always happen quite that cut and dry, right? Sometimes it starts slow. Y’know, you have metamours, they care about each other, but there’s some conflict, and they decide that, of course, that they wanna focus on their respective romantic relationship more than on working it out with each other. And then, eventually, they stop supporting each other, or helping each other’s relationships out, or maybe they just never started. And then, at some point, there’s some kind of irreconcilable conflict, and then someone gets dumped, and takes the dog.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Awww! Takes the dog?

REBECCA: There’s a lot that’s wrong with this picture. The biggest thing that’s wrong with this picture is that tends to hurt secondaries, it tends to hurt asexual folks, queer folks, younger folks, anybody whose relationship doesn’t have that cultural weight of “realness” behind it. Those are the relationships that are most likely to get axed, in terms of the romantic part. But the part of this picture that actually makes me, personally, the saddest is the middle step, where the metamours hyperfocus on their romantic relationships and stop supporting each other. Because I personally think that a good metamour relationship is, like, one of THE COOLEST relationships you could ever have in your entire life and it makes me really sad when that relationship gets messed up because there’s conflict between lovers.

So, if we wanted to do something differently, what might we do? We might look at our notes!

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: Um, okay. Quick! Don’t think of a polar bear! How many people thought of a polar bear?

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: If I had said, “Quick, think of an elephant,” you might not have thought of the same elephant I did, but you probably wouldn’t have thought of a polar bear. (Or maybe you would’ve.)

Remember when I said that poly folks are good at resisting monogamous dribbles because we’re actively doing something else? We’re not good at resisting monogamy because we’re trying NOT to be monogamous. In a ubiquitously monogamous culture, that’s like trying not to think of a polar bear. There are lots and lots of people who are trying not to be monogamous. Many of these people will probably still end up married. It’s the fact that we are actively trying to do something else, and consciously thinking about it, and doing the work required to maintain that, that helps us resist monogamy and thus prevents us from ending up on this sort of, y’know, culturally approved slippery path of least resistance.

SLIDE: *WARNING! This Path of Least Resistance not available to same-gender couples in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

REBECCA: Likewise, we’re not gonna be any good at resisting heterosexism, sexual privilege, and couple privilege in our communities if all we say about it, “Y’know, that still sucks, let’s just not do it.” We have to actively do something else.



REBECCA: Let’s play the “what if?” game. What if two metamours supported each other in breaking up with a common partner who wasn’t treating either one of them well? What if two friends decided to meet and date the same person because they wanted to be metamours with each other? What if…

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: What is you got drunk with your metamour and talked about your common partner while they were out of town?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You have to be drunk for that?

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: It might be a different conversation depending on whether or not you were drunk or not.

What if you took your metamour to Thanksgiving instead of your partner?


REBECCA: What if we sometimes–sometimes!–prioritized some of our metamour relationships as much, if not more than, we prioritize our partnered relationships? What if we just did this, like, once in a while? What if we even spend some time thinking about and talking about what that might be like? Might that open up more space for creative thinking about different kinds of meaningful relationships you can have?



AUDIENCE MEMBER: This might be interrupting your flow so ignore the question if you’d like to: that blurs the line between partnership and metamourship, right?

REBECCA: [Gasps!] We can’t have that!

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

AUDIENCE MEMBER: And that can be mind-blowing, and I’m wondering if you can address that as you go forward?

REBECCA: I’ll see if I can–but, I mean, all right. This! This is sort of what I’m getting at, but we’ll get there soon. Because, this, specifically. Because of this thing I’m sure that I’m talking about all of this–what if we related to our metamours in this very different way–and there are maybe some people in the audience who are thinking, “God, that sounds stressful!” And there might be other people who are thinking, “That sounds cool, but how?”

So, the answer to this question is: I don’t know. I’ll be honest. A world in which metamourships and partnerships could potentially be of equal value to each other or be the same kind of relationship or those distinctions not existing at all, that’s my ideal world. But in a pervasively monogamous, heterosexist, couple-privileged, sexual-privileged world, creating that kind of space in real life is hard to do.

I personally know that I put–I put, probably, more TLC into my metamour relationships than almost anybody I know. And I still don’t do it that well. I still have metamours that I treat as disposable, and metamour relationships that I treat as disposable. And this stuff is hard. What I do have is a lot of experience obsessing over this problem.

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: And the reason that I have that is because I’ve had some really good, really intimate, meaningful metamour relationships that have given me a lot of hope. And they were, like you were saying, kind of in this gray area between metamourship, partnership, what is this? We’re not having sex, maybe? Maybe we’re not having sex? What is sex?

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: And I’ve also had some metamour relationships that have totally broken my heart. And the ones that have been the most meaningful to me have done both. So through a lot of trial and error, and thinking about my experience, and talking to other people, and talking to my metamours over drinks in a lesbian bar in El Paso, I have put together some tips and tricks and tools for deepening metamour relationships that sometimes work a little bit, some of the time. And my hope is not that you will take these tools home and that they will magically fix your metamour relationships. Or that they will magically fix the awkward metamour relationship between your partners. They won’t. What these tools might do in some cases is show you that a particular relationship isn’t actually working out at all, or that it’s always going to be difficult and you’re going to have to figure out how to emotionally budget for that.

My biggest hope with this workshop is that it will just get people started thinking and talking about metamour relationships in a more…deeper, more thoughtful, more articulated way. That it’ll start a conversation about their relationships themselves. And my hope is that regardless of you feel about your relationships with your metamours, that if you came to this workshop, it’s because you at the very least have a desire to understand those relationships better. And that is actually the first step towards making them [unintelligible].

So. The first tool that we need is a map. What makes a metamour relationship a metamour relationship? What makes a metamour that you’re on good terms with any different from, like, a friend? What makes a metamour you don’t get along with any different than just some other random asshole you don’t get along with?

Metamour relationships have three parts. And this is part of why I like metamour relationships. Like, I’m a nerd for triangles and Zelda.

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: So the first part is the individual relationship. This is the part of your relationship that’s independent of your common partner. You are friends and you have lunch once a week. Or you’re coworkers. Or you go to some of the same parties and you think each other are kind of annoying. This is the part of your relationship that would still be the case, even if your common partner was suddenly deleted from The Matrix.

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: There’s not a whole lot I can actually tell you about this. This is just people. I mean, any relationship self-help book will tell you if you want to be better friends with somebody find stuff you have in common. If you don’t want to see each other, don’t go to the same parties, etcetera.

The second part is the group relationship. This is the part of the relationship where you and your metamour relate to your common partner simultaneously. Um, sidebar: when I talk about a “group” in this situation, I’m just talking about one specific group of three individual people. I know that a lot of us in this room are probably connected to our intimate networks in much more complicated ways. For example, I have a metamour who I have two partners in common with. I am in two different metamour relationships with her. And I can tell this because, it’s interesting, in this relationship things are pretty peaceful, we like to all hang out, we cuddle and watch movies, she and I have long conversations on the phone, we talk about our feelings, how cute this person is, etcetera, etcetera. This [other] metamour relationship is a little awkward. For some reason, this person is kind of like a touchy subject between us. And what was really interesting to me–this was really valuable to me because what it made me realize was the awkwardness in those conversations weren’t because she’s an awkward person or I’m an awkward person, or we’re bad at being metamours, it was something very specific to this unique relationship dynamic. And so then we went to a lesbian bar in El Paso and we talked about what was up wit that. I’m not gonna tell you.

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: Also, if you have a metamour and you start having sex with that person, that does not “upgrade” your relationship from metamours to partners. You’re still metamours. Just, now, your partner and your metamour are also metamours. And you and your partner–you get it.

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: End sidebar.

So this is the group relationship.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: [Unintelligble.]

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: Um, this, y’know–you all spend a lot of time together and you play video games together. Or you share a Google Calendar. Or you all went to your metamour’s house for Thanksgiving and it was awkward. Or your common partner wants the two of you to be better friends and one of you thinks that’s a great idea and the other one wants nothing to do with it.

This is the part of the relationship that most of that poly community “wisdom” about metamourships is about this. And it’s not all bad advice, it’s just incomplete. So, this is kind of an awkward analogy, but think about it this way. There’s the relationship between two parents and their child, and that’s different from the relationship that the parents have with each other about their child.

This is the third part of the metamour relationship. This is the part of your relationship that is about what happens a partner–that triangulates through them–but doesn’t involve them. This is the part of your relationship that’s about what having a partner in common means to the two of you. So, to use another analogy, you and have a coworker have an employer in common. You’re metamours to your job. This is a maymay concept, actually. This is not the part of your relationship where you figure out how to share a desk at the office. This is the part of the relationship where you go have beers together on Friday afternoon and talk about your boss. Or you don’t talk about your boss because it’s Friday afternoon and why do you want to talk about work? To put it crudely, this is the part of your relationship where you talk about your partner behind their back, where you gush about them, or where you fight about them, or where you awkwardly pretend like you don’t have a partner in common and it’s just sort of coincidental that you’re both over here for dinner and isn’t that nice?

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: It’s tricky. This is a tricky social dynamic to navigate, and we don’t talk about it very much. And this is actually the piece that I want to focus on today, because it’s the piece that we don’t talk about very much.

So, my very favorite thing about metamour relationships exists in this triangle. And I call it “the other queer kid at the party phenomenon.” I’m sure you’ve had this situation. You go to a party and there’s only, like, one other visibly queer person there. Or you go to a meeting and there’s only one other woman in the whole room. Or you go somewhere and you’re, like, the only person under the age of 45. Or you’re the only person over the age of 45. And whatever the situation, you’re in a space where you have something about you that’s important to you and you only share it with one other total stranger. And then you have to go through this dance where you’re like, “How do I want to interact with this person? I kind of want to go talk to them, but if I go talk to them people will be like, ‘Why are the only two queer kids at the party just talking to each other?’ Like, maybe I don’t want to talk to them. Maybe they don’t want to talk to me. Is this a problem? What…?” But the feeling that I have is all that sort of complex feeling comes from me going: this person matters to me! I don’t even know them, but there’s some quality that they have that makes them important to me in a way that makes me want to know something about them.

So, this is often how I feel about metamours. But it’s not just “this is the only other person in the room that has this thing in common with me.” The feeling is, “there’s this person in my life. I’m in love with them. That’s a big deal to me. That’s an important thing about who I am. And there’s only a few other people in the whole world who share that experience with me.” I want to know those people. I want to know what they’re about. I may not want to go to talk to them about, y’know, I may not want to go talk to this person about being queer. Maybe I just want to go talk to them about movies or something? Or, like, how bad the music at this party is. But I want to be able to do that in a way where, like, maybe I can make a joke about this movie and they’ll get it ’cause they’re queer. Y’know? I’d love to be able to go talk to this person and make a joke about my partner and they’ll get it, ’cause, like, y’know, they have experience with the same shower restraints.

AUDIENCE: [Laughter.]

REBECCA: So, like, um. I just got the sign that I have five minutes left, and that is too bad because I had a whole other section to this talk where I wanted to talk about what it is about metamour relationships that makes them structurally difficult, and how that can be valuable, and how we can work to overcome it. And so the cliffnotes version that I’ll just give real quick is that one of the things that makes this really cool relationship also really difficult is that we don’t grow up with models of metamourship, but we do grow up with cultural models of how we should feel about someone who’s fucking our partner. Which is that we should HATE that person! Like, we should go on Jerry Springer and we should fight with them! Y’know? This isn’t just like, “that person irritates me.” This is like, if–you should wanna kill this person so much that if you actually kill them, you’ll get leniency in court for that ’cause they were fucking your partner!


REBECCA: And that, that, and all of the particular patterns of how that manifests between women about men, between men about men, between queer people and trans people, between women who have male partners, and male metamours, and all of these different patterns all bleed down into our relationships. That is a lot of cultural baggage to be resisting. And so one of the biggest, most important tools that I think we can use to help deepen and support our metamour relationships is just acknowledging that they’re fucking hard! And that, for people for whom metamour relationships just feel like a piece of cake, that might be because, y’know, they’re not actually–your metamour relationships might be kind of shallow. These are relationships. They involve conflict. Because they’re relationships. That doesn’t make them broken. It makes them relationships.


REBECCA: That doesn’t mean you have to, like, deal with it. Again, you might be in a place with your life where having a relationship with someone that involves a lot of conflict isn’t something you can deal with. But that we have a really, really amazing opportunity here to have intimacy with people who society tells us that we should hate. This is a great situation where you have a lot of powerful external motivation and internal motivation to learn how to work with this person, collaborate with them, argue productively with them, learn about each other’s differences, and maybe even love each other. And those are pretty great transferable skills for doing that same kind of work with all the other people that society tells us that we should hate.

Um, so, because I didn’t get to get through the rest of my adorable slides, I do want to go to the last one. And then maybe we can have a few minutes for questions. Um, but…I guess you’ll see them all. I wanted to end with this quote from Dean Spade because Dean Spade talks about this in a way that I really love, and is way more succinct and articulate about it than I am. But, he says, “I do not have a prescription for successful relationships, and I don’t think anyone should. The goal of most of my work is to remove coercive mechanisms that force people to comply with heteronormative gender and family norms. What I want to see if a world in which people do not have to be criminalized, or cast out of their family, or cut off welfare, or sexually harassed at school, or subjected to involuntary mental health care, or prevented from getting housed because they organize their gender, desire, or family structure in a way that offends a norm. I hope we can build that vision by practicing it in our own queer and activist communities and in our approaches to ourselves. Let’s be gentle with ourselves and each other and fierce as we fight oppression.”