Remembering Kate

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Kate Horowitz passed away Sept 12, 2021. I want to take a moment to share some of what she meant to me.

Kate, her then-husband Ben, and several of their friends formed Organ House before I arrived in SF with the mission of destigmatizing consensual non-monogamy. While play parties might have been the vehicle, the goal was community, acceptance, and outreach. It was a place where people could safely test the limits of monogamy to see whether different structures might work better for them.

Monogamy didn’t fit Kate. And she knew it didn’t fit a lot of people. But there weren’t many ways to easily mingle with other young, ambitious, open-minded, sex-positive people in the Bay Area in an environment that demanded enthusiastic consent for all activity.

Organ House was my entree into this world, which has been life-changing for me, even as someone who had practiced CNM for many years before finding OH! It was my first taste of IRL community centered around sex-positivity.

Kate worked tirelessly at her mission to make it easier for the next generation. The parties themselves were a ton of work. There was the endless drama. Incident reports. Leadership changes. On top of that she would give talks and interviews to help normalize non-monogamy.

Even in young motherhood, she remained an activist. I remember her visibly pregnant, taking me out to get my nails done when I was unemployed and recently dumped. She told me about the book she was writing and podcast she was developing on normalizing non-monogamy.

I remember her standing up on the stage at a party in lingerie, c-section scar and soft belly on full display. “This is what a postpartum body looks like,” she said simply.

Kate was softspoken but loud, empathetic but unapologetic, and kind but fierce. She was an unstoppable force of social change against the immovable object of stigma, superstition, and shame around sex. She permanently changed the landscape of CNM, in the Bay Area and the world.

She is gone far too soon. She leaves a hole that can never be filled. But she also leaves a generation of young leaders who grew up under her wing who now take up her work.

It would be easy to take her short life to mean that living outside the lines is bad for you or doesn’t work.

A world that punishes people for living out of line is bad for you and doesn’t work. Those who live outside the lines anyway, at their own peril, make the world a better place for everyone else who doesn’t quite fit in.

We are all indebted to the people like Kate who said, “Fuck them lines.”

Kate, your memory is a blessing. Your work is immortal. (Many of) your sacrifices are acknowledged. Rest in power.