I am so excited to be a presenter at CatalystCon this month! Dee Dennis, one of the organizers who brought MomentumCon to the Washington DC area for the past two years, has set her sights on Long Beach, CA for the weekend of September 14-16. From the website:
CatalystCon is a conference created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality. It is about reaching out and stimulating those who attend to create those important conversations in their own communities, changing how we as a society talk about and treat sexuality. It is about stimulating the activist that is within all of us and sparking transformation in the way our friends, neighbors, children and even politicians discuss one of the most important aspects of humanity.
Whoa! That’s a tall order to fill. For any of us who’ve been doing activism and social change in the field of sexuality, we know that we’re facing an uphill battle here in the US to change how we as a society talk about and treat sexuality. Fortunately, this conference is organized by a deeply talented woman who has pulled together an all-star lineup of sex educators and gurus, marriage & family therapists, sex workers and activists who will blow your mind! In addition to sessions and socials, there’s a pre-conference party called Glory Hole hosted by the Pleasure Chest and a CE seminar led by Dr. Marty Klein.
I’m most excited about the Sex Worker-only private mixer happening prior to the opening plenary. People often wonder why it’s so important for sex workers to have private space in these conference environments. We deal with an extreme degree of alienation, isolation and discrimination. Even among a super sex positive crowd like those who attend CatalystCon. It’s not because people are jerks. It’s usually just because people don’t understand how difficult it is to live a closeted life where your professional identity invites unwanted attention. Many sex workers want to be able to discuss business or personal issues with each other in private as a means of protecting their ‘vanilla jobs’ or their families. And often, men with completely harmless intentions end up bombarding us in our “off” time with their needs and interests. So frankly, it’s just easier to not acknowledge our sex worker identity during the main conference and focus on making those important connections in a private environment. We’re fortunate that Dee and the Catalyst crew understand this need and have risen to the occasion to support us.
Of course, you won’t want to miss my session for sex workers and loved ones “When Someone You Love Is A Sex Worker” on Sunday 9/16 at 10:30am. I hope all you partiers can either get up early or just stay up all night and make it to an early Sunday morning session!
Here’s a sampling of some of the other sessions I’m excited about:
Reid Mihalko will be leading a fab session called “When To Give It Away and When To Charge For It: Knowing Your Worth, Assessing Others’, And How To Make Ends Meet As a Sex-Positive Professional” I know many of us struggle in this area. Sometimes it’s hard to reckon the value of our sex educating services in a society that so undervalues authentic sexual information.
I’m finally going to meet one of my all-time heroes, Mr. Buck Angel who is leading a session called The Buck Angel Effect
Sure to be a controversial session, Paying for It: How Client Stigma Impacts the Sex-Positive Movement will be led by the lovely Sabrina Morgan
Allison Moon brings us Creativity for Radicals in which she “explores the politics, privileges and identity issues endemic to creating art. In this interactive talk, Allison will deconstruct notions of “privilege guilt” into useful components for creativity, discuss the intersection between art and social justice, deconstruct activist skill-sets to turn them into useful tools for the creation process, and share methods for distilling passion from conflict to turn activism into relevant art.”
And there are dozens of other amazing sessions that you don’t want to miss at CatalystCon 2012! If you haven’t registered yet, please do soon before registration closes on Sept. 13. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!