Sonya Barnett is presenting Sexual Art & Engagement: How to Build Sex Positivity in Communities. Check out Sonya’s bio here.
1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
I’m lucky enough to be in a position where my voice can be heard, at least by a few people. Through The Keyhole Sessions and SlutWalk, I’ve facilitated an amazing community of sex-positive people who have arrived from many different viewpoints and backgrounds, and are ready to listen with open minds and share new information. That information sharing is vital for change.
2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?
I co-founded a movement called SlutWalk that was set up to combat victim-blaming in Toronto’s police & judicial services. We thought that it would be a small event, but when it turned into an international movement, I realized just how important it is to speak out about injustices, not just tout sex positivity. It wasn’t long before I left my day job as an Art Director and focused all my attention on furthering causes that champion anything on sexuality, diversity and education.
3. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?
Government is still deferring to religious pushback when it comes to properly educating youth on sexuality, relationships and our ever-evolving cultures. Though there are many that are pursuing better curricula in schools, there is the constant fight against the wave of religious and “moral” organizations that want to keep us in the 19th century.
4. What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable positive changes that have been made in the world of sexuality in the past year?
I’ve seen an amazing increase in the presence of sex educators from various fields. Social Media has been a huge help in introducing people and topics to a wider public sphere. When people in need see that there are multiple outlets to access, it’s a good step toward expanding knowledge and acceptance.
5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic Sexual Art & Engagement: How to Build Sex Positivity in Communities to CatalystCon East?
When I started The Keyhole Sessions, it was to fill a creative void in my own life, mixed with enough sexuality that would make me happy, since I wasn’t finding it anywhere else. What I didn’t expect was the community that built around the sessions, and how so many people were affected by being able to express themselves or satisfy a curiosity that wasn’t then clouded with judgement. By virtue of creating a safe space for such expression, people began learning from us and from each other, and then sharing what they learned with others outside of TKS. When people started coming to me for more personal questions about sex, diversity, gender, education, and relationships, I realized that creating such a space is a great first step in fostering sex positivity in expanded communities.
6. Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself.
I got kicked off an island nation for being a rebel.
Learn more about all our amazing speakers here