Steve Gustafson is presenting Why is the Media Afraid of Sex? Check out Steve's bio here. 1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change? I'm very active in a number of areas. Besides writing for a couple of mainstream websites, I run a suicide prevention awareness non-profit and a small social media management company. I am constantly networking and meeting people who are open to fresh ideas and engaging in conversation on how to better our lives. I'm very open in my beliefs and the need to educate myself and those around me. I find that talking one-on-one and in small groups goes farther in educating someone you know over sending an email with a link and saying, "Read this." I have a number of friends who are closeted about their sexual beliefs and I see that frustration on their part comes from outdated traditions set by their family or religious upbringing. Everyone is a catalyst for change. It's important to be a catalyst for POSITIVE change. 2. Who or what was a catalyst for you? I'll always say my family. We're not perfect but they support me in all I do, even when they might not understand or agree. My parents stressed the importance of treating others fairly and not being quick to judge. They would tell me that you might not know someone's situation and usually things are not what they seem. My mom works at a hospital and I remember coming to her early on with questions about sex and she never made me feel weird or uncomfortable about it. That's stuck with me and something I want to pass on to others. 3. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now? That it's bad to talk about sex. So simple to target but so hard to overcome. Society has no problem making sex into a punchline but will quickly shy away from anything that would make them confront their beliefs. Also, politicians who are attempting to regulate our sex lives. Hidden behind their hypocrisy and shame are their buried issues that they refuse to acknowledge and we're the ones to pay for it. We're too complacent in allowing politicians, who are supposed to represent us, be swayed by the sexually frustrated, brainwashed minority. 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? The expansion of sex sections in the media. A quick scan of some of the major news sites will reveal a sex/lifestyle section. That's a start. We need to continue the momentum and add more positive voices to that. As the sex positive movement moves forward, I see more representatives coming out to voice their opinions and that's something I'm excited about. Once that happens, I expect more and more people will talk about and educate themselves in a friendly and inviting environment. That includes those friends, neighbors, and co-workers who might THINK like we do but are afraid to SAY anything out of fear of being labelled. 5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic Why is the Media Afraid of Sex? to CatalystCon East? The media is everywhere and shapes us more than we are willing to admit. This influence bleeds into social media as well. A quick look at your Facebook timeline or Twitter feed will show a number of links to news sites with stories from the negative to the inspiring. When something happens, the media is more focused on being first over being right. That stretches to sex. A story that covers sex, sex workers, sex studies, or sex education will always carry a headline that's either cliched or so over-the-top, no one takes it serious. The media is in a tough spot, They need hits on their pages to get advertisers but they can't alienate their readership or the ones buying ad space. A very vocal, but small, group of people can sway them over a story and that's what we have to overcome. People who write sex positive blogs are usually forced to do so with a false name out of fear of being judged and punished. There's something seriously wrong about that. I want to push forward and find ways to support positive media coverage of sex and remove that stigma. 6. Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself. Besides still having a dream to appear in the pages of 'Playgirl'? I was in an episode of "Forbidden' on the ID Channel. That part isn't unknown. What IS unknown: It was a bedroom scene and I didn't want to look bad in front of the cameras so I stuffed 2 socks down my boxer shorts. See, you can't always believe what you see on TV! Learn more about all our amazing speakers here. Register for CatalystCon East here.