Sep 072017
 

Vanessa Gritton is presenting The Funny Side of Sex(ual Identity). Check out her bio here.

Vanessa GrittonHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

As a comedian, I have the platform to make certain ideas or notions easier to swallow for a general audience. They’re laughing, but hopefully, they’ve learned something. Having performed in more conservative areas as a pansexual woman of color, I expose audiences to someone they don’t really have a lot of interaction with and I get to tear down that taboo that comes with it.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

100% my mother. She’s from a very conservative country where women do not receive sexual education and sexuality in women is discouraged. She immigrated to this country and taught herself a lot of what she knows about sexual health and anatomy so she could help educate me because schools only taught young girls shame and abstinence. Because of this, she created a safe and freeing environment to express myself and explore safely because I knew I had an amazing support system.

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

We’re becoming more inclusive and creating spaces for the PoC, LGBT and plus size communities as well as providing more educational resources. We still have long ways to go though and acknowledging that is how we make more change.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today?

A lot of humor is centered around the punch down, kink shaming, body shaming etc and it perpetuates stereotypes as well as making things feel “wrong” or like it should be laughed at for existing. Effeminate men are still punchlines. Being sexual with plus sized people is mocked. Trans panic is still something caused by lazy jokes (I’m looking at you, Ace Ventura). We have the wrong kinds of representation because writers and comedians don’t want to take the next step to educate themselves. I want to change that.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

I want to show people that humor doesn’t mean tearing down sexuality. That humor can bring attention to issues not considered, help you cope with things you can’t normally deal with and normalize the risque. Comedy has helped me heal, grow and love myself. I want it to do the same for others.

Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself.

I eat mustard like it’s candy. I love mustard. I have like 14 different kinds. I do not know why I’m like this.

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