Leandra Vane is presenting Parallel: Comparing Societal Stigma Between Disability and Sexual Non-monogamy. Check out her bio here.
How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
I live in a very small Midwest town, so my actions for change are small. I try to be the person people can talk to about sex. I share sex positive resources when I can. I use my background in library science to advocate for intellectual freedom and information access as often as possible. I read and recommend banned books. I donate non-fiction sexuality books and sex-positive fiction to my local library on a regular basis. I high five people I see reading romance or erotica in public.
Who or what was a catalyst for you?
Sex positive writers of both fiction and non-fiction have been my salvation since I was a teenager. Books have always been my best friends because the authors and characters were willing to have the conversations with me about sex and disability that so many people in my real life were unwilling or unable to have. Writers who shared their experiences and stories empowered me to start writing my own experiences down and gave me the fortitude to start forging my own connection with other people through my fiction and non-fiction.
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?
I go back to books again. Not only does my local library have the most sex positive books in their collection than ever before, more people are checking them out than ever before and requesting more. I’m giving out a lot of high fives!
What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today?
Despite the change in climate toward reading sexy books there are still constant battles raging over who can read what and what books or information should be made available to who. Small and rural communities are particularly vulnerable to intellectual freedom challenges and these communities are often the ones that need sex education and information the most. But because of things like budget cuts, local politics, and isolation these communities are often left out of the bigger picture in sex education and information access. Luckily there are dedicated librarians on the forefront doing amazing things every day. But I feel as a sex educator, my skills and resources are needed the most here at home and we still have a long way to go.
Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?
My disability and my open relationship are the two most stigmatized aspects of my life. I have been so fortunate to learn so much from living in the grey area where these two parts of my life converge. It has added a lot to my life. My erotic fiction has even taken a focus on polyamorous pairings featuring disabled characters. So untangling the stigmas around both of these things is important to me because I had to do that in order to access the richness these experiences add to my life.
Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself?
I had an orgasm once reading an article from a 1924 newspaper on the microfilm reader in the library. Flappers were a kinky bunch.