May 022018
 

Frenchie Davis is presenting 90 Days – HIV:The cure is in the conversation. Check out her bio here.

Frenchie Davis

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I see myself as a catalyst for change because I am willing to change myself. The more I learn, the more I evolve. Some people maintain the same perspective despite what new information comes out, because changing would make them appear wrong. I’m ok with being wrong as long as I can be better as I progress. We all are responsible for evolving our experiences and perspective.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

My sex educator peers are a catalyst for me. Too many to name, but everyone is working so damn hard. Like people are dying and being killed because of their sexuality. And people have decided to speak out and do something about it. I’ve lost friends, relationships, opportunities because I love what I do. And when I see other sex educators and sex workers pushing through, I am in awe. It is all the motivation I need to keep going.

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’m excited people are willing to have the conversation. Conversations have been so transformational today. People are listening, they are evolving, they are healing, they are asking questions…the fear and anxiety is losing. Love is the clinical work we need, there are no citations for it, but it is pure medicine.

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

Colonization of education. I have to be very mindful what lens my education and information is coming from. I have to be mindful of citations that never include people of color or other sexual minorities. I am responsible for understanding the bias that a lot of sex education has engendered. No predominantly black SAR’s, or books, or authors, or citations of and from POC’s. I will never have that experience. But I am sure to build these opportunities for the next generation.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

Hmmm, because contraceptive gentrification exist. Sexual redlining in POC communities exist. Black women are dying from a disease that does not have to kill them. This is not acceptable. PReP can change lives, but only if lives are informed.

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

Hmmm, first I’m afraid and nervous, then I just go and do what I was born to do.

May 012018
 

Jimanekia Eborn is presenting Shyness and Sexual Self-expression: How Shame and Trauma Impact Sexual Pleasure and Connection and hosting Closing Keynote Plenary Address: Don’t Talk About It, Be About It: Creating Inclusive Sex Positive Spaces. Check out her bio here.

Jimanekia Eborn

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I see myself as someone that has found their voice and pushing for those that have not been able to.I do a lot of my work in working with sexual assault survivors.Which is not the “fun” part of sexual education. My goal is being a catalyst in normalizing these conversations. And in normalizing them, working towards prevention.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

My catalyst for all that I do. Have been the women in my family. They have all been through such treacherous things and have come out stronger and surviving through. It makes me want to continue fighting and creating safer spaces. SO future women do not have to fight as hard and not go through as much .

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?

Finally, well slowly but surely. People are actually listening to others. I often find that people listen to respond, versus listening to hear. We are listening to survivors, we are listening to those that want more education. It is a hell of a fight. But, we are doing the hard work and pushing through to make the future a better place.

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

There are still a lot of people that believe that abstinence education is the best. Although there are so many articles, research that says the opposite.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

My topic is important to me because, i know how shame can really shape you into a totally different person.

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

I have been working in the field of mental health since I was 21. I actually started out focused on working for the police force and studied criminal justice. I was dismissed from school, and started volunteering as a rape crisis counselor. That changed my life forever.

Apr 272018
 

Alex Wilson is presenting Make It Hurt So Good: Kink as a Space for Healing from Epigenetic, Personal, and Historical Trauma and Sexclamation Point!: Unpacking What “Good Sex” Means and How We Can Have More of It! Check out her bio here.

Alex Wilson

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I have always been someone to move through an array of different spaces. I always had loads of arbitrary knowledge that was never quite specialized. I’d fixate on art, then jump to psychology, then literature, then science fiction all without picking one skill to hone in on. When I was younger I looked at this negatively. I felt in order to be successful one had to belong to something singular, that if I didn’t achieve success in one finite area it meant I was too wishy-washy. I thought about myself as indecisive, flaky, inconsistent, and weak. You know the saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none?” that’s what I saw myself as. It was only as I got older and challenged my own attitudes and beliefs that what I once knew as I weakness became my own strength. Indecisive became  versatile, flaky became dynamic, and inconsistent became resilient. I learned to appreciate myself for fluidity, being able to move through different spaces as a skill. I
see myself as a catalyst for change as I am able to move through circles and space, take what I know out of the room and bring who I know into the room. It’s important to me to share with others what I know and what I learn- I work to use my ability to move between spaces to share information with others that they might not otherwise be able to access.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

I don’t know that I can point to any one thing in my life and credit with being THE catalyst in my life, you know? There is no ‘one and only’ I think life is a series of changes and as part of that I think there is an endless series of catalysts potentially. What I will say is that something I come back to for strength time and again, for inspiration, for growth, for peace- is community. Community refers to a myriad of people, places, and things, and all aspects of my community have served as catalyst for me, once I opened myself up to others and what they felt and had to say I found myself in service to those around me. That love and that desire to serve have prompted my growth and development at every step of the way.

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?

As technological advancements are made people have gained access to spaces and conversations they’d otherwise never be privy to. I appreciate that via the internet there is a lot of wonderful information being disseminated surrounding sexuality for people.  Sites like Scarlet Teen help teach comprehensive and unbiased sexual education, spaces like Twitter and Tumblr often allow people to communicate, organize, and learn. As
someone who think accessibility is one of the biggest barriers I encounter as an educator I am ever grateful for the way technology allows us to overcome obstacles. In general I’d say we have come a long way and made a lot of progress related to visibility for marginalized populations, discussions of sex work and the rights of sex workers, we have more complex and nuanced understandings of intersectionality related to gender, race,
pre-colonial identity, deviance from biological essentialism, and much more. I must be honest, though, whenever I hear this questions like this I do not know if the mainstream has benefitted or if my circles have just become smaller. While in my circles we are discussing topics like the aforementioned there are many spaces where these are still completely taboo. I have to ask myself if the world is truly becoming attuned to these
issues, or if it is only the spaces I am accessing and seeking out.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

I spend a decent amount of time thinking about sexuality, when I am not doing that I spend a decent amount of time thinking about trauma, I also spend a lot of time thinking about intersection of the two. Most people who know me can attest that I’ve discussed either topic with them at some point. I consider myself to be both a trauma educator and a sex educator- the topics behind my presentation are deeply important to me. I consider
the topics I touch upon in both of my presentations to be a larger part of my life’s work.

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

I once went clubbing with Cece McDonald!

Apr 232018
 

Heather Brewer is presenting How the Sex-Positive Community Can Bring Healing and Growth to Our Country. Check out her bio here.

Heather Brewer

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I have a lot of optimism about people’s ability to grow, and I work to let that be contagious in the way that passion can be. I’m very big on focusing on resources and connection, which I firmly believe is the best source for change. I’m also adept at navigating tricky social situations. My familiarity and comfort with interpersonal dynamics affords helpful insight, and helps people to land in a clearer, calmer, and more fruitful place.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

In regards to becoming a sex therapist, what often comes to mind is this conversation I had in high school with some of my friends. I can never remember how it started, but the topic of masturbation was being skirted around, and I decided to just disclose that I did indeed masturbate. Each of our reactions was this complex mix of astonishment, relief, and excitement, and it left me with a really potent desire to discuss it more. And to get other people to discuss it. The desire to do so had obviously been getting squelched for all of us, and it was so easy to just name it and get things rolling. I realized that sex is really important to most people, but that most people don’t talk about it. The absurdity of that, the disparity, fuels me. I am deeply motivated to close that gap.

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 think what’s happening to our concepts of gender is hugely important. It’s forcing to the front and center the uselessness of putting limitations on self-understanding and expression. It’s been working against us for a very long time, and we’re finally dismantling it, which I believe is representative of our burgeoning emotional intelligence. I think that as understanding of the gender spectrum spreads, so will our understanding of the infinite complexity of human expression. That will afford a whole lot of beautiful opportunities.

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

I suspect that the progress we’ve been able to make thus far in this century has a whole bunch of people scared shitless, and I think they’re reacting in the way terrified people do: with fury and violence. Because a lot of those people were already oppressors (often unwittingly), it’s too easy to continue to see them that way and to miss their very real vulnerability. Privilege often results in a lack of self-reflection and insight. That quickly becomes a disadvantage when your privilege begins to wane. So I think we’re facing the enormous challenge of having to extend empathy to them alongside continuing to protect ourselves and working to create true, lasting, stable equality.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

I can feel how very capable this community is of having an epic impact on what’s happening right now in our society, and I’m eager to show others what I’m seeing. We are the ents, and the world needs us to venture outside our sacred forest.

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