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.

Sep 152017
 

Leandra Vane is presenting Parallel: Comparing Societal Stigma Between Disability and Sexual Non-monogamy. Check out her bio here.

Leandra Vane
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.

Sep 142017
 

Euphemia F Russell is presenting Australia’s accessibility to information. Check out her bio here.

EuphemiaHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

As far as I know, I am the only Sexuality and Pleasure Educator in Australia who works with adults, and is formally trained in these educational skills and tools. This is overwhelming, but also compelling as each day my work is changing Australia’s understanding of sexuality. With my small community of similar professionals we do what we can to support each other and further the work.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

The ‘Sex Positive’ Bay Area community in California was a huge catalyst for me to realise I could dedicate my career to this kind of work, not just personally learn and enjoy.

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?

In general, I think any of work being done in the space is valuable as there’s so much work to be done in so many areas and understandings of sexuality!

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

An understanding of consent.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

Because Australia has very little infrastructure and institutional support for teaching individuals about sexuality, gender, and pleasure.

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

After sex, my second and third favourite topics to speak about are cuttlefish and trees.

Sep 122017
 

Remi Newman is presenting Sexy Parents Raising Sexually Healthy Kids. Check out her bio here.

Remi NewmanHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

In my work as a surrogate partner I have the honor of changing someone’s life by offering them the gift of practicing what it’s like to be in an intimate relationship. The clients are often adults who have never been sexual with another person. The changes they go through during their time working with me opens up a whole new world to them, one that they felt was out of reach. They can now replace feelings of inadequacy with feelings of confidence and feelings of shame with feelings of pride.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Every person I’ve ever been sexual with. The bad experiences, the not so bad ones, the amazing ones, have all shaped my sexual development and kept me constantly curious about my sexuality and the sexuality of others.

Academically, my professors at NYU in the sexuality education master’s program in the late 90s opened my eyes to the field of sexology and the many ways that sexuality is an integral part of our personalities and is woven into our culture.

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?

There is increased awareness of the lives of LGBT people and advances in civil rights, but still more work to be done.

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

As a society, there is still deep fear around educating children about sex and sexuality. The cycle of ignorance will continue until this changes. Feelings of shame will continue to shape how people see their sexuality and that of others. Shame leads to feelings of hatred that are expressed both inwardly and outwardly. Even in the field of sexology, there is a taboo about looking at infant and child sexuality, so it is a challenge to get funded to do research.

Also the myths of “sex addiction” and “porn addiction” have to be debunked and those therapists taking people’s money to “cure” them should be stopped. They are in the business of shaming and furthering the victim status of spouses who are unhappy with their partner’s use of pornography and in some cases, sex workers. It is part of our society’s demonization of pornography, sex work and those who use either or both.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

As a parent, I am the primary sex educator for my child. I take this role seriously. I know that what he learns at home will shape a great deal of his sexual self-esteem. I want him to feel at home in his body and to value it and those of others. I want him to see his sexuality as a gift to be celebrated, not something to be ashamed of. Imagine a world in which every child was raised this way.

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

I smoke bubble gum cigarettes.

Sep 112017
 

LaTerra McDaniels is presenting RT This: How Cyberbullying on Twitter is Impacting Women of Color in Porn. Check out her bio here.

LaTerra McDanielsHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I encourage others to think outside the box and have conversations outside the box as well.

Too often we are preaching to the choir instead of stepping outside our comfort zone to talk to those whose views are different than our own.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

A few years ago I got an opportunity to work for an adult performer on several social media projects. Through this position I was able to meet many performers in the adult industry. I found most performers to be honest, open-minded, welcoming and business savvy. I felt the stereotypes about their work and who they are as people was completely wrong so started talking to everyone about about it even my mother hoping to open some minds and I believe I have. I’ve made it part of my mission to advocate for performer safety and respect on and off set because we ALL deserve respect.

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 believe LGBTQIA rights has made valuable change that is important in our society. I know it’s still a battle in many places in America and the world but there have been major strides towards acceptance, rights and respect. In the field of sexuality I feel taboo subjects are slowly eroding as people start to fully grasp how multifaceted human sexuality is.

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

Sex education for young adults is one of the biggest concerns I see facing society and the field of sexuality. Without guidance our youth is being bombarded with information about sex with little help from schools or parents to filter through the madness. We need better sex education and it needs to happen earlier than high school. Sex positive educators need to be on the front lines of this issue and help create a curriculum both parents and teachers can get behind.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

I’ve seen too many negative comments directed at adult performers over the years of being on Twitter. Social media can be fun but it can also be dangerous and damaging especially when you’re an adult performer. I felt like doing a presentation on this topic could be helpful not only to performers but to anyone on social media dealing with cyber-bullying.

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

I’ve performed 8 weddings and all 8 of the couples I’ve married are still together!

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.

Sep 062017
 

Headshots at CatalystCon

Robert BurkhartLiz BlackfordMary Prescott

 

Catalyst Con’s photographer Erika Kapin is offering a limited number of discounted headshot photo sessions for attendees of CatalystCon 2017!

Reserve your session by prepaying for one of the following packages:

-20 minute session. 1 Look/outfit.  Full gallery sent to select 2 images for post processing and delivery. $100 prepay. $150 registration at conference.
–1 hour session. Up to 3 looks/outfits. Full gallery sent to select 5 images for post processing and delivery. $200 prepay. $260 at conference.

Sign up for for headshots HERE.

Work samples at www.erikakapin.com

Email erika@erikakapin.com reserve your space or ask any questions!

Check out Erika on Instagram and Twitter

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