Speaker Spotlight: Tristan Taormino

 CCON West 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Tristan Taormino
Sep 232013
 

Tristan Taormino is presenting Sex Educator Boot Camp with Tristan Taormino, Feminist Porn 101: What it is, What it isn’t, and Why it matters, The Politics of Producing Pleasure: Feminist Porn in Industry and Academe and the Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance. She is also recording Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino live at CatalystCon West. Check out Tristan’s bio here.

 

Tristan TaorminoHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I am committed to educating and empowering people around their sexuality, and I do so through several different mediums: my books, lectures and workshops, my radio show Sex Out Loud, and my feminist porn movies.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

For sex education, there are so many people who paved the way for what I do today: Betty Dodson, Jack Morin, Carol Queen, and Nina Hartley immediately come to mind. In the arena of porn, one of the very first porn films I saw was How to Female Ejaculate starring Deborah Sundahl and produced by Fatale Media. Fatale Media (which was made up of Sundahl, Nan Kinney, Susie Bright, and the folks at On Our Backs) produced some of the earliest feminist porn, and that film showed me that it was possible to make revolutionary, educational porn.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?

Abstinence-only sex education is still a dominant model in schools; not only has it been proven ineffective, it’s very disempowering to withhold information and give misinformation to young people about sex. The lack of comprehensive sex education is the U.S. is appalling. The campaign by the right wing to pass anti-choice legislation throughout the country is an ongoing problem. When women do not have control over our own bodies and health, we cannot be equal. As a feminist pornographer, one of the biggest challenges I face is the rhetoric of anti-porn feminists like Gail Dines. Dines gets a lot of air time arguing about how awful all porn is; she does not allow for the possibilities of alternatives nor will she listen to sex workers who don’t fit into a victimization narrative.

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?

Quite frankly, it’s been a rough year for sexuality. If I had to point to some glimmers of hope, I’d say that the landmark Supreme Court decisions striking down DOMA and Prop 8 have really propelled the GLBT rights movement. I also think that the increased public discussions about sluts and slut-shaming have been productive, and I hope they continue because they have the opportunity to affect real change in the way our society represents and seeks to control women’s sexuality.

Why do you feel it is important to bring your pre-conference workshops, Sex Educator Boot Camp with Tristan Taormino, to CatalystCon West?

I feel very passionate about my Sex Educator Boot Camps. As I developed a career as a sex educator, I had very few role models. There are plenty of people who have incredible ideas and are amazing thinkers, but there are few people out there teaching business and marketing skills to the next generation of sex educators. It’s so important to me to pay it forward and share my knowledge and experience to help the sex educator community learn how to create sustainable businesses.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topics of your sessions, Feminist Porn 101: What it is, What it isn’t, and Why it matters and The Politics of Producing Pleasure: Feminist Porn in Industry and Academe, to CatalystCon West?

Since the publication of The Feminist Porn Book, there has been a huge increase in curiosity and awareness about feminist porn. I feel really lucky to be a part of two different presentations about feminist porn at CatalystCon West. Feminist Porn 101 is really a primer for folks about the history and context of it and The Politics of Producing Pleasure puts porn scholars and porn producers and performers in conversation with one another to discuss feminist porn as a philosophy, a practice, a movement, and an industry. These are such vital discussions to have, especially right now. The challenges we face in feminist porn—activism, accessibility, visibility, censorship, sustainability—are core issues that I think lots of people at CatalystCon West are interested in.

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

I am severely allergic to perfume and cologne—if someone’s wearing it, I usually cannot even hug them.

 

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here. Register for CatalystCon West here.

Speaker Spotlight: Danny Wylde

 CCON West 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Danny Wylde
Aug 262013
 

Danny Wylde is presenting The Politics of Producing Pleasure: Feminist Porn in Industry and Academe. Check out Danny’s bio here.

 

DannyWyldeHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I am a pornographic performer. Several years ago, I started to document my experiences in order to:
First, define what pornography is from a sex worker’s point of view.

Second, explore the ethics of porn production.

and

Third, open an honest dialog with consumers about how pornography effects those who watch it, and vice versa.

I believe this process – helped along by online dissemination – has some impact on the cultural perception of both sex workers and pornography itself.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

The catalyst for my change in thought process regarding sex work and pornography was the privilege of my on-camera participation and the ability to meet a great many of those who now make up my community.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?

I think there is a problem with classification/simplification that tends to misrepresent an entire culture. Such as when people make claims that pornography is about something specific – especially with negative connotation. Sexuality (including representations of sexuality) is never uniform. To say so is to negate our multi-faceted, human experience. This has far-reaching consequences, particularly in terms of censorship and discrimination.

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?

I believe the traction of the Feminist Porn Movement both within the academic and public sphere has been a great step forward. It allows us to move past adversarial conversations regarding porn, and into discussions on how representations of sexuality can make up positive experiences in our lives.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, The Politics of Producing Pleasure: Feminist Porn in Industry and Academe, to CatalystCon West?

I feel it’s important to bring Feminist Porn to CatalystCon West because the future of my industry may rely on a public perception of pornography as a valuable contribution to society.

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

I am addicted to Boba.

 

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here. Register for CatalystCon West here.

Speaker Spotlight: Jackie Strano

 CCON West 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Jackie Strano
Jun 252013
 

Jackie Strano is presenting Feminist Porn 101: What it is, What it isn’t, and Why it matters, Lesbo Retro: A Dyke Porn Retrospective and the Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance. Check out Jackie’s bio here.

 

Jackie StranoHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I have dedicated my life’s work to changing stigma around pleasure, sexual health, gender equality, gender roles, and sex and giving more people access to trusted information. I have worked hard at changing the way people think about sexuality in general whether that be as an independent film maker, performer, producer, or as an Executive at a Sex Positive Feminist retail company who also does product development.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Creating the movie Bend Over Boyfriend after helping couples pick out sex toys while working at a feminist sex toy store… working at Good Vibrations changed my life in so many ways…it’s where I met my future wife, some of my life-long friends and colleagues, where I experienced my own sexual awakening and identity so many years ago. It was quite a life changing lesson to be a big bull-dagger teaching men how to be penetrated… very feminist.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?

I am fearful of anything that calls out ‘female sexual dysfunction’ and prescribing a pill for it paid by big pharma and insidious slut shaming going on with mainstream rape culture especially with our young adults in this country and youth abroad. I am also devoted to getting more information out there regarding the rampant transmission of HIV among the young African-American male population.

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?

More mainstream conversations about vibrator use, masturbation, self-pleasure, as well as more access via Obamacare for health and reproductive rights for women… defeating of right wing women hating conservatives who ran for congress.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, Feminist Porn 101: What it is, What it isn’t, and Why it matters, to CatalystCon West?

Being a sex positive feminist informs everything I do and say. I care for my sons and family, the earth, my staff, my company, my town, my country and I want to be a force of good and an agent of social change.

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

I wasn’t born in this country and my father and his side of the family are holocaust survivors.

 

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here. Register for CatalystCon West here.

Speaker Spotlight: jessica drake

 CCON East 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: jessica drake
Mar 062013
 

jessica drake is presenting The Facts About Measure B and How It Impacts Us All, Slut Shaming in Sex Positive Communities and the CatalystCon Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance. Check out jessica’s bio here.

 

jessica drakeHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I really think we all have the potential to be catalysts in our own ways. Personally, I come from years in the adult industry as a contract performer, writer, and director for one of the top companies, Wicked Pictures. First, I realize I come equipped with a large fan base to get my message out, and I use this platform to help spread knowledge about sexuality and to encourage people to be open and comfortable communicating their needs and desires. At the same time, I also combat the stereotype pervading the very industry making me who I am. From my line of instructional DVDs to lobbying against Measure B and everything in between, I love and defend the adult industry, while challenging the misconceptions many people have about it. I change opinions, often just one at a time.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

I recognized very early in my career the need for more realistic sex education – porn does have an entertainment value, but for some, it is their sole reference for information. At a store signing, I had a woman come up to me worried she wasn’t always “ready” for anal sex the way she saw it happening in porn. It made me much more aware of the public perception, and it showed me the need to portray a more accurate representation of sexual experiences. This is but one of the many catalysts leading me down my path.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?

The biggest one is the stigma surrounding it. I’m not even talking about the stigma of my industry, but of sex in general. In a world where sex is supposedly so “mainstream,” the field of sexuality is still cloaked in shame. Most all of us have sex… why can’t we talk about it?

An international challenge in the field of sexuality right now is the educating of women in impoverished countries who have no real resources. Lack of HIV/AIDS awareness, family planning assistance, female genital mutilation, STI education – these things are only worsening the outlook of underdeveloped countries. If we strive to educate women, we can potentially impact future generations and in time, truly bring about change.

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?

I think the emergence of conferences like CatalystCon, which bring together like-minded people for the sake of discussion and progress brings about change in a direct way. When I attended last year, I had no idea what to expect, or how motivated and inspired I would be afterward.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, Slut Shaming in Sex Positive Communities, to CatalystCon East?

I am honored to be speaking on a few different panels with some amazingly iconic, inspirational people, but “Slut Shaming” hits very close to home… actually, it dive-bombs into my living room. I won’t give away the ending, but I’ll say it will be a very insightful panel.

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

I abhor wet socks almost as much as Dee and the Evil Sluts love Nutella. ; )

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here. Register for CatalystCon East here.

Speaker Spotlight: Dylan Ryan

 CCON East 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Dylan Ryan
Feb 152013
 

Dylan Ryan is presenting Feminist Porn: The Politics of Producing Pleasure. Check out  Dylan’s bio here.

 

Dylan RyanHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I have been lucky enough to be a part of the ever-growing wave of feminist adult performers who are impacting the way people see and think about the adult industry and adult performance.  I also continue to progress with my personal mission to connect women to unique and authentic female sexuality through my pornographic and multimedia performances.  I have always felt it important to show a woman enjoying sex, expressing her sexuality in an empowered and thoughtful way and I strive to do that in my work, writing and when speaking to people about porn and sexuality.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Not coincidentally, I have been inspired by so many of the presenters at Catalyst Con.  I think back to my start in the industry and the people I looked up to are the very same people I will have the honor of presenting with at the conference this year.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?

I feel that there is still incredible stigma around female sexuality.  There is still far less money available for research in female sexuality.  There are still far fewer films, books and sexuality resources created with women in mind.  It is still much more heavily stigmatized for a woman to be sexually open and promiscuous than when a man engages in the same behavior.  Women in sex work are still villianized.  Hell, sex work is still criminalized!  Though we have made great strides I still feel that female sexuality and women’s sexual rights are a mostly unconquered equality frontier.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, Feminist Porn: The Politics of Producing Pleasure, to CatalystCon East?

I think that the concept of porn as an educational tool and a tool for empowerment is still a very relevant one and especially interesting when explored within the context of feminism and feminist movements, both past and current.  As a porn performer and academic, I’m excited to sit on the panel with some of the foremost performers and scholars in feminist porn to discuss porn and adult performance, the politics of pleasure, education, identity, relevancy and the future of both the adult industry and society as it continues to progress toward a more open understanding of what it means to be a feminist that creates, thinks performs and works in sexuality.

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

I’m not sure that it’s little known at this point but it’s my favorite personal fact that always cracks up Dee Dennis:  I LOVE BACON.  Love.  Love it. And that tends to rile people up.  Which I kind of like since I’m a bit of a rabble rouser. I also like tea.  Almost as much as bacon.

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here. Register for CatalystCon East here.
%d bloggers like this: