Good Vibrations Makes the Scene at Catalyst Con
Earlier this month, Educator Andy and Staff Sexologist Carol Queen traveled to LA to represent Good Vibrations at Catalyst, a sexuality conference that gathers educators, academics, bloggers, activists and others to share perspectives in a diverse and sex-positive environment. We’ve been sponsoring CatCon for some time, and are proud to be a part of this enriching experience.
This year, in addition to attending and presenting workshops and networking from dawn to (long past) dusk, Andy staffed our Good Vibes table to make sure everyone at the conference had access to supplies and information. Meanwhile, Carol helped sell books and served as the moderator for the opening plenary panel. She also taught a pre-con workshop with her partner Robert Lawrence.
The opening and closing panels are highlights of Catalyst. This year, CQ’s panelists were Allison Moon the author of Girlsex 101; comedian Ken Cosby; sex work activist Meg Vallee; and UC Santa Barbara professor Constance Penley, who’s taught porn studies classes in their Film & Media Studies Department for 25 years. (She’s one of The Feminist Porn Book editors, too.) Pulling threads from the news, peoples’ own activist focus and experience, and themes to be explored throughout the conference, Carol crafted questions for each and moderated a wide-ranging discussion.
Andy got to participate in the Catalyst Con POC Meet Up which provides a safe space for attendees of color to meet and discuss issues of race, racism & inclusion within our sex education, activism & advocacy communities. “Having dedicated safe spaces for POC sex educators to build, to shine, to vent, to be loud and let our voices sing and laugh and heal among each other is an essential part of why I feel so comfortable at Catalyst Con. Lots of events want to be open to everyone, but Catalyst continues to find ways to give the space back to people who are often overlooked. That’s growth.” says Andy Duran.
Carol, our Sex Ed Superhero, stayed busy with FIVE panels over the weekend! She moderated the Slash erotic fiction panel (women writing often homoerotic takes on pop culture pairings like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, unf!), supported Robert in a session on Sex & Disability, did a Self-Publishing talk with Allison Moon, discussed Using Humor in Sex Ed alongside expert Cathy Vartuli and comedian Ken Cosby, and was on a panel discussion called “#MeToo: Reckoning or Sex Panic?”
Wonder what goes on at a Sex Ed conference after the sessions come to a close? Well if you’re Educator Andy, you’d probably be found line dancing with the one and only Joan Price! That’s right, when she’s not writing bestsellers like Naked At Our Age, Joan Price can be found teaching dance classes! “Joan teaches us to be in our bodies even when our bodies aren’t shown in the mainstream. As a fat person, this really speaks to me. She also considers us younger folk as ‘Seniors in Training’ which now provides me with a sense of longevity in a world that often wants to stay young forever or fade away. As Joan says, ‘Your sexuality doesn’t have an expiration date.'”
The closing keynote was exceptional. It featured Jimanekia Eborn, Dirty Lola, and Zyra Lee Vanity, three extremely talented, fierce sexual health educators who graciously broke down for us about their experience with the lack of inclusivity within the field of sex education and sex positive events.
So much interesting discussion! The sexuality communities, whether activist or identity-based (or both), are so very diverse that it’s incredibly important and valuable to meet in a group like this and have these amazing conversations. As Dee Dennis, Catalyst’s founder, says on the conference website, she seeks to “unite sex educators, sexologists, sex workers, writers, activists, and anyone with a passion for creating change. ‘Knowledge is power, and sharing that knowledge is the first spark in igniting change.’ This is the fundamental principle behind CatalystCon.” Good Vibrations is so happy to participate in this amazing project.