Mon Apr 9, 2012
So far I’ve talked quite a bit about what was negative or questionable about my Momentum experience. You know how they say it takes 5 positive experiences to neutralize a single bad one? I suppose I was reacting to the things that I found difficult first, because they were definitely fresh in my mind. Now I really want to mention some things that were wonderful, because I think Tess and Dee did a wonderful job, I was proud to be a part of it, and let’s face it, it sucks to put so much time and energy into a project and then hear whining about it afterwards. With that preamble, my list:
1. I have never, ever been to a sex positive (or sex geek, which seems to be the new term) conference that actually was as inclusive of OPINION and EXPERIENCE as this one. Seriously, putting sex workers, feminist studies majors, pornographers, educators, and everyone else I can think of into the same mix? That was incredible, and not something I’d previously experienced. Maybe this is a new thing, as I’ve mentioned I had pretty much dropped out for the past several years with what’s going on, so maybe this is just the way it is. But it isn’t the way it WAS back when I was involved. Why is that so important? Well, duh. If you really want to know more about a subculture or an occupation or a fetish or a lifestyle or whatever, there is nothing better than hearing the voices of active participants in what you want to know about. Even as inclusive as the we tried to make the CSPSC back when we were initially getting it going in the late 90s, there were still things we were missing and things we were marginalizing.
2. I got my voice back. I feel rather selfish about this, and I didn’t get to speak as much as I wanted to (nor was I prepared as I should have been) on abuse within the BDSM community. I did a panel discussion with Nadia West, Kitty Stryker, Heidi Anderson and Nancy Schwartzman on this topic. It was emotional and scary to actually speak about, and I did most of it with a shaking voice, but I found myself when some of the audience questions started coming on, not only unafraid to answer, but compelled to get out what I needed to say on the topic. For years now I haven’t blogged mostly out of fear. Fear of saying too much, fear of offending, fear that maybe somehow my experience was wrong, or misinterpreted, or whatever. I feel, for whatever reason, like I truly got my voice back during that session and that conference. So sorry about that, you’ll all be hearing more of it. Oh, and I intend to blog particularly about my experience on that panel discussion, and on the awesome one Dr. Ruth Neustifter did called “Addressing Intimate Violence in Our Communities“. It was wonderful, and probably more along the lines of what I was talking about on my panel.
3. Time with Vamp, especially being her tour guide for food and wine for the weekend. I’m somewhat a wine aficionado. When I use that term, I mean more than I’m an enthusiast than an expert. Vamp hasn’t really ever had wine. (I know, right?!) She asked for opinions and selections, and I was more than willing to give them. I love good wine, especially good wine with proper food pairings because it makes all the difference in the world. So yes, while that was not technically a thing Momentum did, it was the venue that brought us together for that experience.
4. I got to meet a whole bunch of people that I’d previously only spoken to in emails or tweets. I got to see what everyone is doing now. I had the experience of seeing Dr. Jocelyn Elders speak, as well as the fabulous Esther Perel, who had more common sense to give on sexuality and relationships than anyone I’ve heard in a long time. That was cool.
5. Because there was so much to see, and there were 5 panels going on at any given time, I want to ask Vamp to guest-blog here in the coming days about a couple of the panels she went to. She attended “Bearing Responsible Witness: Sex Worker Stories and Social Justice” by Sabrina Morgan, Sarah Elspeth Patterson, Monica Shores. She also attended Audacia Ray’s “Why the Sex Positive Movement is Bad for Sex Workers’ Rights“, and a couple of others I missed that I think she’ll want to comment on, or at least I hope so.
At any rate, it was incredibly positive overall to see the breadth and scope of what occurred there. Where before it seemed as if there was no place under the term “feminism” for someone who likes a little power exchange with their sex life, there was one here. Where before it seemed like sex workers, even in a community that supposedly supported them, would never get a voice but only maybe a donation, their voices were heard. Oh, and I should mention also that it was awesome to see the vibrant Joan Price doing the presentation on “Senior Sex Out Loud”. Neither of us got to attend that panel, we were in rooms on opposite sides. We could hear through the walls the amount of raucous fun being had in there.
Anyhow. To atone for processing the negative stuff first, I had to get this one out.