Last night's panel discussion of sex work and civil liberties at Harvard Law School, hosted by the HLS ACLU, the American Constitution Society and the Women's Law Association (?) was a learning experience. I learned that some formats, which sound helpful in theory, are very limiting in practice. I learned that one should never make assumptions about an audience. And I learned that when you've had the last word and the panel is officially over, letting it be reopened is a very bad idea.
The panel was extremely well moderated. Professor Glen Cohen promised at the beginning to keep a tight rein on the discussion and he did. That made me feel confident and safe going into the discussion that it would not become a shouting match nor be derailed by questions that are not really questions. Unfortunately that limited the opportunities for panelists to respond to each other. It meant that if we were to play by the rules (where did I learn to be such a good girl?) we could not easily challenge each other's evidence, or revisit questions once the discussion had moved on. For example, if an audience member had a question specifically for Melissa Farley, and Farley answered using anecdotal or unreliable evidence, as soon the question was answered a new question was invited. There were only a few questions that were posed to the whole panel and it was hard to get back to earlier questions without deviating from the format. So, lesson number one: advocate for format change or break the rules if necessary to get important information out.
I just got back from a New York State United Teachers conference and tomorrow I'm heading up to Cambridge to participate in a panel discussion about sex work and civil liberties. If you're in that area I'd love to see you there!
Sex Work and Civil Liberties: A Panel Discussion
Monday, 11/16, 5:30pm
Harvard Law School ACLU
Pound 107 (map of the law school campus: http://www.law.harvard.edu/about/map.html)
Featuring Vednita Carter, Dr. Melissa Farley, Dr. Samantha Majic, & Dr. Elizabeth Wood.
Moderated by Professor I. Glenn Cohen
Free and open to the public
Co-sponsored by American Constitution Society, Women's Law Association, & Harvard Law Students for Reproductive Justice
If any NYC-area readers are attending this event I would love to publish reports from it. I can't attend, myself, and want to hear all about the exhibits. What follows is completely copied from the New View Campaign website for the event:
The New View Campaign organized an arts and crafts exhibit and political event titled “Vulvagraphics” on October 24-25, 2009 to celebrate the role of art in activism and to kick off a campus-based movement to celebrate genital diversity.
Those of you in Halifax are are in the middle of Queer and Rebel Days and I'd love to hear about them.
From the web site:
Queer and Rebel Days 2009 is a week of performances, discussions, food, and workshops in Halifax, NS, running from July 10 - 16, 2009. All events are free, trans and queer positive, and childcare is available upon request. Most events are based at the Roberts St. Social Centre, 5684 Roberts St., Halifax; see the Event Details page for more info.
Our goals are:
Check here for events and announcements.
This year my partner and I both missed our anniversary. A week after it had passed, as we were talking on the phone while I was in my mother's hospital room, he said to me: Do you realize our anniversary was a week ago? I had not. And in a similar way I almost missed the second birthday of SexInThePublicSquare.org. Yesterday on Twitter CatalinaLoves said to me "So I read on the @NYCSexBlogCal that SITPS turns 2 tomorrow? RU Celebrating in some way?" I had specifically put the birthday on the calendar so that I would not forget it. And what happened? I forgot it!
It is hard to believe that it's been two years since Chris Hall and I launched this site. In that time we've welcomed new regular contributors (Lou FCD, Michael Goodyear, Caroline) and have been honored by the contributions of guests (Lorraine K, M. P. Clark, Lolita, LisaVNYC, Rebecca Deos). We held a very productive forum on sex work, trafficking and human rights, and we've created a space for the stories of outed sex workers who want to speak out.
Carol Queen reading from my favorite story of hers, Leather Daddy and the Femme.Click here for more photos from the evening!
I wish I'd marked on my calendar the date I first read Carol Queen's The Leather Daddy and the Femme. That would be the date when something clicked inside my brain and connected the fragmented parts of my erotic and intellectual understanding of my sexuality. Real Live Nude Girl and Pomosexuals cemented my crush on Carol. And then several years ago through a remarkable chain of mutual friends and happy coincidences we got to know each other "IRL". I'm thrilled that now Sex In The Public Square and Center for Sex and Culture can work together on all things sexual-freedom-related. To that end, we're co-hosting a cocktail hour and reading on Monday, June 8 from 6-9 in NYC. The event is free and open to the public (as long as you're over 21). Donations to Center for Sex and Culture are welcomed, and we're counting on you to help us meet our bar guarantee!
What: A Sex-Positive Soiree and Reading
Who: Carol Queen visits from San Francisco, joined by Rachel Kramer Bussel, Elizabeth Wood, Audacia Ray, and Sinclair Sexsmith!
When: Monday, June 8, 6-9 pm (reading will start between 7:30-8, last about an hour).
Where: Happy Ending, 302 Broome Street, NYC
Why: Carol Queen's coming through town and wants to collaborate with her friends Rachel and Elizabeth to make a space for connecting, schmoozing, touching base, and furthering plans for sex-positive world domination! Her SF nonprofit The Center for Sex & Culture has hosted Rachel Kramer Bussel, worked with Elizabeth Wood on her online community Sex in the Public Square, and has plans to expand its educational and cultural offerings online as soon as we can (if we can't afford NY real estate, at least we can visit you via your computers). Come mingle with your fellow NY sex people and meet some new ones, then enjoy a reading that will surely be more salaciously smart/sexy brain candy than most people ever get on a Monday (and in some cases, sadly, EVER). Cosponsored by the hotties at the NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar (www.sexbloggercalendar.com to benefit www.sexworkawareness.org). Free calendars! Signed! (The theme for the 2010 calendar, in production now, is sexual freedom -- yay NYC Sex Bloggers!)
Open to everyone 21+ -- please pass it on.
How much: FREE, but we have a bar guarantee to meet, so have a drink, and donations will be gratefully accepted for the Center for Sex & Culture -- no amount to big or too small, and tax-deductible!Click here for more info about our readers - It's a fabulous lineup!
conference in Washington DC and to Audacia Ray and Sex Work Awareness for the excellent Speak Out! media training where Calico learned to be a whiz with a Flip cam.
Here is the session that Renegade Evolution and I co-facilitated: "Building Bridges & Alliances between researchers, sex workers & clients":
Link to this blog: http://tinyurl.com/pphl9f
Video courtesy of Calico. You can find more at her Blip.tv page.
Sex 2.0 2009 is one week away, and I'm very excited about it. Here is the list of sessions and as soon as I see an actual schedule I'll post that. I hope you'll join us if you can, if not in person at the event, then online by following any of the twitterers or livebloggers who will be sending out real time updates during the day. There's still time to register. Click here for the registration page.
Last year, in Atlanta, under the guidance of Amber Rhea, a brand new grassroots conference was born. Its goal was to bring together smart people interested in sex, technology and social media in a space where we could talk to each other as equals, no hierarchy, and with the agenda being driven by the community. It was a very successful event.
This year, in Washington DC, under the guidance of Match, the conference will again bring together a group of people from a wide range of backgrounds to discuss sexuality, society and technology. It is going to be a great mix of sessions. I'm co-leading a session with Ren of Renegade Evolution about how to build trust and alliances between sex worker communities, researchers, client communities, and others. I'm especially looking forward to sessions on community building (MayMay), dismantling the internet "red light district" (Melissa Gira Grant and Joanne McNeil), advocacy for sexual freedom (Ricci Levy and David Phillips), community-academic alliances for research (CARAS), polyamory (Anita Wagner) and on sex work (Audacia Ray, Kimberlee Cline, Furry Girl, Sabrina Morgan, and Ellie Lumpesse. Really the whole lineup is pretty impressive and I wish I could see everything!Click here to read more on Sex 2.0, feminism, and intersecting communities.