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Apr 072012

A week ago I was at the Momentum conference. I brought home some fabulous memories, copious notes, some books and a bottle of lube,, and a lot to think about. Processing it all will take a while.

There are many things I want to write about.
Jaclyn Friedman’s talk about the importance of authentic sexual liberation in combatting the harm of sexualization.
Charlie Glickman’s “queer is a verb”, which you can read here.
The connections between sex education and health promotion.
Other gems hiding in my notes.

I did however want to say something about Audacia Ray’s State of the Sexual Union which she presented at the Friday evening opening panel. I would imagine that Audacia felt some trepidation questioning the role of sex positive feminism at a conference that bills itself as being about “sexuality, feminism, and relationships”. I know that her words received notice. My partner Scott, who came to the sessions on Saturday, asked me about the questions being raised about the meaning of sex positive. I hope that Audacia’s contribution was met with inquiry and conversation, not malice and backlash. The other part of Momentum’s subtitle is “making waves”.
We’ll never have much movement if we don’t make waves within our own community. New voices need to speak; old voices need to say new things.

I have been a feminist for many years, but I learned early on in my feminist career, as an undergrad student in Women’s Studies, that the feminist voice, both academic and social justice, excluded part of me. Now, twelve years later at Momentum, mine is finally not the only voice talking about bodily difference related to disability. From a question raised by an audience member in the Opening Keynote panel, to comments throughout the sessions, to positive feedback to “ready, sexy, able” the session I co-presented on sexuality and disability, to another question at the closing keynote, sexuality and ability had a voice at Momentum. That is the first feminist space I’ve been in where I haven’t been the one raising all the questions. It’s also the first space I’ve been in where, as someone with a visible disability, I felt fully and completely equal to other conference participants.

While all of this requires much more exploration and discovery, I thought I’d share some of the Momentum highlights, in no particular order of significance or occurrence.

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