Church groups and sex toys

In the lead up to the Loud Love event we have reached out to several different communities to both bolster the attendance of the event and diversify the world views of the participants.  This has put us into conversation with local progressive church groups, some of whom are curious about why we reached out to them.  In response to one pastor’s query about my characterization of the event as “edgy” i wrote the following letter.

infinite love

i think it is totally appropriate for you to consult with members of your church before you go forward with posting our announcement.  And part of what i think makes churches and other groups “progressive” is their willingness to engage with people who have quite different views than they have.  There are several sets of parents already registered for the event and there is child care provided.  We are quite conscious of what is child appropriate and what is not.

Rather than being vague about what is “edgy”, i wanted to give a couple of examples.  In the Drag Kings 101 workshop there what has been called a “Reverse Strip Tease” in which the facilitator of the workshop goes from being dressed in male clothing and donning tough demeanor thru costume changes and ultimately appears as a classically “dolled up” female.  There is no nudity in these theatrics, but it is a very powerful transformation which challenges notions on gender and identity presentation.

There is a workshop on kink through a feminist lens.  Which discusses sex play that is outside many peoples experience, but this is not a tutorial on these practices, but rather an exploration of how these are made safe for the participants and how to insure that everyone involved is operating with full consent.And while the event does push on peoples beliefs, the organizers are committed to it being respectful and inclusive.  We hope it is possible for you to promote it to your parishioners and we appreciate you considering this conference.

Slightly to my surprise, after having edgy described to them (and some lobbying by Angie) they agreed to promote the event.

At the same time on the other side we organizers have the opportunity to have vendors at the event including the groovy DC sex toy shop The Garden.  They describe themselves like this:

“…. a sexuality resource center and toy shop where you will find a
body positive, sex positive and shame free environment in which to
grow your sexual knowledge and increase your pleasure. The foundation of The Garden is sexuality education for adults and a commitment to body safe and eco-friendly products.
The Garden is a queer woman owned business that caters to the whole DC community no matter your sex, gender, race, income, sexual experience or….well…if you have a body I want you to learn and shop here!  ”

The logistics of how to display these wares in a way which takes care of the needs of parents at the event may make it impossible for us to bring this vendor, but looking at these types of concerns and how to best make it work for all involved is why creating this event is both tricky and compelling to the organizing team.