#SFS19 Friday Recap: Radical Dreaming, Activism, and Vulnerability

Carmen Vázquez kicked off our second day of #SFS19 with an inspiring plenary titled “Through the darkness I see the light.” In her talk, she discussed the role of radical dreaming in being able to imagine a world where sexual freedom is actualized.

After Friday’s Summit—we’re reflecting on dreaming, activism, and vulnerability. Here are highlights from Friday and what you can look forward to on Saturday!

 

RADICAL DREAMING

Carmen Vasquez at the podium with the Woodhull Freedom Foundation logo on the screen in the back.

Carmen spoke about human rights as an aspirational flame of freedom and justice—and the importance of knowing that our aspirational visions are a part of every fight for justice. According to Carmen, we need to make the U.S. Constitution better reflect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“We must embrace and elevate our dreams,” Carmen said. “We must move beyond equality to justice and human rights or we will not survive.”

Following Carmen’s speech, one attendee had this to say:

“Carmen was outstanding. She really brought home the point that human rights are a higher level order…That human rights are the value that we need to strive for aspirationally.”

The conversation was continued at the session, “Strengthening Our Social Justice Movements Using a Human Rights Framework,” with Sandra Castro Solis from the U.S. Human Rights Network.

ACTIVISM

If we are going to achieve sexual freedom and human rights, we are going to have to fight for it. The Summit is a space to conspire with people across fields and sectors towards a vision of sexual freedom and liberation.

jessica drake and Nina Hartley led a workshop “From the Streets to the Screen: Sex Work and Activism.”

The big takeaways from their presentation?

Take action.
Do what you can.
Know that you are powerful.

Speaking of activism, this week it was announced that the Trump administration changes to Title X could force Planned Parenthood to withdraw from the family planning program, unless a federal court intervenes.

Planned Parenthood was here at #SFS19 tabling on Friday, talking with people about reproductive health and giving away shirts that say “Health Care is a Human Right.” Getting to Zero Alexandria was also offering on-site HIV testing.

Many people were channeling their feelings about threats to our bodily and sexual autonomy into Friday afternoon sessions. Sessions like “Know Your Rights: Practical Knowledge for Criminalized Communities and Allies” and “LGBTQ Criminalization: Why Sex Work is a Central LGBTQ issues” discussed the current political climate and steps to taking action.

Friday evening’s film also focused on activism and change. “The War on Whores” is a documentary where sex worker and author Maggie McNeill tells her startling tale about the persecution of sex workers.

 

VULNERABILITY

Two people sitting at a table look into the camera and smile.

Social change takes action—but it also takes vulnerability. The vulnerability to tell the truths of our experiences. The vulnerability to listen with openness. The vulnerability to be hopeful.

At Woodhull Sexual Freedom Foundation, we practice vulnerability as a radical act.

Nothing embodies that more than jessica drake and Joan Price’s panel for the premiere of “Guide to Wicked Sex: Senior Sex Edition.” The panel also featured two of the performers in the film.

Both the film and the discussion were humorous, informative, sensual, and honest.

https://twitter.com/AugstMcLaughlin/status/1162409167291867136

Sex doesn’t have an expiration date—but it can look different—and the representation that this guide provides is invaluable. We can’t wait for the future Wicked Sex editions to continue showing the breadth of senior sex.

The evening entertainment was also full of vulnerability. The DC Smut Slam: Sexual Freedom Edition is a Sexual Freedom Summit favorite. The night of storytelling is a reminder about how powerful and transformative it can be to share our experiences with one another.

Our main takeaway? We need more stories. More vulnerability.

WHAT’S AHEAD

 We’ve got one more full day of activity at #SFS19! Here’s a snapshot of what’s happening Saturday and check out the full schedule here.

  • Sessions throughout the day on sex work, older-age sexuality, accountability, abortion, sexual healing, kink, and more!
  • The Vicki Sexual Freedom Awards honoring Equality Florida’s Executive Director Nadine Smith and The National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Executive Director Kate Kendell.
  • Our evening entertainment, Bubbles and Burlesque, starting at 8:30 p.m. in the Terrace Ballroom. The event is open to the public. Tickets included in registration and $20 at the door.

And keep tagging us in your photos and social media posts: #SFS19 @WoodhullSFA.

People sit in chairs during a session and look ahead at the presenters.

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