Sexual Freedom Summit: Friday

Got downstairs too late for the Summit breakfast so slipped over to the restaurant for tea and breakfast buffet.

girlsex101First up was Allison Moon’s talk on Self Publishing. Allison has published several books. I had just read Bad Dyke on my Kindle a few weeks previous and was interested to hear her speak.

Allie led us through the steps she had taken when publishing her first novels a few years ago, her memoir Bad Dyke and her recent Girl Sex 101. She talked about choosing whether to work within the publishing establishment or doing it on your own. Publishing began to change in the 1980s, and the start of the Internet in the 1990s only accelerated that. Fascinating stuff and lots to think about as I help some friends with their publishing choices.

(Side note: I have a background in publishing, since before the Internet and even before Desktop Publishing. I worked for a publisher in New York in 1970-1971, when we still used T-squares and rubber cement. I also worked with a women’s printing/publishing collective in Vancouver, BC in the late-1970s. In the mid-1980s I went back to school to learn computer graphic design and the newest advance in the field, Desktop Publishing.)

After this session I did a Volunteer stint at the registration table and found some time to talk with exhibitors and other folks and grab a quick lunch.

The afternoon’s session on Trauma in Maternity Care was intense to say the least. It brought me full circle back to where my interest in women’s health started. Vera Levitt Casey had stopped by the registration table and when I told her of my background in lay midwifery, she hoped I would join her and Nina Hartley in talking about birth trauma.

(Side note: I was a traditional or lay midwife in British Columbia from the mid 1970s until the mid 1980s. I learned best practices from other midwives at the Vancouver Birth Centre. I also worked with the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective as a women’s health teacher and clinic worker. In 1974 I also went to Vancouver Community College to train as an LPN.) 

SpiritualMidwiferyInaMayGaskinMost folks know Nina as an actress in adult films, but I was more interested in the fact she has a BS in Nursing and is an RN. I was delighted when she talked about The Farm and Spiritual Midwifery and Leboyer’s Birth Without Violence. Those people and their birth books had been my bibles when I was pregnant and working as a midwife.

When birth is taken out of a woman’s hands (almost literally) and given to other’s who do not respect her wishes and needs, interventions such as episiotomies and c-sections (with resulting PTSD) are almost inevitable. It is 40+ years since the natural childbirth movement began and birth interventions in hospitals have only become more commonplace. So many women attending this session were completely surprised and in the dark about what really goes on during childbirth in the US. Time to start another revolution…

I finished the day by going to the Keynote on Using Tech to Fight for Freedom. Powerful words and thoughts about how the Women of Color Sexual Health Network wants to use social media to advance justice-oriented work. Whew!

After such an intense day I sequestered myself in a corner of the lounge with a couple of vodka’s/ginger ale and wrote in my journal. The day had been a review of what I have done over the years – publishing, women’s health, activism. Now as I aim to carry all that I’ve learned forward where can I have the most impact?