With a slew of workshops, panels and talks on all things sex, the fifth annual Playground is a must see and do. All events at the three-day-long conference are meant to be inclusive, but the following list of some of the queer presenters may help you decide which sessions to attend.
Carly Black (who notes that when she’s not being Carly she uses the pronoun they), whose orientation is sapiosexual, has been a sex worker for about seven years. She’s giving a talk called Sex Working: Debunking Myths, Humanizing Sexual Labour, and One Woman’s Experience in the Sex Industry. She will discuss such topics as the myths surrounding sex work, discrimination and how to humanize sex workers. She says that sex work should be considered as “benign and worthy of respect” as any other job. For more information on Black, visit her Twitter page.
(Photo credit: N Maxwell Lander)
The queer-identified Heather Elizabeth (who uses all gender pronouns) is a sexuality agitator, educator and empowerment coach. She helps people define sexuality on their own terms, addressing such subjects as BDSM, alternative relationship structures and consent. They will lead a workshop called It’s Terrifying — and You’re Gonna do it Anyway: Relationships, Vulnerability and Resiliency, in which he will address such questions as How do we stay resilient when it comes to dating? and How do we cope when a relationship ends? For more information on Elizabeth, visit heatherelizabeth.ca.
(Photo credit: Glenn Rodgers)
Andrew Morrison-Gurza writes and presents on the subject of being queer and disabled under the brand Deliciously Disabled. His presentation, Introducing the Deliciously Disabled Queer Cripple, is intended to not only educate people on the subject, but to help attendees confront their discomfort. He is also involved with the storytelling event Tell Me Something Good, the workshop The Art of the Hookup When You’re Hot and Disabled, and the panel Better Practices for a Community Building Around Sex/uality. For more information on Morrison-Gurza, visit andrewmorrisongurza.com.
Maron de Sade
(Photo Credit: Dan Henderson)
The queer-identified Maron de Sade (who uses the pronoun they) is kinky, polyamorous and a parent. They’re co-facilitating The Poly and Kink Parenting Panel, an event where people with an interest in this subject can compare experiences and learn from one another. De Sade sees this as a chance for like-minded people to network. “[It’s important to have] people that you can go to that know what you’re going through and you don’t have to alter the wording of your questions to make them acceptable for the general public,” they say. For more information, you can find de Sade on Twitter.
Lynx Sainte-Marie (who uses the pronoun they) is a poet, multimedium artist, activist and educator. The queer-identified Sainte-Marie is most interested in issues relating to disability, gender equity and diversity, sex and sexuality, and black liberation. They are moderating a panel entitled Discussing Relationships/Situationships with a few QTPOC. For this, they have invited some people to share personal stories about negotiating sex and/or love as racialized, multi-issue people. For more information on Sainte-Marie, visit lynxsaintemarie.wordpress.com.
Friday, Nov 13–Sunday, Nov 15, 2015
Holiday Inn Downtown Centre, 30 Carlton St, Toronto
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that several of the speakers were gender neutral, and incorrectly stated an artist’s medium usage.