As a transgender man who identifies as queer, Emmett Ellingson-Ford says adolescence was difficult enough navigating his gender identity, and the fact that high schools focus on heteronormative sex education didn’t help. Now, Ellingson-Ford, as president of the student-run Gender & Sexuality Alliance at Lane Community College, is hosting LCC’s first-ever Sex Symposium Jan. 23.
“The wider purpose is to open up the discussion and provide information about LBGTQ sex and intimacy since it tends to get brushed over in traditional education,” Ellingson-Ford tells EW. “It will be a really blunt and specific conversation.”
Ellingson-Ford says much of the symposium discussion will focus on answering questions that students submit anonymously beforehand to the drop box at the GSA office (Building 1, Room 206 at LCC) or online at wkly.ws/1wh.
There will also be three panelists: LCC human sexuality instructor Samantha Gibeau, Oblio Stroyman, former marriage and family therapist who now works at As You Like It — the new eco-conscious gender-inclusive sex shop on West 11th, and Andrew Clark, the GSA advisor at the Looking Glass Riverfront School.
“Oregon has some really fantastic sex-ed laws for high school and middle school students,” Clark says, but there’s “not a lot of info for queer youth.” He adds, “I hear consistently huge amounts of disinformation represented.”
Clark says, in addition to answering questions, he will discuss consent, condoms and lubrications, how to engage in condom negotiation, sex toys, sexually transmitted infections and sero-positioning — or strategically choosing sex positions to reduce risk depending on a sexual partner’s or couple’s HIV status. For example, Clark says for a gay man, “If you are the HIV-positive partner, you have less risk of transmitting HIV if you’re the bottom or receptive partner.”
The Gender & Sexuality Alliance hosts the Sex Symposium 5 to 7 pm Friday, Jan. 23, at Lane Community College’s Center for Meeting and Learning, Building 19, Rooms 102-103. The event is free. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://wkly.ws/1wi.