CatalystCon Wraps, Announces Dr. Jocelyn Elders as Next Keynote

WASHINGTON, D.C.—CatalystCon East wrapped a successful three-day run Sunday, ending with the announcement by founder and organizer Dee Dennis that Dr. Jocelyn Elders has been tapped to deliver the closing keynote at CatalystCon West in September.

“It will be similar to how we handled the closing address this time around, with a fireside chat format with Dr. Jocelyn Elders and Lynn Comella,” Dennis told AVN. “She is one of the most powerful speakers I have ever seen. This is the woman who, as surgeon general, talked about masturbation, and lost her job for it. The sad thing is, is that if it happened today I think she would still lose her job.”

The announcement of Elders came at the end of CatalystCon East, which took place March 15-17 in Washington, D.C. Sex workers, activists, educators and more gathered at the conference designed to spark communication about sex and sexuality.

Some of the 40 speaker sessions at CatalystCon East mimicked panels that were presented last September at the West Coast event in Long Beach, Calif., but with slightly modified information and panelists. Topics included everything from how to overcome and/or prevent being a burned-out sexuality professional to a slut shaming in sex-positive communities to confronting homophobia in communities of color, and so much more.

One of the most popular sessions was “The Facts About Measure B and How It Impacts Us All,” which featured condom-only performer/director Jessica Drake, industry attorney Michael W. Fattorosi and educator/director Tristan Taormino. Dennis created the panel herself because she saw so many people who thought it was a “porn issue” or one that only affected California. The trio of panelists presented the history of the issue, and explained how it could affect monogamous couples who might want to do a cam show from the privacy of their own home.

Taormino and Drake noted that a major problem with the law is that it was crafted without any input from the people it would protect.

Drake, a Wicked contract girl who does condom-only perform, said she has become a vocal detractor because the laws has the government presuming to tell people what they can do with their bodies.

“It should always be a personal decision,” she said. “And it’s really much more complicated than just making people use condoms in porn. I resent the ability of the government to be able to tell me that this is a necessity.”

Other hot topics included “How to Be An Ally To Sex Workers In Theory And Practice,” “Good Girls Don’t Have Sex,” and “Does This Panel Make Me Look Fat?”

In addition to the speaker sessions, CatalystCon East featured an opening reception, the In The Flesh Reading Series, Dirty Bingo with Ducky Doolittle, a presentation of award winners by CineKink and a closing afternoon tea session with Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence.

CatalystCon brings together some of the best sex-positive activists, bloggers, adult industry members, academics and sex workers to discuss issues related to both their everyday lives and the government's continuing war on all sexual freethinkers.

CatalystCon is a conference created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality. It is about reaching out and stimulating those who attend to create those important conversations in their own communities, changing how society talks about and treats sexuality.

For more information, or to find out more about CatalystCon West, which is scheduled for Sept. 27-29 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, Calif., visit