Sex outside the box

McGill’s (re)Doing It! week brings you the sex ed you didn’t get in high school

Q ueer McGill is dedicating this week to sex re-education, with events ranging from a series of workshops on BDSM, polyamory, and phone sex, to talks about transgender issues, reproductive autonomy, and body image. Titled (re)Doing It! week, the series will explore our attitudes and assumptions about sexuality, pushing people to question value judgments and stereotypes. As the Facebook group puts it: “How much of what we know about sex is taken for granted? What’s hot, or normal, or disgusting, and where do these assumptions come from? This isn’t your high school sex ed class.”

To get a better sense of what the events are about, we sat down wi eth Queer McGill’s political action coordinator, Adam Wheeler. He explained that “sex negativity leads to so much of queer oppression, so engaging in open and honest discussion to promote sex positivity is one of our main goals.”

But QM isn’t doing it alone. QPIRG McGill, the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy, the Union for Gender Empowerment, the Social Equity and Diversity Education Office, and FAKE (Fetish and Kink Enthusiasts) McGill are co-sponsoring different events.

FAKE McGill is a new club on campus whose mandate is still evolving, but was established in hopes of creating a non-judgmental, sex-positive space for education and open dialogue about fetish and kink issues.

While the events are mostly designed for students, Wheeler stressed that “the harmful assumptions that we hope to uncover are structural. McGill is one context where we have the opportunity to challenge this, through different groups and resources.”

QM and its collaborators have certainly broken the McGill and Montreal bubble, bringing in presenters from Boston, Toronto, and even the Bay Area, where keynote Pat Califia has been a writer and activist since the seventies. After attending a few events, it is clear that they are attracting a wide audience, both from within the McGill community and greater Montreal.

The events offer a large variety of topics and different opportunities for participation, with a cabaret comedy night about phone sex on Monday, a discussion about the abortion debate on campus Tuesday, the keynote on Wednesday, a historical porn film on Thursday, and a hands-on BDSM workshop for Friday – plus a few more, and of course, the after-party. With such a diversity of issues covered, we had to ask Wheeler what exactly he hoped people could take away from the week.

“Hopefully, people will try new things and have better sex, but ultimately reflect on things we take for granted for sex, how they can be harmful, how sex can be pleasurable and political.” So far it’s been an awesome combination of laughter, education, and eye-opening moments, so be sure to check out what’s going on today and tomorrow!