When you get fired from your job for having a sex website, and then a sex blogger calendar with a “Sexual Freedom” theme kicks you off their calendar project for being “too controversial.”
That happened to me last year.
You know what else is ironic?
When you’re a sex educator who gets uninvited to a “Modern Sex” conference at Oregon State University because of your website and resume.
That happened to Tristan Taormino today.
Sometimes the irony is almost funny, but I ain’t laughing. Instead, I’m spreading the word and contacting the university that made this unfortunate decision.
Is it sexism? Sex educator Charlie Glickman is still allowed to speak at the event. Is Tristan too edgy for the university? Is it a higher up in the school catching wind of the plans too late and having a knee jerk reaction? I’m assuming the people involved early on in the planning did their research when hiring speakers. Is it money driven? From the press release it looks like the answer is an obvious yes. SO many awful decisions boil down to $$$.
One thing for sure – the decision was based on fear and ignorance, and we cannot allow fear and ignorance to inhibit growth and happiness.
Please read the detailed press release posted on her website.
A note from Tristan:
Don’t Let the Anti-Sex Conservatives Win!
If you support free speech and my mission of sexual empowerment, please voice your opinion about OSU’s decision to cancel my appearance at the last minute (and not reimburse me for travel expenses) to the following people. I would really appreciate your support —Tristan
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
632 Kerr Administration Building
Corvallis, OR 97331-2154
Dr. Mamta Motwani Accapadi
Dean of Student Life
A200 Kerr Administration Building
Corvallis, OR 97331-2133
Dr. Edward J. Ray
600 Kerr Administration Building
Corvallis, OR 97331-2128
It seems particularly absurd to disinvite her to a conference on modern sexuality.
That seems like EXTREMELY poor planning and organization on the university’s part. One would imagine whoever invited her to the event KNEW about Taormino’s work and website, so it’s lame for them to suddenly claim funding issues at the last minute.
That being said, it’s a lesson to ALL of us who write, speak or work independently to never spend a penny on travel or accommodation until that contract’s signed. Tristan had no reason to expect they’d go back on their word, and it reflects very poorly on OSU that they did. It’s something that should make ALL speakers wary of working with them in the future.
I was heavily involved on the all-student planning committee for the Modern Sex conference.
Before inviting Tristan Taormino, I researched OSU’s administrative policies and procedures and found no policy regarding the funding of campus speakers. At every opportunity, we made sure to give university administrators a complete picture of her work. We included Tristan’s biography and a link to her website in all of the email we sent about this conference. In that biography, she describes herself as, “an award-winning author, columnist, editor, and sex educator.” She does not describe herself as a pornographer anywhere in her biography, and we did not omit anything or mislead anyone at any point.
The administration is not working within any publicly available guidelines, making its reversal completely arbitrary. Consequently, we don’t believe there is anything we could have done to prevent this from happening.
Before issuing a public statement about Tristan’s cancellation, Oregon State University had a responsibility to collect all of the available information about this topic. This should have started by asking the students on the planning committee about our strategy and motives. I am appalled that I pay tuition to a university that is dismissive of our professional development and that publicly smears our reputations without thought.
You can watch an interview with Tristan and me here:
Thank you so much for sharing this video link and your close perspective of the situation. So unfortunate that it went down like this.