Tristan Taormino, is an author, feminist, award winning pornographer and sex educator, who runs puckerup.com and directs pornography through a feminist lens for Vivid Entertainment. She writes of her professional goals as educating “people of all genders and sexual orientations in their pursuit of healthy, empowering, and transformative sex and relationships.” In tandem with these admirable and important goals, Taormino frequents universities giving lectures on queer issues, gender and feminism.
Recently, Taormino was asked to be the keynote speaker at Oregon State University’s Modern Sex conference, and was later revoked this invitation based on the content of her resume and website. Her impressive resume, which includes lectures at Yale and Columbia, the publication of several books, TV appearances etc. was part of the basis of her “uninvite.” Considering that Taormino is an accomplished author, filmmaker and educator, her silencing by OSU is alarming.
On the matter Taormino said,
“I’m extremely disappointed that OSU has decided to cancel my appearance…I have never misrepresented who I am or what I do. I am proud of all the work I do, including the sex education films and feminist pornography I make,”
Even though Taormino is completely public and unapologetic about her work, OSU deemed her unqualified for their funding after her appearance was booked and her travel arrangements made. (And mind you, without reimbursing her for travel expenses.)
A post on Fleshbot wrote,
“I value her voice and positive message of sexual empowerment and freedom…I’m also quite disturbed by the implication that her affiliation with the adult industry makes her unfit to speak on a public university campus.”
This brings up an important point. Any sex-positive educator or activist has to unfortunately face these challenges, but despite these roadblocks their voices need to be heard. Her censorship is alarming and unacceptable.
The stigma surrounding sexuality, particularly women vocal about sexuality never seems to lose its prevalence, but in pushing boundaries some brave individuals are hopefully changing this. A university setting seems to be a great place to bring up discussions of sex education, sex-positivitiy and sexual diversity, and OSU should be honored to have Taormino speak at their conference, being that she has a strong and prevalent voice on these topics.