Metro Weekly

“Sexual Freedom Summit” teaches attendees how to fight for LGBTQ sexual freedom

Woodhull Freedom Foundation provides a forum to discuss reproductive freedom, LGBTQ equality, and sex worker advocacy

“Next year will absolutely be the most important election in any of our lives,” says Ricci Levy, president and CEO of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. “This administration has systematically populated our courts with people who do not believe that a woman has the right to choose, do not believe that LGBTQ people have the same human rights that any other person has, think it’s okay to discriminate.

“Look at the decisions around discrimination, the rollbacks on right to choose. Look at North Carolina, and whether a trans person can use a bathroom that matches how they identify,” Levy adds. “And the courts have not been sympathetic to our issues.”

Given the threat that a conservative judiciary can pose to LGBTQ people’s sexual freedom — encompassing everything from reproductive decisions to whether or not to engage in sex work — Woodhull created its annual “Sexual Freedom Summit” to provide a forum to discuss these issues.

Now in its 10th year, the summit runs Aug. 15-18 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center and will involve a series of workshops about the various aspects of sexual freedom. Among the topics being discussed this year: transformative justice; how sexual liberation and privilege intersect with race, class and gender; transgender-inclsuive sexual education classes; the adult entertainment industry; and a whole track dedicated to the various facets of sex work.

“Our mission is to affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right,” says Levy. “And so all of our work is cast in the framework of human rights.”

The summit will feature 80 different speakers and is expected to attract about 500 attendees from various walks of life and professional backgrounds.

“Particularly at a time when our country is so divided and siloed around various issues, this summit is an opportunity to come together to hear what matters to other people, and share what matters to you, on almost any of the issues in the realm of sexual freedom,” says Levy. “The goal of the summit is to send attendees back to their daily lives with the tools and inspiration to create the change they want to see in the world.”

Woodhull Freedom Foundation’s 10th Annual Sexual Freedom Summit is Thursday, Aug. 15 to Sunday, Aug. 18 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, 5000 Seminary Rd., Alexandria, Va. Registration for the full summit is $230, and single-day registration is $125. For financial assistance, and for more information about the summit, visit www.woodhullfoundation.org/sexual-freedom-summit.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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