The second annual sex-ed conference for queer women will focus on maintaining a healthy relationship and exploring the benefits of sex. The conference will be an educational and fun, open event that is geared primarily toward lesbians, bisexual women and transgender women, said Lillian Rodriguez, coordinator for the event and an HIV-prevention coordinator at the Utah Pride Center.
“Sometimes it’s easy to talk about sex in general, but more difficult to talk specifically about the sex I like to have,” Rodriguez said. “But overall, the conference’s theme is ‘Why is sex good for you?’”
The conference will be held Saturday, July 9 at Lumenas Studios, 625 S. 600 West, in Salt Lake City. The event is $10 for general admission and $5 for students. Later in the evening, the annual speed dating and Tie One On necktie competition, dance and social event will take place. The events are sponsored by sWerve, a social and educational group for queer women, and the Utah Pride Center.
The conference will explore themes of healthy sex and even touch on sex education for women, Rodriguez said.
“We found that a lot of women were receiving misinformation about sex, like that women who have sex with women are at zero risk for HIV and other STIs, which is simply not true,” she said.
The keynote speaker will be Dr. Lisa Diamond who will give a presentation on maintaining a healthy relationship.
“The conference will open up a dialogue about different perspectives on sex and will even include a film we’re making where we asked different local women to participate,” Rodriguez said.
All of the day’s festivities are open to women age 18 and up, said Michelle Stephen, who serves on the board of sWerve.
“We really wanted to be more inclusive to women of all ages and those that didn’t want to drink with this year’s conference and after-party events,” Stephen said.
The Tie One On dance and social event is one of the most popular activities of the year and is expected to attract up to 250 people. The dance begins at 8 p.m. and there is a $15 cover charge. The event will also include an area where a movie will be playing and there will be space to talk and meet new people, and a tie contest with a variety of different categories, Stephen said. It is not necessarily a formal event, although most people will be wearing ties that range from silly to beautiful and original, she said. Some ties are worn around the neck, others around the head and all over the body, Stephen said.
“It really is a chance to just get together and meet new people in a safe environment,” Stephen said. “The entertainment is also going to be just fantastic. We’ve got the Salt City Kings and a burlesque group called the Kit Kat Girls coming to perform.”
Before dancing, speed dating will begin at 7 p.m. and attract all types of women from all different age groups and styles, Stephen said.
For more information about sWerve and upcoming events, go to sWerveUtah.com.