it’s LGBTQ-inclusive, too

“I’m trans (non-binary) and this presentation has the best approach to gender I’ve seen in a long time.” - Isaku S., Swarthmore College

The I Love Female Orgasm program is frequently praised by audience members for being inclusive of the diversity of gender identities and sexual orientations. Thirty percent of the time, the program is sponsored or co-sponsored by LGBTQ campus groups and centers, many of which organize to bring the program back time after time. As a diverse group of educators, most of whom identify as queer, this is an important issue to us both personally and professionally.

We've learned a great deal by listening. We’ve worked closely with trans educators whom we asked to review the program in detail, and we incorporated their recommendations for ways to make it more inclusive. We’ve also listened to and learned from the tremendous collective wisdom of audience members who have shared ideas and made suggestions. Since the language and understanding of gender is ever evolving, we always welcome feedback about how the program can improve.

Audience says: Inclusive!

When the University of Arizona hosted the program, one of the funders required the program to be evaluated. On the evaluation form, the U of A asked attendees to rate how strongly they agreed with the statement, "This event was inclusive of a range of identities."

91% of the attendees said they "strongly agreed" with the statement, with another 8% saying they "moderately agreed."

The evaluation also asked for demographic information and the audience was diverse, particularly in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity. A full 29% of those filling out the survey identified as something other than cisgender and heterosexual.

Within this group, among those who identified as something other than cisgender (transgender, genderfluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, and agender were among the labels used), 100% of said them "strongly agreed" that the program was inclusive of a range of identities.

The survey also asked attendees what they appreciated most about the event, and the program's inclusion was frequently mentioned. Among the comments: "The fact that it was so inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community" and "Not only was it very informative, it was also very hilarious which made it very entertaining and interesting. I loved it! Love that you included ALL identities."

Below you’ll find information about how the program addresses gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as responses from audience members.

Gender identity

A diversity of people attend and enjoy the program, including cisgender people, whose gender identity matches the one they were assigned at birth, and people who identify as transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, nonbinary, agender, intersex, and/or describe their gender identity as something other than what they were assigned at birth. We want the program to be inclusive of everyone, no matter what their gender identity.

Depending on each campus’ needs and culture, we often:

• Explain various ways to define and understand the words "female" and "woman," and the broad, inclusive approach we take.
• Explicitly recognize and name the diversity of the audience along lines of sexual orientation, gender identity, and other categories, including the presence of students who identify as asexual.
• Are precise with our language throughout the program, choosing our words carefully to indicate when the content we’re teaching is inclusive of all who identify as women, those who were assigned female at birth, people with vaginas/clitorises, transgender people, and/or cisgender people. We define these terms and concepts as we go. We explain that when we do use the word "woman" we use it as an identity category, inclusive of all who identify as a woman, regardless of anatomy or sex assigned at birth.
• When talking about anatomy, we use phrases like "people with vaginas" and "people with penises," rather than words like "man" or "woman," recognizing that anatomy does not determine gender identity.

Sexual orientation

The program is also inclusive of people who identity as lesbian, bisexual, queer, and/or pansexual, as well as heterosexual. It’s carefully designed not to be heteronormative, and in fact critiques the heteronormativity often found in other representations of female orgasm. Nearly all the topics addressed in the program are relevant regardless of sexual orientation, and are discussed without referencing the potential gender of a partner, or in many cases, even the presence of a partner. The program does include a brief section on intercourse, because it is a topic cisgender men and women ask about so frequently. It’s included alongside discussions of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women’s sexual experiences, and transgender people’s sexual experiences.

Aligning with campus culture

We check in with each school in advance of the event about campus climate and culture relating to these issues. If these are topics many on your campus care about and are thinking about, please be sure to let us know.

What audiences are saying

Below you’ll find quotes from audience members speaking to their experience of the program’s inclusivity.

Gender and LGBTQIA Center Award-371x245

When it came time for Elon University's Gender and LGBTQIA Center to select an Event of the Year, they chose the Female Orgasm program. The award was given to EFFECT (Elon Feminists For Equality, Change and Transformation) at the university's Lavender Graduation, which honors LGBTQIA and ally graduating seniors, students, faculty, and staff who have advanced inclusion, support, and education around LGBTQIA identities. This is one of the many awards the I <3 Female Orgasm program has received.

“This is by far the most inclusive presentation I've been to of any kind.”
J. Heinz, sex/gender student activist, Beloit College

“As a trans person, I’ve never encountered a more inclusive sex ed program.”
JJ, President of the Student Feminist Organization, University of Wisconsin - River Falls

“I loved the trans and gender non-conforming material you've included in the presentation since we saw you last -- I think it deeply validates some students and challenges others in productive ways. Kudos on being so pro-active about inclusivity.”
Hilary Malatino, assistant director, Women’s Studies Program, and advisor, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, East Tennessee State University

“I <3 Female Orgasm holds true to all of its promises! From fantastic speakers and information to an environment inclusive of all genders and sexualities -- Female Orgasm has it all!”
Courtney Cox, Peer Health Educator, The College of William & Mary

“While we were excited to bring I Heart Female Orgasm to our campus, we were concerned with how inclusive the program would be given its gendered title. I had a great phone conversation with Dorian which quickly put my concerns at ease. The program was an absolute hit! Students of all genders and sexual identities were represented and included in a very thoughtful and intentional way. I really appreciated that they made space for specific sexual identity and gendered perspectives, this gave visibility and validation to frequently underrepresented groups in sexual health spaces. Oftentimes, these conversations can be presented so generally in their attempt to be inclusive that they neglect the unique experiences and needs of various groups. I give them two thumbs up and five glittery rainbow stars!”
Jenna Beckwith Messman, M.ED, Sexual Health Programs Coordinator, University of Maryland

“I was absolutely blown away. Thank you for an amazing, funny, inclusive, and really informational Thursday night!”
Alessandra Robinson, Sexual Health Educator, Wellesley College

“People of all identities and experiences will love I Heart Female Orgasm! It is incredibly inclusive -- not to mention hilarious and informative.”
Tori Sowa, student, Gustavus Adolphus College

“You were incredibly inclusive. Our queer community was very pleased.”
Casey Allen Sears, College of William & Mary

“You're amazing! Thanks so much for being so sex-positive, female-positive, trans-positive, and queer-positive!”
Rachel Richardson, Student Director of Peer Health Educators, Bard College

“The presentation was brilliant -- both presenters were sure to use gender-inclusive statements and points reaffirming trans identities and orgasms for all sorts of women!”
Joseph Woo, Beloit College

“I really appreciated that they talked about both queer and straight sexuality.”
Johanna Galat, St. Mary's College of Maryland

“I Heart Female Orgasm program went far beyond what I could even imagine. They are sexuality and gender inclusive which made the program even more accessible for all students!”
Megan Myhre, Co-President, Womyn's Awareness Center, Gustavus Adolphus College

“The program exceeded my expectations immensely! I expected a heteronormative discussion that focused its information to an entirely cisgender woman-filled audience. As a fluid (bisexual) woman, I really valued the discussion's inclusivity and the speakers' breakdown of information regarding who the discussion was for. Thank you for making this an amazingly informative discussion!”
Natasha Chapman, Gender and Women's Studies graduate student, Minnesota State University Mankato

“As a trans person, when sex is the topic often both my gender and sexuality are non-existent. I appreciate feeling included.”
Student, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

“Students have commented that this was one of the best programs we have ever brought to campus, and we agree! The speakers did an amazing job establishing an atmosphere of comfort and freedom that generated so much positive energy among audience members. We were also struck by how inclusive the presentation was -- celebrating people of all sexual orientations. Highly recommended!”
Catherine Champagne, Coordinator of Alcohol, Drug, & Health Education, Denison University

“The Female Orgasm program RULES!! The crowd was totally engaged. it was funny, educational, and orgasmic!”
Blair Rowlett, Co-Organizer, New England's LGBTAQQIF College Conference, University of New Hampshire

“Informative, funny, and inclusive! Well worth bringing again and again to campus.”
Brandon Meyers, student, University of Vermont

 

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