Annual Conference Co-chair Update: Putting the Pieces Together
Greetings from the Conference Co-Chairs!
The 2016 AASECT Annual Conference Theme is Putting the Pieces Together: Inclusivity in Practice. A mosaic is made of numerous pieces, each one unique, and equally important in the end result. In order to construct one, intricate and unique tiles are brought together to create an overall picture. If a single piece is unaccounted for, the mosaic is unfinished. The full beauty of a landscape cannot be actualized if any piece is lost, neglected or destroyed.
A mosaic cannot come together without a solid foundation upon which to build. As a part of sexuality work, it is essential that we examine the foundations of our profession, our individual practices within the profession, and our individual selves. Despite social gains, the foundations of our field are continually threatened by systems of prejudice, including racism, classism, ableism, ageism, sexism, heterocentrism, genderism, and transphobia. These systems work against us as sexuality professionals, inhibit our students’ and clients’ success in creating their own sexuality mosaic; thus, resulting in an unfinished landscape.
As we gather together in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2016, we hope that the sessions throughout the conference will allow attendees to explore the various pieces in the landscape of human sexuality, with an eye towards expanding their understanding of the utmost importance and significance of practicing inclusivity and impact-awareness in the field of sexuality. The conference planning committee has cultivated a program with four unique plenaries, 70 concurrent workshops, 40 poster presentations, and 6 pre-conference workshops, all across 4 days! Concurrent sessions include AASECT Special Interest Group roundtables, dialogue panel presentations, and traditional workshops that highlight diverse identities and honor various intersections of sexuality. Sessions will also focus on issues that impact many of our communities like racism, social justice, privilege, accessibility, and more! More specifically, as your conference co-chairs, we hope that the conference format will facilitate attendees to:
- increase awareness and develop active strategies that honor the richness of diverse identities and experiences within the field of sexuality and AASECT;
- cultivate engagement and dialogue during and ongoingly after the conference, including establishing networking and mentoring relationships;
- broaden their understanding and recognition of intersectional perspectives and apply it to everyday practice;
- create opportunities for collaborative, intersectional, and interdisciplinary work and partnership, with a focus on advocacy, allyship and solidarity both as individuals and professionals.
Thank you attendees, conference planning committee, presenters, moderators, volunteers, AASECT Leadership Team, and AASECT Administrative Office for coming together to create the mosaic for the 2016 Conference! We look forward to seeing you June 8-12, in San Juan for the 48th Annual AASECT Conference!
All the best,
Melissa Keyes DiGioia, CSE - Conference Co-Chair
Mariotta Gary-Smith, MPH, CSE - Conference Co-Chair