Femquaker: A person who promotes compassion among different groups of people and celebrates the value inherent in the diversity of human sexuality. In other words, a feminist who rocks my world!

Femquake is intended as a show of feminist solidarity. The idea is that contentious issues of sexuality too often fracture the unity that women, men, and every other freedom-loving person needs to support in order to bring about gender justice. Treating sexuality as a divisive force, whether by claiming that immodest attire causes earthquakes or by ousting women who show self-empowered sexual agency from the “sisterhood” of feminism, is a condemnable thing to do.

Why should boobquake and brainquake be mutually exclusive? Brains and boobs are often found together in competent, sexy women (whether female-assigned at birth or not). Don’t coerce women into being proud of one of these things over the other, or into feeling ashamed of either!

I have the good fortune of knowing many smart and sexy women relatively well because I treat them with the equal dignity and respect they, like every other human being on Earth, deserves. Since feminism is about equality, not ideology or biology, it applies to every body. And that includes bodies that are differently abled than yours.

Which brings me to Shanna Katz, the self-described sassy, fun loving, crowd pleasing, witty and amusing sex educator based in Phoenix, Arizona who I’m honored to announce as the first femquaker I’ll write about. What makes Shanna awesome? What doesn’t?!

Shanna Katz Shanna Katz is an accredited member of AASECT, the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, holds a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University in Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Sociology from Colorado College. But those are all just pieces of paper. Shanna’s real talent comes in the form of the sensitive, nuanced, and incredibly deep understanding she has for multiple intersections of sexuality and other aspects of life, most notably disability.

She is currently compiling submissions for an anthology on people’s experiences on sexuality and dis/ability:

People of all ability levels are sexual beings. Sex is hard enough to navigate and negotiate when one fits in with society’s notions of what a sexual being is, but once you add in the concept of ability, it can become quite challenge. This anthology, Sexual Ability, seeks to bring forward the stories, challenges and experiences of differently-abled people and their partners, putting a face on the trials that so many valuable members of our society must face. By sharing the experiences of the disabled community in relation to sexuality, Sexual Ability hopes to challenge people’s viewpoints, foster discussion and conversation, and open doors towards a shift in the social constructions surrounding sexuality and disability.

This approach of fostering discussion and conversation is one Shanna doesn’t just talk the talk about, she walks the walk (as much as conversation can be analogous to walking, anyway). Shanna’s guest appearance on the sexuality netcast Kink On Tap has been lauded as one of the best episodes of the show (it was certainly one of my favorite). In it, Shanna eloquently explains complex ideas like myriad varieties of “privilege” in a stunningly accessible way:

My partner is really big on social justice and so in the last year and a half I’ve worked a lot more about, ‘Well, what is privilege?’

For example, I have white privilege. Whether I do anything about it or not, it still exists, it doesn’t go away. And somebody that can walk up a set of stairs has ability privilege. And if you can drive a car you have the privilege of driving a car. But they’re not necessarily things we think about all the time.

So, I think when you’re looking to host events and stuff, if you don’t have trouble getting somewhere—you have a car and the ability to pay for insurance and gas—it probably doesn’t even cross your mind that a portion of your membership might not.

[…]

I think that when people make choices like, ‘We’re going to have [an event] at this hotel that is not handicap accessible, that is not light rail accessible, that is not any of these things, I don’t think they’re actively [disrespecting you], but I think that they’re like, ‘I don’t know what my privileges are, so how can I work towards people that don’t have them?’

(Skip to 1:03:10 in the audio recoding of Kink On Tap 31 for the start of the quote.)

Shanna’s “Best Of” listing reads like a course in sexual empowerment, and she doesn’t balk at any topic. The list includes posts discussing everything from supporting informed abstinence to male survivors of sexual assault. And despite some attempts at denigrating her, Shanna consistently stands up for the life-affirming power positive portrayals of sexuality provide:

[W]hen one of us is attacked, whether it is online or in real life, whether we’re being called a pervert or a pedophile or a whore or the anti-christ, we are all being attacked. We are being told that sexuality education is harmful, that we are wrong to want people to be educated and open and have happy sex lives (whether vanilla or kinky, monogamous or not). We are ALL being attacked.

Ergo, I stand up for sexuality education, I stand up for sex positivity, I stand up for the free discussion of sexuality amongst all people.

Shanna’s breadth of understanding, commitment to diversity, and unending drive to empower every person on Earth to claim a life free of abuse—whether individual or societally endemic—is why I chose her for today’s Femquake spotlight.

Donate Bitcoin

flattr this!