Los Angeles Consent Summit: A Coalition of Communities
On Wed May 18th, the first Los Angeles Consent Summit took place at The Hilton LAX, in conjunction with DomCon. The basic concept began as a gathering of the many underground and alternative communities in LA, as represented by various leaders, venue owners, party throwers, and event coordinators. Rather than a lecture or gathering of academics, the summit was held as a round table, open forum discussion in a town hall meeting format.
The intention was to create conversation and, eventually, a united consensus among our many overlapping and merging underground cultures, including: Burner, raver, electronic dance music, BDSM, fetish, goth, industrial, swinger, polyamory, Cosplay, Ren Faire, Fantasy, Costume Culture, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and more. The goal was to take the first steps toward consensus and discuss consent, especially the realities of law, community standards, liability, prevention, solidarity, Restorative Justice, and enforcement.
The general public was not invited, as attendees were vetted and hand chosen for their standing in our communities. We trust that the leaders of our communities will disseminate our conclusions to their personal sphere of influence, as they see fit. At a later date, we may conduct a larger event intended for the general public. Also, the founding of an organization and association, administrated by a Board of Directors, is in process.
Firstly, I thank everyone who participate, plus all who couldn’t attend and yet still supported the cause. Thank you very much. Special thanks to Mistress Cyan for providing us the time and space to make use of the Hilton during the opening day of DomCon. Mistress Cyan owns and operates the legendary Sanctuary LAX dungeon and club, a leader of the BDSM community in high standing, and the founder of DomCon, the largest BDSM and fetish convention in SoCal. This was my fifth year attending and a great honor in my 2nd year as a presenter.
This first LA Consent Summit was a resounding success regarding a specific goal: creating an in depth and productive conversation among the leaders of a vast array of subcultures who call LA their home, on equal footing. As far as we know, this is a first in the modern history of LA.
We defied expectations, which I must admit were grim in the eyes of many. Some people were expecting a dramatic yelling match, which would amount to more tension and less peace. Similar things have happened in the past, but not this time.
Our moderator was the ever engaging Sex Nerd Sandra (Sandra Daugherty), a recognized sex and relationship educator with over 14 million podcast downloads. Having played similar roles in the past, she volunteered to keep the conversation civil, on task, timely, productive, and efficient. In her own words:
“I was thrilled for the challenge. As a facilitator for such a tense subject, I made sure everyone knew I had made missteps around consent. I was impressed at how much people were glad to get into the advanced leadership skill sharing portion. I figured we’d talk 101 feelings and airing out of grievances, but it was clear our group was rearing to get proactive and solution-oriented.
“I was impressed and pleased with everyone’s patience and wisdom. The last thing I wanted was to be the boss of consent. I got to run around, hand people the mic, crack jokes and keep us to time. These LA community leaders made my job easy. Thank goodness. I was shaking at the start, all eyes on me, no one quite sure where we were headed that night. I kept reminding myself that this was a neat adventure we were creating together. ‘Twas pretty radtastic.” – Sandra Daughtery, SexNerdSandra.com
Congratulations and gratitude go to Sex Nerd Sandra for her extensive contributions to this first effort, including defining elements of the format and direction. Several recognized leaders of our communities have expressed interest in filling these shoes in the future. Due to privilege and the nature of power, we intend to keep in mind women, trans, POC, LGBTQA+, and other underrepresented groups for this moderator role.
Some of our goals:
– Discuss the future of consent and bring us one step closer to consensus on these matters.
– Determine the difference in enforcement and consequences regarding legal matters, community standards, specific event rules, and common decency.
– Assemble lists of resources for victims, including access to free initial consultations with lawyers, therapists, EMDR specialists, and psychiatrists who are kink and non-monogamy aware, as well as LGBTQA+ aware.
– Develop a Big Sisters, Big Brothers, and Big Non-Binaries program, providing victims and their families direct access to solidarity, wisdom, and friendship.
– Discuss how best to address the endless list of unaddressed violations from the past. If the victims wish to do so, this may include bringing justice where necessary, while keeping in mind that forgiveness, education, and redemption may be possible.
– Discuss how to prevent violations in the future.
– This is only the beginning. If the task list grows too long, we shall create an ongoing dialogue with possibly a biannual event, which would take place in late September.
At a later date, I wish to give credit where credit is due for the initial wisdom and inspiration of others. Inspiration has come from many places. None of us can do this alone and all of us can achieve something meaningful together.
Other similar events and Consent Summits exist, but in particular, our format differs. Our event featured no VIPs. No special guests. No scheduled speakers. No stage. No key note address. No hierarchy of importance among the attendees, other than the actual invite itself. This was by design and no accident. If you were invited, it was due to your role in our communities: past, present, and future.
Some basic guidelines for our future events:
– A townhall, group conversation, not a lecture.
– 2 mics: moderator and participant from the roundtable.
– Each event features a different moderator, as to avoid repetition and to increase inclusion.
– Time limits per speaker, with soft reminders leading up to cut off.
– Basic discussion structure, primarily driven by the audience.
– Diversity, individually, regarding race, gender, sexuality, age, and other orientations.
– Unity of various communities, as well as clear distinctions among them.
– Realistic action plans for the short term and long term.
– Increasing awareness of currently available resources and concepts, rather than reinventing the wheel.
– As free as possible, in a non-profit situation
– At differing days and times, as to appeal to various work and social schedules.
– And most importantly, a commitment to admitting that we can all do better, not only in our individual lives, but as a city. Our communities make up this city, not just our personal realms of influences.
The original intent was an annual event. Now, a quarterly schedule is being considered. One event each 3 months or so, taking place at various venues around the county. Furthermore, I personally will be hosting these summits across the nation over the next 18 months, side by side with my tour for my “Polytalks and Wry Relationships”. The task ahead of me is extremely ambitious and request your support. The next dates taking place are in San Diego (weekend of June 25th) and San Francisco (weekend of July 23rd).
Full disclosure: This article was written by the organizer and director of this event. My name is Wry. I am a relationship, sex, and BDSM educator specifically focused on Non-Monogamy and Polyamory. In addition, I’ve been the event coordinator for numerous events throughout Los Angeles, the co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Kinky Salon, a leader and event host with Sex Positive LA, and a frequent performer in the BDSM lifestyle community. My full bio can be found here.