Some of you know, but most do not, how difficult it is to be a presenter in the “Alt Sex” community. Folks see me running all over the USA, Canada and Europe and assume I must be making lots of money.
Most conferences don’t pay speakers. Some will at least cover a hotel room and travel costs if THEY consider you to be a “big name.” Most people are happy to get into a con for free in exchange for presenting a class or two. Some of us have thrown ourselves wholesale into this madness, and want to make this our lives.
And that shit is tough. Because most event producers see the classes as a free / cheap way to get asses in the door.
The venue has to be paid, you need to print stuff. Who can we exploit? Oh yeah…well, it is an honor to be invited to present. Get presenters to work for free. And No please don’t lay on me that you’re a “Non-Profit.” I have drawn salaries from non-profit organizations. Being non-profit means
Making sure you get the very best information presented by the very best information bringers is a bloody goal. Don’t have enough money to fly in a presenter? Up your ticket price by $10. Get a sponsor to pay for the programs in exchange for banner ads.
People who host sexual lifestyle conferences and do not pay presenters or even cover travel and lodging effectively make it impossible for working class / poor people to present. How the hell does that promote “inclusiveness?”
I’ve stood at cons and seen wealthy white men lauded for their “contributions: to the community,” and listened to glowing descriptions of how wonderful they are for never “taking money to present.” Which is lovely…when you are an executive, or independently wealthy, and a part of the extant power structure. I had to laugh when, in one of these situations, the person being lauded (and mind, you, this is someone who puts a LOT of time into the Community) works for an airline and therefore never had to pay for their travel. That salient point was omitted.
I’m working hard to make it my business to help people live fulfilling sexual lives. Economically marginalized people do not often receive representation in the rarefied world of “sex education” or the alternative lifestyle. Alt Ed is clearly more easily obtained by middle / upper-middle class /wealthy white folks. And bringing people from wider socio-economic backgrounds does not seem to be the purview or priority of the people who DO have the power to do so, and that is a bloody shame. This poor Black woman has a lot to contribute, and she is getting very very VERY fucking tired of excuses, poor business models and yes, flat out LIES to justify my working for free, or PAYING to work!
Yeah I played the race card. You know why? Because it matters and unless you have been living in Trump Tower you are aware that race, class and money are writhing in a seething, seedy, sticky lumpy bed all together and it ain’t pretty.
When you say “We are not gong to pay you or even cover your expenses.” what I hear is “We do not value your expertise and contributions enough to make this happen, but we will use your name and work to further our goals.”
So why should you pay me? You should pay me because I’m worth it. Because I am a member of the community and by supporting me you are supporting the community. You should pay me because I have some notoriety, and you can use that to your advantage. Because I’m smart, funny, and I talk to people with respect. I listen with empathy and dedication. You should pay me because, if you try, you can. You should pay be because I have 38 years of experience as an entertainer, and I bring it. Because I write, walk, eat, live and breathe this material. You should pay me because there are events, venues and conferences who respect me, and themselves, enough to do so.
Yep, OK. Rant over.
Now excuse me…I have to go edit one of the 3 books I’m working on before studying my lines and then running in to SF to teach a class.