Career fair normalizes work in the sex industry

Dildos, pornography videos, self help sex books, goodie bags filled with condoms and lube lined the table at the entrance of the eighth annual Sexuality Career Fair.

Hosted by the Education & Referral Organization for Sexuality, the fair took place in Jack Adams Hall and drew an audience of around 50 students.

“I hope that this event just motivates people to always be aware and critical of society and how sexuality can come into play in their careers no matter what they do,” said EROS Director Reyna Aguilar.

In the past, the panel has included retail workers, adult film stars and professors. This year it featured a marriage and family therapist, an advocate for disabled sexuality, an adult film director/performer and a public health worker.

Aguilar mentioned that when seeking professionals to invite EROS wanted to reach a diverse set of speakers to give a broader point of view.  EROS asks panelists to speak on their positions as minorities within society and how that may affect their work.

“I’m queer, I’m trans, I’m black,” said Zami Tinashe Hyemingway, the public health worker on the panel who specializes in transgender health care. “I live, I breathe, I exist, that’s how I address the stigma.”

              

Aguilar and EROS member Ariana Yancey curated the panel with help from the Center for Research & Education on Gender and Sexuality. The two parties aimed to provide a safe space for students to discuss sexuality in an academic setting. Aguilar said that though EROS is a sex positive organization, they hope students realize that sexuality studies is not just simply sex. The event also aimed to strip away some of the stigma associated with a career in the industry.

“I think that people just aren’t aware. There are a lot of people really surprised at the work we do,” said Robin Wilson-Beattie, the disability and sexuality educator on the panel who is quadriplegic herself. “I hope to inform a few people about an area of sexuality that they haven’t thought about.”

Wilson-Beattie advocates for the sexual liberty of disabled members of society by speaking at various places like medical schools, conferences, and the Adult Video News Awards.

“When I declared my sexuality studies minor my parents were supportive, but I think they thought my only two options were porn or sex ed,” said Aubrey Janner, a volunteer at the event. “I think it’s important for people to realize that there are so many people working in sexuality that have chosen different paths from these.”

Janner, who is minoring in sexuality studies, loves that sexuality studies isn’t necessarily concrete and can combine many of her interests into one. She said that though sexuality studies doesn’t always have a set career there’s an excitement to it all.

“It’s about visibility and knowing what’s there and knowing that there’s a place for you,” said Courtney Watson, the marriage and family therapist on the panel. “Whether you’re cis hetero and just want to enjoy your sexuality or whether you’re a trans queer person that wants to know that there’s other people like you, you get to be you.”