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Midwest Love Fest 2024 Workshops

August 17, 2024 at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
 

Tools for Smoothing the Transition into CNM & Polyamory

Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez (she/her/ella)

This workshop is for folks seeking to explore polyamory or another form of consensual non-monogamy (CNM) in a thoughtful and intentional way. Like with anything that is undertaught or misunderstood, there is a lot that can fall through the cracks when starting out in the CNM world. In this workshop, we'll talk about types of CNM, kitchen table, and parallel polyamory, boundary and expectation setting, communication techniques and plans, jealousy and conflict resolution techniques, and managing expectations.

Yael is a light-skin, AFAB, cis woman, Jewish Latina with pink cheeks, with green eyes, and brown curly hair. She is wearing a maroon wrap with a knot in the middle.

Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez, aka YaeltheSexGeek, is a pleasure activist who centers identity and social positioning work, values self-exploration, and promotes intentional practice as a vehicle for desired shifts. Through her company Sex Positive You, Yael offers support in finding pleasurable, joyful, and positive experiences with self and sex. This includes connecting to embodied pleasure and pleasure techniques, improving confidence and self-worth, increasing emotional, physical, and sexual intimacy with partners, developing communication skills, setting and respecting boundaries, improving one's relationship with their body, and more.  Yael is a certified Authentic Consent Facilitator, Erosomatic Touch Practioner, Sex Doula, a 2023 Scholars of Sexology Scholar with the Kinsey Institute, and the author of a An Introguide to a Sex Positive You: Lessons, Tales, and Tips. She is pursuing a PhD in Health Behavior at IU Bloomington and the Center for Sexual Health Promotion where her research centers Caribbean Hispanas’ experiences of body, belonging, race, fetishization, and sex.

@yaelthesexgeek (IG, FB, X, threads, pinterest, tiktok)

www.sexpositiveyou.com

Name pronunciation (Yah-L)

The Cosmos of Care: Building Care Constellations through Polyamory

Christa Lei (they/she)

This workshop goes beyond the boundaries of love to explore the power of care constellations and community resilience. Whether you're polyamorous, monogamous, or anywhere in between, this session offers practical tools and insights for navigating life's complexities with compassion and strength. In this engaging workshop, we'll dive deep into mapping out constellations and core values, empowering attendees to create comprehensive care plans to navigate crises and challenges. From sharing best resources to discussing strategies for navigating oppressive systems (such as the healthcare system) rooted in white supremacy, I'll equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive. Through interactive discussions, case studies, and collaborative exercises, participants will learn how to build inclusive communities that prioritize care, consent, and mutual support. Whether you're facing a personal crisis or seeking to create a more resilient community, this workshop will provide invaluable guidance and inspiration. Don't miss this opportunity to embark on a journey of self-discovery, connection, and empowerment as we come together to dismantle oppressive systems and build a world rooted in care and justice.

Christa is a light-olive skinned, AFAB, non-binary, Filipine-American person with curly dark red and black ombré gradient hair and glasses. They are wearing a floral patterned pajama set and glasses as they sit on a granite slab.

Christa Lei (they/she) grew up on native Hawaiian land as the youngest child of Filipine immigrants. Their intersectional identities as a fat, neurodivergent, disabled, queer, polyamorous, third-culture person inform their personal and professional work. A multi-modal and experienced creative, Christa creates and facilitates spaces for interdisciplinary praxis via community care. Along with their lived experiences as a crip queer person, They have additional professional training as an astrologer, death doula and embodied social justice practitioner. In their spare time, they dance, sing, write, travel around the world, point out all the puppies, preach the gospel of Shrek, and create shared futures with their chosen family of their loving spouse, partner and two dogs in new york city.


Newsletter: https://isthiswhatyouwant.org

Website: https://christalei.me

Instagram: @supchrista

Shades of Love: Exploring Polyamory in Black Cinema and Television for the Next Generation

Deondra A. Moore (she/her)

Join me in a captivating journey through the evolution of polyamory in Black cinema, spanning decades of groundbreaking narratives, complex characters, and diverse relationship dynamics. From classic films and tv shows of the past to contemporary masterpieces of today, this workshop will delve into the rich tapestry of polyamorous relationships portrayed on screen within Black communities. Through thought-provoking discussion and interactive activities, participants will explore the cultural significance, thematic trends, and social impact of polyamory in Black cinema over time. Whether you're a cinephile, a relationship enthusiast, or a cultural critic, this workshop offers a unique opportunity to deepen your understanding of love, identity, and representation in Black storytelling.

Deondra is a caramel skin or light skin, Black plus sized woman with red locs that are back length and hazel eyes. She is wearing a light pink matching set outfit.

Deondra (pronounced DEE-awn-druh) is a passionate and empathetic Relationship and Intimacy Coach dedicated to helping individuals, couples, and families navigate the complexities of love and connection. With a background in psychology and years of research in polyamory, she specializes in fostering healthy communication, emotional intimacy, and personal growth within traditional and contemporary relationships. She is committed to providing a safe, non-judgmental space for clients to explore their desires, overcome challenges, and build fulfilling, authentic partnerships through attention, respect and communication. Known for her insightful guidance and humorous approach, Deondra empowers clients to embrace their unique journeys toward deeper intimacy and lasting love. She can be reached on Instagram at @stayattunedrc or via email at deondra@stayattuned.co.





Relationship Anarchy. Occupy Intimacy!

Juan-Carlos Perez-Cortes (he/they)

I would like to share views, experiences, impressions, and feedback about Relationship Anarchy. I'm very interested in learning how RA is understood in the USA and compare it with the feedback I got in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, as well as in some European countries during the years before and after my book was published. I know that some of the participants have read and discussed my work, and I would like to give and receive perceptions and feelings about the topics covered. I'd like the conversation to be as horizontal as possible, without any hierarchy derived from the author-audience notion. Building a sense of community in the world of Relationship Diversity between Europe and America (and hopefully the rest of the globe) sounds probably utopic, but utopia is the best reason we have to walk.

Juan-Carlos is a medium tan-skinned, cis man with a medium white beard, dark, long curly hair, and brown eyes. He is wearing a black shirt with a blue, pink, and white Relationship Anarchy logo. He is smiling and pointing with the index finger of his left hand to the logo on his shirt.

Juan-Carlos Pérez-Cortés, Ph.D. is a researcher in Artificial Intelligence at the Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain. Outside his academic field, he has participated in events and spaces related to non-normative relationships since 2010; he is the author of the first monography on Relationship Anarchy and actively contributes to its dissemination in different spaces of debate. He is co-founder of the Association for Affective, Ethical, Non-normative Relationships of València which organizes, among other activities, one of the largest relational activism meetings in Europe: OpenCon Valencia. He participates regularly in international meetings, workshops, and conferences on relationships and normativity.

Real Talk: STI Testing, Conversations and Erasing the Stigma

Heidi Wernicke Mosier (she/her)

Talking about STI status can be one of the hardest conversations in any relationship. Join us for a discussion about STI testing, talking to your partner/s about your status and theirs and getting rid of the stigma surrounding STIs.

Heidi is a fair skinned, cis woman with red hair and green eyes.  In this photo she has her hair pulled back and is wearing a black jacket and a necklace that says VOTE.

Heidi is a nurse and former employee of Planned Parenthood, specializing in abortion care and STI education. She has been polyamorous for five years and thinks the best way to end stigma is to bring things into the light and talk about them. She is passionate about sexual health and feels that everyone should have the right to feel happy and confident in their own skin. Heidi also has experience with BDSM, birth control education and general sexual wellness. Feel free to approach her and ask questions!

Poly 101 - Exploring Polyamory: A Beginner's Guide

Ashley Meyer (she/her)

Are you curious about polyamory? Are you seeking to understand the dynamics, challenges, and joys of consensual non-monogamy? Join us for an enlightening workshop designed for those interested in exploring polyamory for the first time, or new and wanting to learn more about terminology and practices. In this workshop, we will provide a safe and inclusive space for individuals to learn about the principles and practices of polyamory. Led by the head organizer of Chicago Polyamory Connection, one of the largest polyamorous community groups in the midwest.

Key topics covered in the workshop include:
1. Understanding Polyamory: We'll delve into the definition of polyamory and its various forms, including hierarchical and non-hierarchical structures.
2. Communication Skills: Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful polyamorous relationship. Learn essential tools and techniques for expressing needs, boundaries, and desires openly and honestly.
3. Navigating Jealousy: Addressing jealousy is a common concern for individuals new to polyamory. We'll explore strategies for managing jealousy and cultivating compersion—the joy in seeing your partner(s) happy with others.
4. Ethical Considerations: Consent, honesty, and respect are fundamental principles in polyamorous relationships. We'll discuss ethical considerations, including practicing safe sex, maintaining transparency, and honoring agreements. This will include couples privilege, unicorn hunting and much more.
5. Building Community: Connect with like-minded individuals and build a supportive community of fellow polyamorous explorers. Share experiences, insights, and resources in a non-judgmental environment. You will walk away with access to the Chicago Polyamorous Connection Handbook and supports to hosting or joining a community.

Whether you're single, partnered, or somewhere in between, this workshop welcomes individuals of all orientations and relationship configurations. Come with an open mind and a willingness to learn as we embark on a journey of self-discovery and relationship exploration together. Join us for "Poly 101 - Exploring Polyamory: A Beginner's Guide" and take the first step towards understanding and embracing the beauty of polyamorous relationships.

Ashley is a Hispanic female, light-skinned. She has short chin-length hair that is brown almost black and is buzzed on one half. She has light brown eyes. She is wearing a black turtle neck shirt with rainbow stripes down the sides of her arms.

Ashley Meyer (she/her) is the head organizer of Chicago Polyamory Connection (MeetUp & Facebook), one of the largest polyamorous communities in the Midwest. She comes with a wealth of knowledge as a queer, Hispanic, polyamorist that has practiced polyamory for 15+ years in a variety of relationship dynamics and spaces. This includes practicing polyamory in the South and now the Midwest. Ashley is an educator with diversity and equity training which she uses to help mold consensual and safe spaces for polyamorous people both in online spaces and communal gatherings.

You can contact her via messenger here:

https://www.facebook.com/ashley.freemanmeyer

Join the Meetup Group: 

https://www.meetup.com/chicago-polyamory/

Pleasure Positive Parenting for Kinky, Queer, or ENM Families!

Ashley L Robertson (she/her)

What do you do when your child asks you how you got that bruise or mark after a fun night of consensual BDSM play?

What's your answer when your child discovers you kissing someone who isn't their parent?

For many, the instinct is to lie, deny, and/or conceal to avoid oversharing intimate details about their sex lives. Doing so, however, adds a layer of secrecy or deception that - if revealed - could diminish the trust your child has instilled in you.

The relationship between parent/caregiver and child should be rooted in mutual respect. Lying to someone is not respectful. There are truthful, careful ways to discuss pleasure positive lifestyles with children and youth. Do children need to know intimate details about their parent's sex lives? No. Do children deserve to know their parent is safe and trustworthy? Yes.

What we'll discuss...
~Identifying Your Individual Risk Profile
~Ways to Create a Pleasure Positive Family Culture
~How to Be an ASKable Adult
~Assessing Age Appropriateness; Don’t Lie
~All About Bystander Consent
~Ways to Validate Their Intrinsic Knowing
~Being Ready with a Handy-Dandy Carrier Phrase
~Holding and Communicating Boundaries
~Q&A

Ashley Robertson is leaning against a stone building wearing a black jacket with a teardrop silver necklace. She has blond hair on one side of her head with the other side shaved. Her skin is a peach color and she's smiling with happy wrinkles in the corner of her eyes.

Ashley Robertson (she/her) is a non-traditional relationship coach and freelance sexuality educator. A former classroom teacher with three Ball State teaching degrees, she crafts interactive workshops and asks careful questions inviting introspection and curiosity with a highly engaging facilitation style. Ashley works with individuals, groups, organizations, and schools to craft workshops for in-person or virtual delivery. She’s trained to facilitate the Our Whole Lives curriculum and makes adaptations from this material to fit diverse audiences. Prioritizing medically-accurate, inclusive, and affirming sexuality education experiences, her workshops have reached local audiences including The Damien Center, Girl Scouts and Butler Lab middle school partnerships while also reaching far and wide via virtual workshops hosted privately or with educational outreach collaborations. Providing equitable access to affirming content, she has contributed to several podcasts including Multiamory; Skeptical Pervert; Polyamory Weekly; Big Mood, Little Mood; subMERGE; and Brazen Education. Her IG handle is @MsAshleyRobertson! Ashley’s non-coercive approach to sex ed is what we all wished we had growing up.

Intentional Polyamory: Creating Lives that Support Our Relationships

Chaneé Jackson Kendall

This workshop will be centered around intentionality as a vehicle through which we can create polyamorous lives that support our polyamorous relationships. Many people are trying to sustain polyam relationships within lives, systems, families, and dwellings that are not set up to to sustain them. In this workshop; I will lay out 4 pillars that we can use to create a supportive and sustainable environment for polyamorous LIFE, not just polyamorous dating.

Chaneé is a brown skinned, AFAB, High Femme presenting Black woman with red, curly locs and dark brown eyes. she is wearing a black tank dress, and pink and purple glasses.

Chaneé Jackson-Kendall (she/her) is a Black polyamorous educator and coach who co-founded Black Poly Pride (est 2019)- the first and only Black polyamorous conference for Black people, by Black people. She has openly identified as non-monogamous and kinky for over a decade, and is the proud Mama of a kind, intelligent son, whom she lovingly co-parents with 3 other amazing humans. Chaneé has dedicated her life to polyamorous education, outreach, and activism, and is passionate about normalizing polyamory as both a relationship orientation and a valid relational choice. In late 2022, Chaneé launched Intentional Polyamory, an educational initiative that provides one-on- one coaching, in addition to a rolling cohort to teach people how to create polyamorous lives, on purpose.


For more information, please visit linktree.com/chaneespeaks

How to Be Spiritually Polyamorous

Bianca Alba (all pronouns) and Jera Brown (they/them)

One way to look at our spiritual lives is as a series of relationships, such as the relationship we have with the spiritual traditions we’re a part of or interested in; with our ancestors, spirit guides, and deities; and our relationships to the spiritual traditions of our loved ones.

How do we approach ancestral veneration if one line of ancestors oppressed another, or even harmed us in this lifetime? How do we negotiate working with spirits or deities from multiple traditions, if that is our calling? Can individuals from seemingly opposing traditions be in healthy relationships with each other? How do we handle our nesting partner(s) disrespecting our sacred spaces, such as altars? These are just a few examples of challenges that may arise with both ourselves and within our earthly partnerships for those who are navigating contemporary spiritual journeys.

In this workshop, we’ll look at ways to navigate and improve these relationships using principles from ethical non-monogamy and anti-racism work.

Presenters Jera and Bianca will offer examples from their own lives and will give participants opportunities to chart out their own spiritual relationships and discuss them in small groups.

Bianca is white with pink hair and blue eyes. She's wearing a black dress and a dangly silver necklace. Jera is white with brown hair pulled back. They're wearing a leather jacket open to show a tattoo of an A with a dove flying away from it.

Bianca Alba, MPH (all pronouns) is a Chicago-based sex educator, journalist, and eclectic witch. S/he teaches and writes about trauma-informed sexual health topics, transformative healing, and spiritual sexuality, and offers tarot card readings and handmade spiritual supplies at shadyladybrand.etsy.com. Follow Bianca on IG @biancaalbamph.


Jera Brown (they/them) is a writer and fetish provider. The dungeon is their church and queerness is their primary ethical and spiritual lens. They are the host of Radical Soul, a newsletter and podcast about modern spiritual movements that center justice, offer healing from religious trauma, and reject white and Christian supremacy. Subscribe at radicalsoul.co and follow Jera on IG @thejerabrown.

Grieving la Muerte

Rev. Amanda Sisneros Ganley, she/her/ella

Life is brimming with constant shifts and transformations, from our relationships to our very selves. Embracing the ethos of Ethical Non-Monogamy (ENM), we often find ourselves navigating these changes and the accompanying losses with rapidity and intensity. This space offers a sanctuary to openly explore losses that may not find room in our daily lives. Whether it's the dissolution of partnerships through breakup or death, or the shedding of aspects of ourselves and our lives, the grief we encounter is authentic and deserving of acknowledgment. Together, we'll delve into our experiences of grief, cultivate the art of holding space for others in their mourning, and harness our creative energies to honor and transform our respective losses.

Amanda is a caramel skin, cis-queer, Chicana with a congenital limb difference; her left arm is missing from the elbow down. The photo is of her smiling, standing in front of a concrete wall. She is wearing a black shirt with the phrase "Spiritual Chola" on it and a lotus flower, serape shorts, a straw hat and lace cardigan.

Rev. Amanda Sisneros Ganley, an ordained New Thought minister and spiritual coach, has been a dedicated educator and speaker since 2013, committed to cultivating safe environments where individuals can explore spirituality and the myriad ways we connect and relate. Serving as a truthspeaker, preacher, podcaster, and spiritual guide, Amanda passionately assists individuals in their journey towards personal growth and transformation. Through her teachings, she imparts practical mindfulness tools for intentional living, drawing from her own unique journey as a differently abled, polyamorous, Nueva Mexicana, cis-queer, feminista. Amanda's inclusive spaces foster authentic expression and celebrate diversity in community, relationships, and family structures. Grounded in inclusivity and compassion, her platforms prioritize growth and transformation, offering thought-provoking insights that guide others toward embracing their innate gifts with wholehearted realization. Currently residing in Cleveland, OH, Amanda provides online spiritual and relationship coaching and dreaming of officiating modern love ceremonies for ENM and kink community.

www.amandaganley.com

www.ladivinaspirituality.com

Feeling the Feels: Common Emotions We Struggle with in Non-Monogamy Besides Jealousy

Jess Lynn (she/her)

Exploring non-monogamy in any form brings up a lot of emotions that can feel overwhelming, confusing, and downright challenging, regardless of how long we have been in our relationship structure. Certainly, jealousy is one of these emotions that is super important to talk about and unpack - but what about other emotions that we don't hear about quite as much? In this workshop, we're going to deep dive into some of those other feels that pop up, including fear, guilt, and others! We'll get into not only how and when these emotions might show up, but also how we can use some practical narrative and cognitive reframing strategies to meet our emotions with self-awareness and compassion, and learn how to express them to others in a way that provides clarity and connection instead of knocking us off balance.

Jess is a white cis-woman with dark brown shoulder length hair. She is pictured from the chest up, seemingly reclined in front of a cream colored textured wall. She has green eyes and a hoop nasal piercing, and is smiling. She is wearing a dark green shirt with a bright yellow long sleeved cardigan.

Jess Lynn (she/her) is a queer, white, polyamorous, cis-gender woman and witch. Professionally, she wears two hats, one as a grief and trauma psychotherapist, and the other as a non-monogamous relationship coach, specializing in work with newbies. She regularly presents as a part of continuing education programs for therapists on a variety of topics, and has presented specifically on polyamory to institutions of higher education looking to better support their students. Jess is passionate about bringing voice and discussion to topics that might otherwise be considered taboo in "polite society," and has been a guest on over 20 podcasts, sharing her knowledge and busting myths about non-monogamy. Jess runs a Facebook community, Non-Monogamous Newbies, where she provides support and education to those who are just starting out their journey into non-monogamy, and learning how to question societal norms that no longer feel aligned for them. Jess is grateful to be a part of a loving polycule with her two life partners and metamour. You can find Jess on Instagram @nonmonogamous_newbies, or by searching for her Facebook group.

Creating Authentically Consensual Experiences - Even as a People Pleaser

Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez (she/her/ella) & Alfredo Bonilla Aguilar

People pleasing can be a sign of a “fawning” trauma/fear response which is when people do things they don’t want to do – and often don’t feel good about it afterwards. This spectrum of behavior can range from appearing to consent to things you’re not interested in through appearing to go along with activities that are, in reality, retraumatizing. Fawning, or people pleasing, can therefore make having consensual interactions complicated for all involved.

Whether you engage in fawning or a current or potential partner does, it can be difficult to recognize the warning signs due to the lack of awareness around these behaviors. We all deserve to have consensual experiences where we feel safe to share our needs and this workshop will help you develop the tools to get you and loved ones there.

In this workshop, we’ll cover

A brief review of fear/trauma responses (fight, flight, freeze, fawn, etc.)

What fawning looks like in non-sexual and sexual situations

Ways to support yourself and others in disrupting fawning or people pleasing, especially within sexual encounters and relationships through tools for developing healthy communication, trust, and safety.

A Q&A with a fawner and a fawning disruptor

Yael is a light-skinned white-appearing Jewish Latina with curly hair. In the picture it is short and light brown, only appearing over her forehead. She is in a red dress being pushed against a wall, lovingly, by Alfredo, a cis Mexican man with light brown skin and long dark curly hair in a black suit with a white shirt. He is gripping her thigh.

Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez, aka YaeltheSexGeek, is a pleasure activist who centers identity and social positioning work, values self-exploration, and promotes intentional practice as a vehicle for desired shifts. Through her company Sex Positive You, Yael offers support in finding pleasurable, joyful, and positive experiences with self and sex. This includes connecting to embodied pleasure and pleasure techniques, improving confidence and self-worth, increasing emotional, physical, and sexual intimacy with partners, developing communication skills, setting and respecting boundaries, improving one's relationship with their body, and more.  Yael is a certified Authentic Consent Facilitator, Erosomatic Touch Practioner, Sex Doula, a 2023 Scholars of Sexology Scholar with the Kinsey Institute, and the author of a An Introguide to a Sex Positive You: Lessons, Tales, and Tips. She is pursuing a PhD in Health Behavior at IU Bloomington and the Center for Sexual Health Promotion where her research centers Caribbean Hispanas’ experiences of body, belonging, race, fetishization, and sex.

@yaelthesexgeek (IG, FB, X, threads, pinterest, tiktok)

www.sexpositiveyou.com



Dr. Alfredo Bonilla Aguilar is a classically trained bassoonist and international speaker. His research uplifts bassoon pieces by contemporary Latin American composers who honor folkloric music through their compositions. Alfredo has begun entering the world of sexology through his relationship with his wife, Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez. Together, they are developing materials for disrupting fawning behaviors, both as fawners and as partners to fawners, to support authentically consensual interactions.

https://www.instagram.com/alfredo.bonilla._

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