May 042012

Cyndi's amazing classic car

We arrived at the Melbourne Airport and Cyndi Darnell, sex therapist, counselor, sex educator, and creator of Pleasure Salon Melbourne, picked us up at the airport. We’d met her in Sydney at Xplore and connected right away. Cyndi drove us in her classic car, which turns heads wherever it goes. She took us to where we’d be staying, the home of Fiona Patten, the CEO of the Eros Association, Inc. (Australia’s national adult retail and entertainment trade association) and the head of the Australian Sex Party, a progressive political party that supports free speech, the adult industry, sex workers’ rights, comprehensive sex education, gender equality, same sex marriage, decriminalization of drugs, and more. Fiona is a total bad ass: a smart, articulate, radical, multitasking whirlwind of sex-positive politics. It’s inspiring to be in her presence. She was super busy taking media calls and preparing for her presentation at The 2012 Atheist Convention, which took place at the same time we were in Melbourne. Fiona took us to a wonderful dinner out with two adult industry distributors and an American who was in town for AdultEx. We talked about legal issues surrounding selling and distributing porn in Australia, politics, and the Bong Task Force (the SNL skit writes itself).

The window display at Hares and Hyenas

The next day, Cyndi picked us up and we headed to Fitzroy, the artsy neighborhood of Melbourne. We went to Hares and Hyenas, an LGBT bookstore that’s been in busy for over 20 years. I was shocked to see that the entire window display was devoted to my books! It was beautiful, and I felt honored. It’s an amazing shop, and we scooped up lots of local books and magazines, including Dude Magazine, Dirty Queer Magazine, f2m: The Boy Within, and The Drag Queen Baby Name Book (a gift for friends who are expecting). We met the owners, Rowland and Crusader, who were wonderfully warm and charming. We went to another great bookstore, PolyEster Books (“world’s freakiest bookstore”), which carried tons of great sex books, including those from small and obscure presses, I was very impressed. I would later regret just how many books I bought as I dragged them back to the States (they weighed a ton!). Then, we went to some art galleries, which were closed for various unexpected reasons. Ah, artists. But it didn’t matter, really, because there was so much amazing street art throughout the neighborhood.

Just one example of the amazing street art in Melbourne

That night was my first presentation for Pleasure Salon Melbourne. It was simply an amazing night. There were about 150 people there.

A view from the audience at my Pleasure Salon Melbourne talk (photo courtesy of

I spoke for about 45 minutes, then we had intermission. Rowland from Hares and Hyenas was there with cartons of books, and by the end of intermission, he had sold out of several titles! It was totally overwhelming.

My books (photo courtesy of

At the end of the evening, I stayed as audience members waited almost an hour to have their books signed by me. Each person I met told me a little something about themselves, and they were all fantastic. Fiona Patten and friends were there. There was a pack of adorable queers, including Kit, Louise, and Lauren from D.VICE, a lesbian-owned sex-positive sex shop in New Zealand and Australia. Two of them had me autograph their boobs. It was my pleasure. I finally got to meet several women in person who I’ve corresponded with by email or Skype, including sex therapist Sandra Pertot, who wrote an amazing book called When Your Sex Drives Don’t Match. I met Lyndal Coon, whose new book Sexual Biversity: Loving My Bisexual Husband was just released and sex-positive coach Chantelle Austin, author of The Essential Guide for Adventurous Couples…Who Want to Explore Threesomes, Foursomes, and Moresomes. All the sex and porn people were there: Anna Brownfield (winner of a Feminist Porn Award for The Band), feminist pornographers Ms. Naughty from (who blogged about my talk) and Gala Vanting, Blair from Adult Voyeur, a spunky, gorgeous performer named Angela White, and blogger Ultra Hedonist.

I was blown away by the audience at Pleasure Salon Melbourne. It was overwhelming, actually. Thanks to each and every person who came, asked questions, introduced themselves, and supported me and the local sex-positive community.

May 042012

My radio show Sex Out Loud debuts on Friday, June 1 at 5:00 pm Pacific time/8:00 pm Eastern time on the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network. I am honored, thrilled, and a little bit giddy that my very first guest is none other than Dan Savage. Author, columnist, activist, and media pundit Dan Savage isn’t holding anything back in this revealing interview. He’ll tackle the danger and ineffectiveness of abstinence-only sex education and the troubling news that the Obama administration recently backed another conservative organization called The Heritage Keepers. We’ll discuss the recent scandal over Savage’s comments at a high school journalism convention about the Bible (see video below) that lead to intense criticism from both the left and the right, with people calling him a bully, a bigot, and the gay Santorum. He’ll talk about what he regrets and what he doesn’t. Plus, he’ll share some behind-the-scenes dirt on his new MTV show Savage U, and we’ll talk about gay marriage and the state of the LGBT movement.

Dan Savage is an author, media pundit, journalist and newspaper editor who pens the internationally syndicated sex advice column “Savage Love.” He is the author of Skipping Towards Gomorrah, The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family, and The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided To Go Get Pregnant, a memoir about becoming a father. In 2010, Savage and his husband Terry Miller began the It Gets Better Project to help prevent suicide among LGBT youth and they co-edited the book It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living. He is the star of MTV’s new show Savage U, which debuted in April, and follows him as he speaks to college students about sex and relationships on campuses around the country.

Jan 192012
Applications are now being accepted for the 2012 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices held in California this summer. Here are more details on why you should consider submitting.

The Lambda Literary Foundation is proud to announce details for the 2012 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, the only queer writers residency in the world.  The Retreat will be held July 28 – August 4, 2012 on the campus of the American Jewish University (AJU) in Los Angeles.

Faculty include Dorothy Allison (pictured) teaching the Fiction workshop, Cris Beam teaching the Nonfiction workshop, Jewelle Gomez teaching the Poetry workshop, and Alex Sanchez teaching LLF’s first ever workshop in Young Adult Fiction.

“We are thrilled with this year’s stellar lineup of faculty,” said LLF Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela.  “They will mentor another gifted group of writers who will have their lives transformed by this Retreat.  Lambda Fellows represent the future of LGBT literature.”

The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices was established in 2007 as the newest program of the Lambda Literary Foundation and is the first of its kind ever offered to LGBT writers: a one-week intensive immersion in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. The retreat is an unparalleled opportunity to learn from the very best writers in the LGBT community.

Applicants of the Retreat submit twenty pages of fiction/nonfiction or 10 pages of poetry that are evaluated for craft, creativity and originality.  Eight to twelve students per workshop  are accepted into the competitive program where they spend the week working on their manuscripts and attending lectures by publishing industry professionals. Ability to pay is in no way part of the decision-making process and scholarships are available. The LLF Writers Retreat Fellows have gone on to publish an impressive array of works.