Western University’s Arts and Humanities Council and the Women’s Issues Network joined together to host their annual Purple Sex event last night.
Purple Sex is an all ages, free submissions based production of original poetry, personal accounts, and spoken words performed and created by Western students in a safe space.
Performances are centered on notions of sex and sexuality. Purple Sex also reveals how the sexual experience of individuals intersect with concepts of gender, race, class, oppression, liberation, love courage, strength and resilience.
Alicia Johnson, Vice President of the Arts and Humanities student council and Carina Gabriele, coordinator for the Women’s Issues Network, put together this year’s event. Johnson says, “It was an event I went to last year and I wanted to make sure that this event would happen. So I decided I’d make it an official event under the AHSC and make sure it continues.”
Johnson and Gabriele worked with Spot of Delight to organize the venue, food and applications. Spot of Delight held a free raffle at the event, giving away small packages of products from their sex toy shop.
The event fosters an atmosphere of inclusivity and acts as a catalyst from which new considerations of identity and sexuality can be explored.
Performers flooded Western’s community centre with words strung together by real life experiences. Students shared personal, and sensitive stories about sexual assault, sexuality/asexuality, sexual experiences, puberty, and sex education to name a few.
Johnson emphasizes the importance of having events like Purple Sex, “it’s open to any student, I know several people from different programs who have a creative side and don’t know where they can go for an outlet.”
The event brought together students from a variety of different programs. Anna Illiyas, a first year engineering student performed for the first time at Purple Sex. Her poem is called “Sex Ed.”
“I, like many people, went through some pretty abyssal sex ed in elementary and high school. It was always uncomfortable and never taught thoroughly. I just wanted to convey it through humour, it’s something all of us went through.”
Camille Intson a third year Arts student performed for the second time. With passion, Intson believes,”it is amazing to have an event just for addressing issues of intimacy. A lot of people come to talk about their sexuality or lack thereof. These topics are not something people gravitate towards because it’s scary to talk about but Purple Sex gives that space to really go there.”