CHICAGO — Wicked Pictures contract performer jessica drake won the Catalyst Award at CatalystCon Midwest 2016 for her work as a sex educator.
The bi-annual CatalystCon, now in its fifth year, gives the Catalyst Award each year to the speaker who "inspires exceptional conversations in sexuality." Since CatalystCon's inception, drake has been a keynote speaker and a panelist on multiple occasions.
"Each conference, I give this award to someone who has been a catalyst for change, and jessica drake is that person," said Dee Dennis, co-founder of CatalystCon. "Her ongoing dedication to changing the conversations we have about sex work, sex education and sexuality overall has made her a catalyst in our field."
"CatalystCon in Chicago was quite a success," drake said. "Receiving the Catalyst Award is not only a huge accomplishment for me, it is also an honor I share with so many other deserving, inspiring people in our corner of the world. As Dee gave her speech right before she announced the winner, I was looking around the room and imagining who it could be. When I heard my name, I was thrilled, floored and so grateful."
At CatalystCon Midwest, drake participated in the panel discussion "Slut-Shaming: Taking on Intolerance About Our Open, Unashamed Sexualities," which also included sexologist Carol Queen, writer and podcaster Katie Mack and burlesque artist Zyra Lee Vanity.
"The slut shaming panel was once again a huge success," drake said, "and with a packed room, we spoke not only on our personal experiences both in and out of the sex-positive community, but also, how we can further help educate others and affect change for the future."
The panel on slut shaming, drake said, addressed harmful, judgmental finger-pointing used against women.
"I also hosted the Sex Worker Meetup and started to facilitate some big changes in this really important space at the conference," drake said. "Everyone in attendance had some incredible input, and I'm looking forward to what CatalystCon West will bring."
"Sometimes, change is quick," drake said. "Other times, we have to push and work for it. And it seems like such a process until one day, you realize you made a difference. But always know: you do make a difference. Thank you so very much to CatalystCon, to Dee, Wicked Pictures, and everyone who supports my efforts and ambition to make a difference."
For more information on drake, follow her on Twitter.