Oregon State Cancels Conference Keynote Over PornS

Author, sex educator, and award-winning feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino was uninvited as the keynote speaker at OSU's Modern Sex conference due to "her resume and website." Wasn't her resume the reason she was booked in the first place?

Taormino was first contacted by OSU in October, who agreed to her fee to give the keynote speech at the university's Modern Sex conference, scheduled for February 15-16, 2011. Organizers then told her to purchase her airline tickets, promising they would reimburse her, only to contact her this week to cancel her appearance, implying that her association with the pornography industry wasn't appropriate on which to spend "general fee dollars" (money which is subsidized by taxes, rather than tuition and "student activity dollars").

What's weird about the entire situation is that it would seem that Taormino's career, which includes—but is not limited to—feminist adult film-making, is what makes her qualified to give a talk titled "Claiming Your Sexual Power." And beyond that, her resume is pretty stellar: seven books on sex and relationships, editing 18 anthologies, television appearances on networks like CNN and The Discovery Channel, a 10-year stint as a columnist for The Village Voice and over 75 lectures at top colleges and universities like Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Brown, NYU and Columbia.

An anonymous source at OSU said that Taormino was uninvited because the university didn't want to "have to defend her appearance to conservative legislators."

One OSU student emailed Jezebel, with the following thoughts on the debacle:

The way the university is handling this situation is disappointing and disconcerting, especially considering Playboy comes every year to recruit women-students without protest. I am all for women making informed choices; what I am not okay with is the silencing and censorship of only certain voices. I believe Tristan's presence on campus will promote a safer, more sex-positive environment that would allow students of all sexualities and identities to feel a greater sense of belonging and support…The students at Oregon State deserved to hear Tristan's message of sexual empowerment and reclamation.