What’s in a name?

FemSex, or The Female Sexuality Workshop, is a countrywide phenomenon that started in 1993 at the University of California, Berkeley. Since the workshop’s founding, it has spread to Universities and communities across the nation. FemSex Ithaca has grown out of the rich history of both FemSex workshops and peer-run workshops reminiscent of consciousness raising groups from the 1960s and 1970s. Because FemSex Ithaca is a sister workshop to the many other FemSex workshops that exists, FemSex Ithaca wears it’s name proudly. However, the workshop is open to all genders and sexualities, so we do want to take a minute to discuss the sometimes-problematic term “female” and thus equally problematic “female sexuality.”
The term female, usually understood as a person who is a woman with corresponding “female” anatomy can feel exclusionary for those who don’t identify as female who partake in the workshop. While we do discuss things related to female anatomy such as birth and abortion, perhaps the workshop could more aptly be named a “women’s sexuality workshop,” to be more inclusive of individuals that don’t identify with the sexed term “female.” While we don’t currently have specific classes on trans women or gender queer women (maybe an oversight on our behalf), the workshop does work to analyze and dissect sex, gender, sexuality, and identity and works to never assume someone’s identity or labels. Therefore, as we mentioned, the workshop is open to those who don’t identity as female (or as a woman).
Thus, our name FemSex Ithaca, short for The Female Sexuality Workshop of Ithaca, is meant to honor the rich tradition of FemSex workshops around the country, not to exclude participants or dictate what should be considered “female sexuality.”