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"Creating a Safe ‘SPACE’ for Students"

on Friday, 07 October 2011. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

UCSC - City on a Hill Press

SPACES: Sex Positive Autonomous Coalition for Environmental Sustainability. The wordy acronym may not roll off the tongue, but with this project, former Slug Elias Martinez and current UCSC student Aaron White hope to create a buzz and get people talking.

The work-in-progress is a multipronged project focused on promoting not only sex positivity but practices that are environmentally sustainable. For example, by making — and teaching how to make — vegan, “upcycled” (a term meaning repurposed from other objects) sex toys, SPACES is showing support for sexual freedom and eco-friendly practices with leather-free products.

“We decided to create an organization that addressed more of the needs and issues that we saw needed [to be] addressed,” White said. “When you have sex positivity, you are more open to the idea of sex. It doesn’t necessarily mean you engage in it, but you support people who are having it.”

Martinez and White make their products, including floggers, whips and harnesses, from extensively sterilized used bike parts, like inner tubes.

“It’s something that I’m really good at, and I really like making vegan alternatives,” Martinez said. “Our products are as good or better than the leather products in the market now.”

White said their products are user-tested and improvements are made based on feedback. They are not currently making products for penetration and have no plans to begin making them.

In the past Martinez and White have worked both independently and collaboratively on various workshops on topics such as queer anarchy and BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism). White said he’d like to see these workshops continued.

Both Martinez and White said they hope to see several large-scale projects come to fruition, including a database identifying what businesses are queer-friendly “safe spaces.” White said while there are regional networks of queer-friendly businesses, there is nothing on the national level.

“Creating a national registry insures businesses are staying true to their word and remaining queer-friendly,” White said. ...

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