Part of our series outlining the four principles of Joyne

Cross Pollination

Starting a Conversation

On one hand, saying that we value the free flow of ideas, knowledge, and experiences among the various sex-positive communities in Cleveland is almost so obvious that it doesn’t even need to be spoken aloud. But, like a lot of things we feel strongly about around here, it isn’t enough to simply say a thing or even to believe in it. We’ve got to practice reaching out, communicating with, and sharing experiences with those of us working towards the common goal of openly exploring sexuality and human relationships.

We live in a contradictory world that is full of both laser-focused specializations (earning money) and a constant onslaught of choices (spending money). Neither of these extremes leaves us, as individuals, very prepared for growth and learning across disciplines. We often spend the first half of our lives figuring out what we like and then spend the second half staying in our lanes, blinders on, rejecting the rest.

But humans are built for diversity. We thrive in it. All living things do. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be gained from reaching out and learning from those around us. By opening ourselves up to new experiences and different ways of doing things we can learn more, faster… both as individuals, and as communities.

One of the reasons Joyne exists is to start a dialogue and promote a shared landscape in which all of Cleveland’s sex-positive organizations, spaces, and people can work and play together in a way that will make us stronger, more accessible, and more unified.

Cleveland’s Sex-Positive Communities

We’ll be talking more about the specific communities we’ll be working with in the near future, but since we’re writing this piece about cross-pollination, let’s take a minute to break down which communities we’re talking about here:

  • The LGBTQ Community
  • The Lifestyle / Swinger Community
  • The Kink / BDSM Community
  • The Polyamorous Community
  • The Sex Work Community
  • Sexual Health & Education Workers

That’s far from an exhaustive list. There are performers, and dancers, and tantrists, and a whole host of other folks who are actively supporting sex-positivity in the city of Cleveland. The point is that there are no small number of people engaged in this work. And in many cases, there’s a lot of dialogue already taking place. We’d simply like to build on that work and to help all of these communities learn how to better share knowledge and resources in ways that can benefit everyone.

The Practical Benefits of Cross-Pollination

One of my favorite interdisciplinarians is Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist who merged his field of study with biology to better understand cities by treating them as though they were living organisms. He proved that the larger a city is, the less infrastructure is needed per capita. That’s maybe not terribly shocking to read, but he’s famous for it because he also proved that it’s true of all “organisms”… cities, companies, elephants, etc.

So, a city is made up of separate and distinct organizations of people working together, and an elephant is made up of separate and distinct organizations of systems working together, and they both get to be more efficient as a result of their size. Small, tangentially related organizations (see our list above) can stay separate and distinct while gaining the benefits of a much larger organization simply by working together more collaboratively.

What exactly are we talking about though? What are some of the specific things we’re advocating, and what are their potential outcomes?

Shared Resources

The most obvious benefit to more collaboration between these communities is that the sharing of resources will help more ideas reach more people. If we just limit our example to physical spaces, we can see examples of sharing resources in action all over the city. The contemporary art museum has collaborated with local bars to show independent film, concert spaces work together frequently to provide larger venues to accommodate audience demand, and a local dungeon has regularly opened its doors to the swingers hanging out next door.

The sharing of physical spaces aside, it can be equally beneficial to find ways to share knowledge, problems (and their solutions), technical assistance, the burden of marketing, and access to expertise of all types. Finding interesting ways to work together that haven’t been properly explored can have a positive and lasting impact on our communities.

Shared Communities

Sharing resources is important, but finding creative opportunities to expose our respective audiences to one another is something that Joyne is really passionate about. We want to work actively with the sex-positive communities and organizations of Cleveland to bring their audiences together, for shared events, for collaboration, and for increased awareness of what the other corners of our city have to offer us as sexual beings.

This is part of a series of articles that outline the various principles that Joyne considers to be a core part of who we are as an organization. Our four principles are Active Inclusion, Enthusiastic Consent, Embrace the Other, and Cross-Pollination. We’re writing about each of them and will link to them as they are published