Humanists from around the world took part in a conference on “Sex and Secularism” in Montreal, Canada, over the weekend of August 3 to 5. The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) joined with two of its member organizations, Humanist Canada and Association Humaniste du Quebec, to organize the international conference. IHEU also held its annual General Assembly in Montreal, on August 3, at the Humanist Centre of the Fondation Humaniste du Quebec.
Humanists from Canada, the USA, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Romania, Italy, Japan, the UK explored Humanist responses to the taboos, challenges and opportunities that surround sexuality and gender. Speakers included:
- Sonja Eggerickx, president of IHEU
- Maryam Namazie, spokesperson for Equal Rights Now, One Law for All, and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.
- Djemilla Benhabib, author of My Life Against the Koran
- Greta Christina, LGBT activist, sex writer and atheist blogger.
- Rebecca Watson, founder of Skepchick and co-host of the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe
- Darrel Ray, author of Sex and God
- Andrew Copson, IHEU vice president and CEO of the British Humanist Association
- Kristin Mile, secretary general of the Humanist Association of Norway, the world’s largest freethought organization.
Humanist Canada also handed out three awards during the conference:
- Sue Johansen won the Canadian “Humanist of the Year Award”. In the early 1970’s Sue Johanson opened the first birth control clinic in a North American high school. She then rose to fame as host of the Sunday Night Sex Show, which aired on radio for 14 years starting in 1984, before moving to TV on the W Network, and next as Talk Sex with Sue Johanson on Oxygen Channel.
- Robert J Sawyer won Humanist Canada’s first “Humanism in the Arts Award”. The best-selling author is the only Canadian ever to win all three of the world’s top Science Fiction awards for novel of the year.
- Leanne Iskander won the Humanist Canada “Humanist Youth Award” for her courageous and successful stand to start a “Gay Straight Alliance” Club at her Catholic public school despite opposition from school authorities.