“Create Love for Women Who Love Women” is described as a “love revolution” by its founders, Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison.
They began their “love revolution” in September 2012 when they decided to unite as a counselor, Evans, and a minister, Jamison, to offer a platform for lesbians to build, sustain and celebrate healthy relationships.
Since that time, their Create Love community has grown exponentially. Their website has registered over 60,000 hits, their Facebook group has over 2,300 members and they have a full calendar of events, including their second annual Create Love conference at the Courtyard Decatur Marriott in Decatur on March 7-8.
Gail McDaniel attended the first conference and plans to return again this year. “Last year’s conference was fun, informative and there were a lot of beautiful women. The biggest thing I took away was that women who love women needed this conference,” she says.
McDaniel enjoyed the panel of couples who answered questions and also enjoyed visiting the vendor area.
“They had all kinds of accessories for women, plus travel agencies, beauty products and food, too. I thought that section was well organized with a good variety,” she says. “This year I actually look forward to meeting as many people as possible. I have developed some very warm acquaintances on the [Create Love] Facebook page that I think will be long-lasting friendships.”
Evans and Jamison say the conference will not shy away from touchy topics that hinder healthy relationships, including the subject of “lesbian bed death.”
“At this year’s conference, we’re offering more than we could last year,” Evans says. “We now have the experience from last year and have built relationships with these women. We learned what they wanted and needed and created a program around those needs.”
On Friday, March 7, the conference kicks off with a meet and greet for women to have a chance to come in and put a face with the name of the women they’ve been getting to know in Create Love for Women Who Love Women online forums. On Saturday, a performance by the all-woman West African drumming and dancing group Giwayen Mata begins the day followed by workshops and a marketplace during the day.
That evening, Jamison will be officiating an open commitment ceremony which will be followed by a Love Jones after-party with DJ Tora Torres spinning the beats.
‘SO MUCH WISDOM IN COMMUNITY’ Jamison says there is a need to capture the wisdom in the community by allowing the connections that have started to take place be given a venue to grow.
“There is value in the workshops and vendor areas, but even more importantly, the value is in the relationships that are now developing. There is so much wisdom in our community. We wanted to make sure we provided additional time for fellowshipping where people can share their experiences and get to know each other,” she says.
Jamison also notes a need for healing. “We want to talk about ways that women are broken. We’ll talk about brokenness surrounding sexuality. There are so many ways that sexuality has been villainized.”
“People know us now and trust us now,” she adds. “They also trust themselves to share more with us now. We all want to leave women more empowered. But this year, we also want to leave them more healed. We started this movement knowing that when individuals are healed, they can heal their relationships, their families and their communities. That is why this is a revolution.”
Evans agrees. “Look at how active our Facebook group is. The camaraderie and love that has formed in that group is going to enter that room this year. We have so many couples that were formed from the Create Love community! We should be doing a dating service or something because it is amazing how women are connecting. It’s not just romantic relationships, but friendships as well.”
Evans and Jamison say that the overall theme of the Create Love community is to help women who seek to obtain, maintain and sustain quality and mutually satisfying relationships, beginning with self.
Workshops to address challenging topics With that goal in mind, each of them will be presenting a workshop at the conference.
Jamison will be teaching on “Touchy Topics” which focuses on topics that are most likely to challenge all types of relationships.
“These are areas of conflict that I believe are areas that are opportunities for connection,” she says. “If we can look at those areas from a different vantage point, and understand that they are just preferences or pain, then we can connect with each other without judgment and just love each other exactly the way we are.”
Jamison believes this workshop will give attendees a big take-away. “People will leave educated on what those issues are. They will learn to identify them, assess what role they might play in their lives and how to address them in a way that promotes healing and acceptance within their own spirit as well as with the people they interact with.”
Evans’ workshop is sure to keep conference attendees alert.
Her topic, “Raising Your EROTIC Consciousness: Exploring Sensuality, Intimacy & Sex!” is designed to help explore difference between intimacy and sexuality. She was inspired to create her workshop when she noticed a heightened interest in the topic.
“Some of the articles that I’ve written on our website this past year have been related to healthy sexuality. People have really responded to them and they garnered a phenomenal amount of hits,” she says.
“I think that lesbians really struggle with healthy sexuality. There’s so much to try to understand. I really want to help restore healthy sexuality and also restore the idea of actually having sex. Let’s stop not having sex!” she adds.
Evans notes that sociologist Pepper Schwartz, author of “American Couples,” was the first to identify “Lesbian Bed Death.”
“The issue is still as prolific as it was in the 80’s,” she says. “The longer lesbians are together, the less sex they tend to have. Sex is not everything, but it’s something when you’re not having it. It is also a marker for the level of intimacy that people have together. Not that you can’t have companionship and intimacy at some level without sex, but it is an integral part of connecting, spiritually and physically, with your partner. I want to restore some of that.”
Evans says she wants those in her workshop to discuss intimacy and learn what it is and what it is not.
“You can be physically close to someone and have absolutely no emotional, spiritual or psychological intimacy with them,” she says. “Your physical presence is not an indication of intimacy, but rather how you connect and the depths of vulnerability you are willing to expose to your partner. I really want to get at how all of that is connected.”
Jamison agrees and adds, “We want to help women learn how to make a healthy sexuality a balanced part of your life whether you are single or partnered. It’s important to be a whole, healed person.”