“A few powerful experiences made me passionate about sex education as well as contributing to my desire to build a place to counter the sex negativity in our culture,” says Shelley Taylor, founder of Venus Envy .
This desire for positive sex education is an integral part of Taylor’s store, a welcoming treasure trove of sex toys, accessories, and books. Though Taylor opened the original Venus Envy in Halifax in 1998, she went on to expand in Ottawa in 2001. Recognizing the importance of community, in 2006 VE launched the Venus Envy Ottawa Bursary Fund, a program that “aims to support women and trans people in need who wish to further their education.” On June 15, Fall Down Gallery presents One Night Stand, a fundraiser for the bursary. Aside from monthly workshops, the store hosts a reading every second Wednesday of the month called Voices of Venus, with Toronto spoken word artist Keisha Monique Simpson performing in May.
While Taylor will soon go on a yearlong leave from her day-to-day at VE, she’ll still be organizing all of the store’s special events. This industrious maven will continue to share her knowledge and passion online with passtheherpes.wordpress.com , a blog that demystifies the silence and shame surrounding the subject of herpes. She’s an inspiring leader (and by all accounts a great boss), so basically, a superb role-model as a business woman and activist. Loves.