Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Afr@Latin@ Sex Survey In 24 Magazine!

I was interviewed by my homegirl Aida for 24 Magazine's 5th issue on Data. We are a 4 page spread from page 32-35. Check it out below, here are a few screen shots, but click here to read in full and the rest of the 70+ page issue!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Update on Afr@Latin@ Sex Survey

This post should really be called “Bianca’s Thug Tears” because that’s what I experience when I “check in” to see how many folks have taken the survey thus far.

When we started I had thought “if we could get 30 folks by the end of May that would be fantastic!” By Tuesday evening almost 25 folks had participated. Then I thought “Ok, maybe 50 is a good number to hope for by the end of May.”

Today, 5 days into sharing the survey, almost 50 Afr@Latin@s have taken the survey! This is incredible! I think of all of the valuable time each of you shared in taking the survey, sharing it, and linking back to the survey so others can see and partake and am so overwhelmed by thanks and gratitude.  This is also a reminder that we are in need and desiring these conversations that include all of us; all parts of who we are; and that these are not occurring at this time. This reminder also brings me to tears: How have we been excluded for so long when we were here all along?!

We have only posted this on three spaces: tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. I have yet to even send this out as an email to folks in my address book or to the listserves that I know about and where folks may be interested. As I think of how this number may grow, my adoration for Afr@Latin@s grows as well; the awareness of what needs to be done expands. I realize the urgency of this work.

I also recognize some of the “flaws” with this work: the survey is only online and there are more of us who may not be; the survey is currently only in English and we speak so many other languages; the survey asks only a few short questions; some of the definitions may not be clear, or may be too rigid. I take sole and complete responsibility for all of these (and the others that may arise). My hope is that folks recognize that the urgency, for me, was to acquire this information to begin to build and create what we need collectively. The urgency is in our ability to share, speak, and create and we have a challenge with the rates at which we are being hurt, harmed, murdered, deported, incarcerated, isolated, and erased. I am determined to begin this now and take all responsibility for any flaws as they come.

As part of the “next steps” we (Tasasha the “intern” who is working with me) are still keeping our July 2013 date to share publicly (while maintaining the identit(ies) of folks who participated as confidential) the findings in the most accessible way. I’d love if someone who believes their translation skills from English to another language Afr@Latin@s speak is strong to help with translation, reach out to possibly help us translate the survey and findings!

Please know this is an unpaid project. Tasasha and I are NOT getting paid for any of the effort or work. This work is not funded by any source. It is as independent and grassroots as it gets! What is being offered in exchange for help and support: strong recommendation letters and references, skills around this work, mentorship, and citation credit.

I’ll soon be sharing my vision of a communal citation so those who have participated can receive a publishing credit when the findings are shared. Please be on the look out for that post. If you took the survey and shared an email address you will receive this in your inbox when it is available. Others may look online to where this information will be shared and archived.

So many thanks to each of you and to Tasasha for all of your help and work and time and sharing of your needs. I see you and I witness our collective evolution and struggle, and I thank you for seeing me and witnessing my evolution too.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Afr@Latin@ Sex Survey

To take the survey now click here!

Bianca Laureano is an award-winning fierce-haired Puerto Rican LatiNegra sexologist living in New York City. For over a decade Bianca has worked with communities of Color on various topics connected to sex and sexuality. She is co-founder of The LatiNegr@s Project and hosts Bianca is an independent scholar, writer, and radical educator. She identifies as a radical woman of Color and you may read more about her at She is joined by an unpaid intern, Tasasha Henderson who is helping with promotion and distribution. You may contact Bianca with any questions or suggestions at

This project is an attempt to bring LatiNegr@s, Blaktin@s, Cariben@s, Afr@Latin@s, et. al. into conversations around sex/uality. Often we are not included completely, and only presented as either ethnically Latin@ or racially Black. The questions below center demographics, resources available and used by LatiNegr@s, and forms of sex/uality information from various people in our communities.

Responses to this survey are 100% confidential and your responses will not in any way be connected to your identit(ies) unless you agree to have Bianca contact you via email for additional survey questions. If you chose not to share your contact information your response will be anonymous. This information will help begin to shift conversations and begin to provide LatiNegr@s with the opportunity to share our own experiences. The findings will be made available by July 2013 at and folks are welcome to use the findings in their own work to bring awareness, inclusivity, and justice to conversations about LatiNegr@s and our sexuality needs, resources, and narratives. The citation will be a communal citation and not one solely attributed to Bianca as this is a communal effort.

This is phase one of a budding multi-layered project centering LatiNegr@s and sex/uality. Additional parts of the project includes media, workshops, and community building among LatiNegr@s. If you are interested in joining other parts/phases of this project please reach out to Bianca at

Although each question is "required" with a red *, please note if you do not want to comment or do not have anything further to share please write any word you choose (i.e. n/a, see above, etc.)  to move through the survey.

Many thanks in advance for your time, input, and participation.

To take the survey click this link.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Update on Fundraising for Women of Color Sexual Health Network

Last week we updated our fundraising goal to reflect various donations from food, hotel, to frequent flyer miles. This update reduced the $7k we needed down to a little over $5k to get all 5 women of Color sexologist to the AASECT conference this year.

We are pleased to report another update to our fundraising goals: a new registration rate. We have been in communication with folks in leadership positions with AASECT. They reached out to us asking each member to submit an individual narrative of their financial need. As a result, the AASECT leadership has offered us an additional reduction in conference registration.

Upon our first fundraising efforts, as none of the 5 of us in need were members because of inability to afford the fees, we were originally expecting to pay the non-member fee of $660 per person. We then were given the speaker registration fee, as we are each presenting, of $370 per person. This resulted in a fundraising need of $1850 for registration alone. Monday afternoon we received confirmation that each of us have been extended the "early bird student registration fee" of $250 per person. This new fee results in a fundraising need of $1250 for registration.

This is an additional $600 reduction in funds needed. We have gone from $7k to $5k to now $4490! We have also raised $1260, an amount that will cover each of our registration fees and help us focus solely on transportation and flight needs of members which totals: $3270

We are going to get to this conference, present our original research and work, and build together!

Please help us reach this goal by sharing our fundraising needs, goals, and, if you can, donating whatever amount. Our fundraising page is: and you may also send paypal donations directly to If you wish to mail a payment please reach out to us.

Many thanks again to each of you who have supported us in various capacities!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why To Donate to WOCSHN Fundraising Effort

Aside from the FACT that Black women should be wherever they choose to be, and be there safely and experience all the pleasure they desire; there are several more reasons to donate. This post is about one reason: building community and building infrastructure.

When the WOCSHN (Women of Color Sexual Health Network) was established we had big dreams. We still do. Since many of us are all over the US, annual conferences are one of the only ways all WOCSHN members, including executive members, can be together, in 3D, and build.

Yes, we live in the "future" today, but skpe calls, emails, and texting are not the same as building in person. It matters that women of Color, especially Black women, can meet and build and support one another. This is especially imperative for those of us in the sexuality, sexual health, and reproductive justice field.

This fundraising is not just about helping 5 Black sexologists present their original research. It's also about helping WOCSHN meet to plan becoming a legitimate organization. An organization where we can fundraise on behalf of all members who wish to attend. An organization that will demand recognition from color-free spaces that have excluded us, and continue to do so, for far too long.

There are conversations that must occur in person and with as many WOCSHN members who wish to attend. This is what your donations will support. This is what all the donations we will receive will support. Please help us meet our goal.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

UPDATE on WOC Sexual Health Network Fundraising

First, we'd like to extend our deep heart-felt thank you to everyone who has shared our call for funds, requests for donations, and who have been able to donate. Your time, support, love, and caring has fueled us during this process and reminded us we are a vital part of our communities and our work is needed.

We've raised $1180 thus far! We have also adjusted our fundraising goal because of some amazing supporters who have donated hotel rooms, frequent flyer miles, and food coverage to some members. The budget has also been adjusted because of room rates at the hotel being reduced from what was originally expected.

An updated breakdown of our fundraising goal is listed below. An asterick (*) is listed next to the items that have been adjusted and below them is an explanation.

  • Plane: was $2050 UPDATED: $1550*
  • Hotel: was $2000 UPDATED $1190**
  • Transportation: $250
  • Per Diem: was $1000 UPDATED $250***
  • Registration: $1850**** (working on hopefully getting a further reduction update when that is confirmed)
  • TOTAL UPDATED: $5090

*Plane was updated because our budget was projected and included an increase for waiting longer to obtain a plane ticket. Bianca was gifted a round-trip plane ticket from a friend who had frequent flyer miles and thus a reduction of $500 was needed in this total.

**Hotel was originally a projected amount of $250 a night as our fundraising efforts began BEFORE the hotel room rates were posted. As of today a double occupancy room is $139 a night including taxes. We still need 2 rooms for 4 nights and the adjusted amount reflects the new room rate including taxes of $1190.

***Per Diem, daily meals which was budgeted to include an estimate of: $10 breakfast, $20 lunch, $30 dinner for each member for each day of the conference. After speaking with folks who have attended AASECT conferences in the past we are told a continental breakfast is offered each morning, two lunch's are provided, and one executive member of WOCSHN will provide some groceries for members in need for dinner. The new per diem includes: $0 for breakfast, $100 and $150 for dinner for 5 people for 4 days.

****We are in discussion with folks at AASECT to gain clarification on a proposed reduction in registration. When/If this is confirmed we will update our fundraising needs. Our hope is to reduce this number to $1250 for a total fundraising goal of $4490.

As of now we still must raise an additional $3910. We know this is possible! We thank you in advance for your continued support and sharing of our fundraising!

In solidarity,
Women of Color Sexual Health Network Members

Sunday, March 17, 2013

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day April 10, 2013

via advocates for youth
Right now we have the very urgent requests for you. Please,  Follow, Like and SHARE the contents on the social media sites. We need to let people know that these channels exist and that NYHAAD is happening! You are welcome to share out this information on any email listserv as well.

Facebook Share Text: “Young people are determined to end this epidemic once and for all – but they can’t do it alone. Join us for National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. April 10.” GRAPHIC: (or graphic attached)

Twitter: “The first ever National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is April 10. What are you doing to fight HIV and AIDS? @YouthAIDSDAY #NYHAAD”

Our entire social media suite for NYHAAD is: WebsiteFacebookTwitterPintrestInstagram.  

We’ve also created a press kit, for your use. It contains media how to’s, the press release, an FAQ on NYHAAD, and facts about how HIV & AIDS affects young people. Just an FYI – embargo means you can’t send it to press until that date.

Final note: The website is up and running, and Sulava already sent out a note for comments, but if there’s anything else that we’re missing or have left out, just let us know! We’ll fix the problem as soon as possible.

If you have any questions as it relates to media or social media, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Additionally, we encourage you to send any content or resources you would like to share.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Prose of a Poor Righteous Teacher

midterm grades bring midterm/midsemester emails to students

telling them their midterm grades do NOT reflect how intelligent they are. they do NOT reflect how great of a person they are. they do NOT reflect the amazing contributions/change they are going to create in our societies and in their communities. to remember this for our class and ALL their classes in the future.

i share this w/them, 97% of them students of color, 89% of them women of color because who else will tell them? who else will remind them their grades are not everything in this life? that the ways i am expected to “assess” their intellect in our class is so flawed?

i do this b/c our youth and our students need to know i see them. i witness their transformation in my classroom, i see them building, thinking, questioning, unlearning, and THAT is what is the real essence of knowledge and critical and analytical thinking may be that will save their lives and mine.

and mine. they will save my life too. they already do.

they need to know that. i’m not just here for them as a resource/educator/mentor/etc. but they are here for me too in the same capacity. they need to know that power is what they embody and they need to know that power is theirs wherever they go, especially outside of any “traditional classroom.” our youth need to know they are powerful.

Friday, March 8, 2013

My ONLY Response On NYHRA Teen Pregnancy PSAs

Many folks have asked me to writes something or respond to the NY Human Resources Association's latest ad campaign about teenage pregnancy.

Here's my thing: I'm personally and professionally not a fan of these posters, language, images, in the way they are presented and the messages they are sending to youth, especially young parents of Color.

What my concerns are and why I'm not going to comment much on this topic is the following:
  1. I'm not, nor have I ever been, a young parent of Color. 
  2. I'm clear my points of view are not ones that come from a space of being a young parent or a youth at all anymore. 
  3. I do not know if youth were engaged in creating these images and messaging. 
  4. I'm committed to doing the actual work directly with youth, helping youth strategize and build to create messages that represent them. 
  5. I stand in solidarity with youth and not on top or over them.
I'm troubled that the NYHRA has created and implemented this program in this way when similar campaigns such as HIV Stops With Me have created amazing discussions around living positive with HIV. See for example the ads featuring AIDS educator and activists Kim and Jahlove (sidenote: I work with both Kim and Jahlove and I adore them both).

I wonder: what role youth had, if any, in this process. Perhaps they were included. What if youth were a part of creating these images and campagin? What say folks then? How may these responses be shaming those youth who participated? Is that our purpose at the end of the day?

See I'm more concerned with how youth are going to be treated in this back and forth. I'm concerned how folks may be isolating and targeting youth who participated and that is not useful. What are ways folks who are "organizing" around this campaign are already working with youth? Don't get it twisted there are TONS of folks who will come out of the "woodworks" and write about this who are 1. not youth, 2. not young parents, 3. not parents, 4. speak for/over youth who are parents.

And that's my main concern. I'm more interested in organizations led and run by youth responding to these. I'm interested in engaging youth first and foremost to respond to this because this is about them and targeting them. Being a mentor for almost 2 decades to the same young woman, I've learned a lot from her mentoring me as well. I've learned that we must support youth in many of their endeavors.  That we, adults, must be mindful of the space we take up in youth spaces. We must not speak over or for youth. We must instead make opportunities and build connections and relationships to actually have youth be at the center and at the table making decisions.

I know I'm here for helping youth. I see youth as important members of our society. They know what they want and they know what works for them. Are we, as adults, educators, providers, ready to listen to youth and let them lead? Or are we afraid of giving up that form of power too?

Support Sexologists of Color on this International Women's Day!

Since 5 of us from the Women of Color Sexual Health Network have begun fundraising to attend, present, and participate at the AASECT conference this year, I've heard from 5 other women of Color who have shared they cannot attend AASECT because of their lack of funds. Most of the women who have shared this have done so privately, and not online or in public forums.

I'm devastated by each story I hear from women of Color who are working class and working poor and in the field because I know for each one of them there are 2 more. And there will be more. So many of us do work that is unpaid and ignored as part of the field. One of my personal goals is to expand the idea of "sexology" and who can identify as a sexologist. Right now the definition and understanding is rooted in white supremacy and power.

Is AASECT as an organization (and not just the handful of individuals who say they want to stand in solidarity with people of Color in the field)) outraged by this reason why their conferences lack so many people of Color? What are they doing as an organization to change this, it at all?

It's so clear we are not wanted there based on the way the organization is structured. No matter how many individuals tell us they support us, the way the organization was established tells us we were not ever in mind or considered when creating the organization. This is structural bias. This is years of bias that impact our lives. That makes it even more difficult for women and people of Color to attend.

And not just attend, but also share our original research at a national conference. Do you know what it means to share original research? It means we are claiming our own voices, our own narratives, an working with our own communities. Can you imagine the number of stereotypes and misinformation that we can begin to debunk and challenge simply by being present and then sharing our work?

For this reason I urge you to consider donating whatever you may be able to in support of us attending the AASECT conference and present our original work. We matter and we deserve to be there.

Monday, March 4, 2013

About WOC Sexual Health Network Fundraising

We took MONTHS to figure out who needed funding, budgeting, and figuring out what we each needed to present our ORIGINAL research at a national membership association in the US for sexologists.

We believe that working as a collective means more access and more support in raising the funds. We knew this would be a collective effort. We know $7000 is a whole lot of money.

We also know we are worth it! Our life’s work is worth it! Our voices are worth it! And then some.

Folks have reached out to us and has asked us as INDIVIDUALS to share with them how poor we are and why we need the funds. The folks do not recognize we are a COLLECTIVE and in asking such questions are attempts to assess if each of us or all of us are worthy enough to be supported. They are attempting to separate us from the collective work we are doing. Pitting us against one another to see who is more “worthy” or the right kind of “poor” to fund and be present and seen and heard at the conference. They do not realize we work together. That their attempts were met with a collective response. They do not care and they do not understand this. Their white supremacy does not allow for such collective types of support to register for them.

That pisses me off.

I want to show those folks that there are people of Color who support us, who support the work of sexologists of Color, who recognize we are worthy and imperative to the field. That we are doing life changing and life saving work.

$1400 will fund one of us to attend in full. $2800 will fund two of us. $3200 will fund three of us. I want all of us to attend and the full $7150 to be raised.

We deserve to be there. We’ve earned it, we’ve worked for it, we’ve paved the way to mentor and support more of us in the field. We are worth it. Please consider donating whatever you can so that at least 1 of us may attend.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You Can't Play with My Yo Yo!

at dinner or something these past few days w/@dopegirlfresh we were talking about pussy carols (a "pussy carol" is a term we came up with on the beach of Far Rockaway last summer w/@dopegirlfresh which are odes to vulvas) and hip hop. well, she mentioned yo-yo’s first single w/ice cube in 1991. i had mentioned that at the time i didn’t consider it a pussy carol, but today she was def talking abt not having folks fuck w/her not just b/c she’s not having it but b/c her “yo yo” could def be her body, self-determination, pleasure, sexuality, and setting her own boundaries, etc.

now, it was 1991 so before you listen and project your 2013 ish onto this joint, keep in mind, what she’s talking about in hip hop is very specific and although i’m not 100% in love w/her calling folks “ho” and what can be read as her policing other Black women’s bodies, the reasons behind that particular stance are not 100% exactly the same to what folks discuss today. similarities yes, for sure! i def embrace her definition of “lady” and how she complicates and embraces/redefines that term for many Black women. This was the femme i was living in the early 90s!
i mean peep the video below the lyrics are after and i bolded the sex-pos parts i embrace and adore about this JAM!

Its me, the brand new intelligent black woman Y-O-Y-O
Which is Yo-Yo, but I’m not to be played
Like I was made by matell
But this Yo-Yo is made by woman and male
I rhyme about uprights upliftin the woman
For that are superior to handle by any male
Any time, any rhyme, any flow, and any show
And if you ask my producers that we fly and you know

[Chorus: Ice Cube]
You can’t play with my Yo-Yo
“Don’t try to play me out, don’t try to play me out”

[Verse 1]
My name is Yo-Yo, I’m not a ho
I like to flow so swift, its got to be a gift
So yo, let the beat lift, as I rip and rhyme
And rap and slap all the girls who came to dap
To the fact I get the 8-ball often
The earrings I wear are called dophins
Check the booty, yo its kinda soft and
If you touch, you livin in a coffin(word to mother)
I’m in the 90s, your still in the 80s right
I rock the mic, they say I’m not lady like
But I’ma lady, who will pull a stunt though
I kill suckas, and even hit the block
So what you wanna do?
Ya must play it wrong
Cause to me, you simply can’t get none
You wetter, then a hotter ho in snow
Tell em Ice Cube,
(Ice Cube)
No, you can’t play with my Yo-Yo

[Ice Cube]
Whats yo name baby?

[Verse 2]
Thats right, my name is Yo-Yo, but know I’m not a dunkin
As I rap, chilly chill bringin the funk and
I steal yo man, as if he is a hawk and
He’ll call me baby, yo, or even pumpkin
I may be buttercup, or even Ms.Yo
We had dinner, and know we drinkin Cisco
Hit the slow jams, its gettin cosy
Your home alone, so now you gettin nosy
Your kinda young, so of course you had to call rhw place
Hang up in my face, its a sad case
So who ya man dippin the dollars, what
Yup, for puttin lipstick on his collar
At home, hes gotta listen to ya holla
But he’ll slap ya, and sock ya, so why bother?
But if you come knockin at my do’(ay yo)
I’ll smoke you, tell em Ice
(Ice Cube)
You can’t play wit my Yo-Yo, sucka

[Chorus: x2]

[Ice Cube]
Fool, 1990 and stand sucka free, yeah
Tell em whats up

[Yo-Yo Rhyming Over Females Voice As She Did Earlier In The Song]
Yo, I hope you realize one day
That ya week is Monday threw Sunday
So listen to my Y-O, heres my bio
And next to me, ha, your not fly yo
Ya lack skills to be a woman thats black
Fake hair in the back, plus green contacts
Yo-Yo, is just tryna to stop ya
Because the world ain’t a big soap opera
It only takes one punch to drop ya
And then the I.B.W.C.* will come mob ya
But no, I’m not livin like that first
Although I pack, a real small gat in my purse(right, right)
But no, its not to cause corruptions
Just to fight back on the structions
Just thought you wanna know about the Y-O-Y-O
Yo, should I tell em Ice
(Ice Cube)
They know what time it is

[Chorus: x2]

[Ice Cube]
Yo-Yo, the brand new intelligent black lady
Stompin to the 90s!
For all y’all suckas
Aye Jinx, I knew they couldn’t fade it
You Can’t play wit my Yo-Yo

[Verse 3]*
The simple to a metaphor, make someone to yell on
To keep it at a latest while they’re yellin, “more, more!”
I am very versatile, changin my ways to different styles
Knowledge is the key, expense is for my background
Label me as a woman, and sometimes I feel imperial
Follow me on the hands of time, makes no man superior
Should we jam and take the stand, and dis back all the
Men who know no more the slang, slang
And thinks wit his ding-a-ling?
I think its time that we defeat
And stand on our on two feet
If we wanna live wit justice and harmony
How many more rounds must I go
In order to let my people know
Times were hard, things have changed
“Don’t try to play me out”

lyrics from here (and i had to edit b/c they were off!

*IBWC stands for “Intelligent Black Women’s Coalition” whatchu’all know about THAT?!
Also, Ice Cube wrote (most of) this song. So yeah, let that marinate.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Meet A Black Sexologist: Tracie Gilbert

I'm happy to introduce and feature some amazing Black Sexologists for Black History Month (and always because it's always BHM here and atThe LatiNegr@s Project!) This month I will be featuring amazing Black women in the sexuality and sexology field. Each woman featured is also a member of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN), an amazing space that has given us a connection to one another and ways to network.

Each woman featured is not only an amazing provider, educator, therapist, and/or activist, but they are also a part of the WOCSHN Fundraising effort to raise funds to attend AASECT conference this year where we will present our original research and findings. Please consider donating if you can and spreading the word so we can meet our goal!
Please meet Tracie Gilbert

Why are you in the field? What brought you to this field?

GREAT question…I came to this field after being interested in African American adolescent identity development, and finding all this research about their negative sexual outcomes. I originally thought about how this may affect the notion of blackness (read: black as lascivious, immoral, savage), but began to shift my notions a bit to think about Black sexuality as a whole—specifically the question of “What does it mean to be Black and sexual in the 21st Century?” At this point, my main interest is in helping answer this question, and make sure that answer is as life-affirming as possible.

What work do you do, what do you hope to shift/change/work on?

Currently I’m a full-time doctoral student in human sexuality, and work as a health resource center coordinator in Southwest Philadelphia, with high school students. What I’d like to do ultimately is a number of different things: working at an HBCU as an academic faculty member is top on my list, followed by doing work in the community as an independent workshop leader/consultant/counselor, etc. I am specifically interested in advancing the field of Black sexology, really helping bring new light to current ways of viewing sexuality, and—again—that notion of what it really means to be sexual. African-centered epistemologies and philosophies around sexuality do not get real voice in the sexology discipline; the great news about that though is the flexibility we have in introducing new ideas and frameworks to examine the problems and experiences people have, which I think is KEY for developing new ways to help people live and, by extension, have better sex lives.

  Ideas for future work for Black Women in this field:

 Create more networks, get more credentialing that is specifically in Sexology/Human Sexuality, INTRODUCE MORE SEXOLOGY THEORY…and recruit more sexologists, especially Black men, and ESPECIALLY those [Black men] who identify as heterosexual!!!

 Any additional items to share?

  I am truly thankful the Universe brought me to this field. It’s not something I would’ve ever thought about growing up, but I know that’s only because I knew nothing about it. So much in the way of research and practice (both education and clinical work) happens ABOUT Black and other communities of color in this field; very LITTLE, however, includes or even considers our voices, history, or epistemologies in the theoretical framework. THIS is a problem that must be addressed if we are ever to truly move forward in making sexuality a consistently GREAT thing to do/be in our communities.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meet a Black Sexologist: Nicole Clark

I'm happy to introduce and feature some amazing Black Sexologists for Black History Month (and always because it's always BHM here and at The LatiNegr@s Project!) This month I will be featuring amazing Black women in the sexuality and sexology field. Each woman featured is also a member of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN), an amazing space that has given us a connection to one another and ways to network.

Each woman featured is not only an amazing provider, educator, therapist, and/or activist, but they are also a part of the WOCSHN Fundraising effort to raise funds to attend AASECT conference this year where we will present our original research and findings. Please consider donating if you can and spreading the word so we can meet our goal!
 Please meet Nicole Clark

Why you are in the field, what brought you to the field?

I'm in the sexual and reproductive health field based on personal experience and the overall curiosity to know how a variety of factors (upbringing, physical environment, SES, race, gender, etc.) influence sexual decision making. My personal experiences stem from conversations (or lack of) that I had about sex, sexuality, and relationships with my mother. While it was easier for my mother to focus on having discussions on teen pregnancy, I realized as an adult that we never had an actual conversation about sex and sexuality. I, like many others, had to sit through inaccurate and often boring sex ed classes that were focused too much on abstaining for religious reasons and not on the human need to connect with others in an intimate way and to know how your body works. So, I set out to focus on young people getting the most accurate information on their sexual health as possible (and to help adults have those intimate conversations).

What work do you do, what do you hope to shift/change/work on?
My mission is to improve the health and loves of women and girls of color by infusing my passion and creativity through workshops, speaking engagements, social media, research, program evaluation, and writing. My hope is to empower women and girls of color to know what's happening with their sexual and reproductive health, know how to raise their voices against policies that seek to limit their power over their sexual and reproductive health, and to share this information with their peers.

Ideas of future work for Black women in the field (esp Black sexologists)?
An idea for future work for Black women in the sexuality field is to really focus on the power of storytelling, as a way to connect young women of color to the older generation. While times may have changed, there are many experiences that connect all of us. Together, we can develop empowering ways to change the conversation that can present us in a better light and will enable us to have a deeper understanding on our bodies and how we express our sexualities.

Follow Nicole's work on her personal website.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Meet A Black Sexologists: De-Andrea Blaylock-Johnson

I'm happy to introduce and feature some amazing Black Sexologists for Black History Month (and always because it's always BHM here and at The LatiNegr@s Project!) This month I will be featuring amazing Black women in the sexuality and sexology field. Each woman featured is also a member of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN), an amazing space that has given us a connection to one another and ways to network.

Each woman featured is not only an amazing provider, educator, therapist, and/or activist, but they are also a part of the WOCSHN Fundraising effort to raise funds to attend AASECT conference this year where we will present our original research and findings. Please consider donating if you can and spreading the word so we can meet our goal!

Please meet De-Andrea Blaylock-Johnson

Why you are in the field, what brought you to the field?

My mother always talked to my older sister and me about sex and sexuality. There wasn’t one big conversation where she talked about the birds and the bees, but whenever she sensed we had questions or concerns, she always made herself available and tried to help us understand and appreciate our own sexuality. As a psychology and later social work major at Saint Louis University, a good friend introduced the idea of sex therapy to me as I was sharing my plans to go into marriage and family therapy. Upon further investigation, I realized the field of sexuality needed new varied voices that could not only speak to our own cultural experiences, but bring that appreciation of diversity to a greater audience. And so after yet another talk with my mom, who was nothing but supportive, I decided to pursue a certification in sex therapy. As I told her, my goal is to help people have great sex and come to appreciate and accept themselves as whole persons.

What work do you do, what do you hope to shift/change/work on?

I currently provide individual and couples therapy to a variety of clients. Also, I conduct monthly workshops that focus on issues of sexuality within the context of Christianity. My goal is to provide education and assist in healing so that people can understand the amazing gift of sexuality instead of feeling restricted in its expression.

Ideas of future work for Black women in the field (esp Black sexologists)

I am inspired daily by the work of those in the WOCSHN. Seeing them move forward in advocacy and education propels me to do better. However, we are still a very small minority within the field of sexuality. This may sound simple, but I think it’s important that we continue our work, support each other, and find new ways for our voices to be heard. The fact that so many people of color are presenting at this year’s AASECT conference excites me. This is, I believe, a step in the right direction. We have to keep pressing and, of course, lifting each other as we climb higher.

Anything else you want to add?

At the end of this month, I will be hosting a workshop titled, “Good Girls DON’T Do That! …Or Do They” with my good friend who introduced me to the idea of sex therapy. You can find more information here. Also, I blog at Sex For The Saints and you can find my personal profile at about.me

Please support the work of Black sexologists and consider a donation or sharing information about WOCSHN fundraising efforts.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Including LatiNegr@s, Mi Testimonio

Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and I'm proud to ensure that LatiNegr@s are included! It's important to know your HIV status and right now getting tested is the only way to know for sure. Below is a video with several Black women sharing why getting tested is important. After that video is my story of getting tested.

My last HIV test was at the Black Girl Project Sisterhood Summit (if you don't know about the Black Girl Project you are probably a new reader to this space as I've been a board member for several years! Go buy one of our fantastic t-shirts!) There were several folks providing testing to the young Black women present (and yes there were LatiNegr@s present!). It was an amazing day filled with so much knowledge, affirmation, laughter, and food!

I had the same partner for 3 years and knew my test would be the same outcome as the tests I'd had over the years: negative. At the same time, I was still scared. The anxiety that comes with getting tested, even if you are sure of the results as I was, is real. What if the test is not 100%, what if I get the test that is a "false positive," what if questions were present. I share this because this may be a common experience for many.

The fact that I was committed to getting tested, to having the young Black women see me get tested too, alongside them, was important to me. Yes, we have made different decisions, but we share a common goal in wanting to know our HIV status and get tested. In that moment, the young Black women and I were having a shared experience. We understood one another in a way that is often forgotten among intergenerational interactions. It was a moment that I was very deeply proud to have had.

I also knew I was surrounded by other Black women who love and adore me and would be present with me if I needed them in any capacity (that's right! if something happens to me I will be missed, just like you reading here!). We have one another's backs. After I answered some questions, completed the consent forms, and had my mucus membranes in my mouth swabbed I waited about 20 minutes for my results. I took a lot of deep cleansing breaths. I talked with the other young Black women waiting for their results. I was happy, and anxious.

When I received my test results they were negative. I was relieved. I was given the usual package of condoms and dental damns and lube and a form. That evening I shared with my partner that I had received an HIV test and shared the results. This was not our first conversation together about the topic, but I know it was their first conversation about HIV with a partner in their entire life!

::in my Arrested Development "Everyday People"voice:: The moral of the story is many people of Color don't know their status and are still not discussing HIV transmission with their partners. As someone in their mid-30s who is in the sexuality field, I talk about HIV often. It is rare that I meet a potential partner who is as comfortable as I am in discussing HIV transmission, testing, and protections. I'm often the one who has the "paperwork" to show I'm not making things up and I want to change that experience. I'd love it if the people I come into contact with know their status, have the paperwork, and pride to share that they too get tested on a regular basis.

You reading this, you are important. You are important and a contributing member of your communities. You matter and you are valued. LatiNegr@s that includes you too! For all of these reasons and more get tested to know your status. You are not alone, ever!

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Giveaway!

It's been a while since I offered a giveaway and I'd like to do it again (and again and again!). This year I'm proud to offer a FREE 2013 Sylvia Rivera Law Project Calendar! This calendar I have in my home as one of my best friends gave it to me as a gift for the end of the year. This friend is one of the greatest loves of my life and in their purchasing the calendar for me they accidentally purchased two so I received two calendars.

I'd like to offer the second to one of my amazing readers. Here's information about the calendar:

Designed to support the ongoing work of SRLP and to extend the reach of SRLP’s members who are incarcerated, artist Caroline Paquita has been hard at work over the past few months creating SRLP’s very first calendar!  This beautiful 12 month calendar showcases the artwork of trans, gender non conforming, intersex community members and allies who are locked away in New York state detention facilities.  It also includes trans history throughout, honoring those like Sylvia Rivera who never stopped fighting for us.
Practical. Radical. Informational. Historical.
 The calendar retails for $15 and will be shipped via media mail from NYC. If you don't know about the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) here's part of their mission statement (and here's where you can purchase more of their merchandise!): 

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence.

TO ENTER: leave a comment sharing a love story, no matter how brief or about anything you choose (i.e. love of your life, love of life, love of others, work, art, etc.). Make sure you leave an email address where I can contact you if you are the winner to get your snail mail address!

TIMELINE: Selection will be made on Friday February 15, 2013.

TO WIN: I'll select a random number (i.e. first person to leave a comment is person 1 and so forth).
Spread the word!

LatiNegr@s & The 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

[originally published at The LatiNegr@s Project]

This week marked the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the supreme court decision that made abortion legal in the US. In much of the coverage around this anniversary there has been a lot of discussion regarding Latin@s and Black men and women*.  What is missing is the inclusion and narratives of LatiNegr@s. 

As readers know LatiNegr@s are both ethnically Latin@ and racially Black. Our experiences matter and must also be included. Our experiences may very well be similar to Latin@s of any racial group and racially Black people as well. However, we also have specific experiences because we are both. 

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health has data and a focus on abortion access.  They also have a new project Yo Te Apoyo with a video discussing how to support a friend who is terminating a pregnancy. Unfortunately, it seems there is only one LatiNegr@ featured. This is a great example of inclusion, and I expect to see more of us included on a regular basis and in more numbers. However, I’m not sure how NLIRH has included LatiNegr@s in their past research. It’s safe to say we are rarely (if ever) featured in a headline and often discussed as only Latin@.

This is a similar approach we see in spaces focusing on Black women as well. Rarely do we see a ethnic breakdown of the racially Black women featured. Earlier this week Dani McClain published an article at asking why Black women are not represented in conversations about abortion and why we don’t share our stories. McClain examined the videos folks published for the 1 in 3 campaign and wrote: “Out of the 31 moving, intimate videos posted online, four appear to feature Black women.” 

Although it “appears” to only feature 4 Black women, McClain has excluded the voices of LatiNegr@s. Perhaps the appearance of a Black woman McClain is seeking is very specific to certain characteristics such as skin color only because she did not include this LatiNegra’s story (yes that’s me, the author). McClain’s question of why Black women are not represented or sharing their stories of abortion is valid and important. I’d like to take her question a step further and ask why are the experiences and narratives of LatiNegr@s not represented (yet)?

The primary issue is that we are not included. Either we are discussed only as Latin@s or only as Black people and rarely as both. Ignoring this connection/complexity is a form of erasure and silencing. We will no longer be silent or ignored! We will hold folks accountable for excluding us and support them in ensuring their representations are inclusive. If you are interested in sharing your story as a LatiNegr@ with the NLIRH Yo Te Apolyo project learn how to do so here

If you know of research and projects that include us please share them!

*The terms wo/man are in reference to gender and not sex assigned at birth (SAAB). As a result, abortion is a topic that may impact people of all genders and not only folks whose SAAB is female or intersex. For these reasons the @ sign will be used to recognize gender and terms wo/man will both be used. For more information about how the @ sign is used read here.

Interested in training to be a sex educator? In NJ or NY?

Rutgers University’s ANSWER Program is now accepting applicants for its TISHE (Training Institute in Sexual Health Education). TISHE is a week-long, annual residential training that transforms participants into the most effective, powerful sexuality educators they can be. This year’s TISHE will take place on August 4-9. See their website here for more information.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Find out more about how you can work with youth in your community around these topics and check out this video created by youth about these topics.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN) Fundraising

The Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN) working group and collective was established in 2009, when 18 women of Color came together to strategize ways to increase representation in the field and especially at AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists). WOCSHN has made numerous efforts to ensure women and people of Color working in the sexology and sexuality fields are represented, supported, and included. We are educators, medical providers, counselors, activists, and writers who are committed to mentoring, working, and changing the way sex/uality is discussed about our communities.

Members of the WOCSHN have submitted several presentations to AASECTs 2013 National Conference, many of which were accepted. To have as many WOCSHN members present and able to present our original work, members are in need of supporting funds. All of the funds raised will go directly to each member to cover their needs to attend the conference. Without these funds they will not be able to attend.*

Below is an outline of our needs to have 5 WOCSHN members attend.

Plane $2050 (for 5 members)
Transportation $250 (to/from airport and hotel)
Hotel $2000 (double rooms)
Per Diem $1000 (3 meals a day)
Registration $1850 (speaker reduced registration fee)
Total: $7150

The five WOCSHN members who are in need of funding are each dynamic, thoughtful, and revolutionary Black women thinkers in the field and include:

De-Andrea Blaylock-Johnson
De-Andrea Blaylock-Johnson is licensed in the State of Missouri as a clinical social worker and has served the St. Louis community since 2005. She is passionate about helping others achieve their goals and live as whole persons. De-Andrea firmly believes that you must be the change you wish to see in the world and endeavors to positively impact her clients through her interactions with them. De-Andrea has worked in many settings, serving as a hospital social worker at an inpatient psychiatric unit, a contract therapist, and as a school social worker. She has helped clients with various issues, including addiction, mood disorders, anxiety, chemical dependency, relationship issues, and trauma. Currently, she serves clients in her Clayton, MO office and conducts monthly workshops regarding sexual health and building intimacy.

Nicole Clark
Nicole Clark a social worker, consultant, and sexual health activist who has worked with local and national sexual/reproductive justice organizations, such as Helping Our Teen Girls In Real Life Situations, Inc. (HOTGIRLS), Advocates for Youth, the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition (YWCHAC). She has a B.A. in Psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Masters of Social Work degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work, with a practice method centered on direct practice/counseling & programmatic planning. Nicole’s workshop for AASECT is about sex, gender, race, and religion.

Traci Q. Gilbert
Ms. Tracie Q. Gilbert is the founder of Gilbert Educational Ministries, and has over 15 years of experience working with young people and youth development programs. She has turned her attention toward the issue of holistic sexuality development—particularly among African Americans. She is currently in pursuit of her doctorate in human sexuality education from Widener University, with which she hopes to increase our collective understanding of African American sexual phenomenology. Ms. Tracie was the 2011 winner of Women for Social Innovation’s Turning Point Prize, provided presentations for a variety of different special events, including the Black Male Development Symposium, the National Black Child Development Institute’s Annual Conference, and Congressman Chakah Fattah’s National Conference on Higher Education.

Bianca Laureano
Bianca I Laureano is an award-winning sexologist, consultant, educator, and activist. Her interests include representations of the sexuality of people of Color in media and popular culture, reproductive justice, and positive youth development. She has a BA from the University of Maryland in Women’s Health & Latino Communities, a MA from NYU in Human Sexuality Education, and an MA from the University of Maryland in Women’s Studies with a focus on gender, bodies, sexuality, and race. She is an adjunct professor at a private college, freelance writer, co-founder of The LatiNegr@s Project, abortion doula, and hosts All her writings and reviews can be seen at her website Her presentation at AASECT will focus on how to include people of Color in the field of sexology and the sexuality needs of LatiNegr@s in the US.

Whitney Sewell
Whitney Sewell is a master’s student of social work at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She majored in sociology at Tufts University, and received a BA in psychology from Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include human sexuality and reproductive justice. At UNC, Whitney is a lead facilitator for the UNC LGBTQ Center’s Safe Zone training program, a training that promotes awareness, inclusiveness and ally development. She also serves as an HIV counselor for the Student Health Action Coalition, providing clients with pre/post test counseling. Whitney is committed to bringing evidence based, culturally inclusive, and sex positive sexual education interventions to marginalized communities.

Fundraising has begun! We will need to register and reserve hotel rooms for the conference by mid-April 2013. We will continue to fundraise until the date of the conference: June 5, 2013. Each donation of any amount will receive a special gift after the conference has concluded.

All additional funds will go to covering a communal gathering of WOCSHN members at the conference. Please spread the word and help us reach our goal!

*AASECT only has one scholarship for people of Color which only offers a reduced registration fee.