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.


  1. *The Bill T. Jones Scholarship is a $500.00 scholarship, which is more than the registration fee for the conference. It covers the FULL registration fee and then some. Bill T. Jones receives an email every year with information about each winner. AASECT is committed to helping this cause. If someone would post this information on our listserv, I'm sure there would be even more support. AASECT is looking into other ways of supporting the diversity that we truly value. These are not just words. I was at the meeting you speak of, and I am committed to forwarding this.

  2. Michele thank you for your comment and donation. The Bill T. Jones Scholarship covers $500 and for non-members the 2013 conference fee is $660, which means a non-member (as myself) would have to come out of pocket $160. For members the conference fee is $420. There are many reasons folks are not AASECT members, I can only speak for myself and share that the fees that come with membership are ones I cannot afford and thus am always in the non-member category for conferences. Plus, the certification requirements are unclear, and they are exhausting in how we must prove we have worked, learned, and been mentored over a period of time. For folks like myself this period of time is well over a decade! It is too much work for such a large cost and minimal professional support/exchange.

    Because I, and the other 4 folks in need of funding, are not members we do not have access to the AASECT listserv and cannot post this fundraising effort there.

    In addition, the AASECT conference registration site reads: "AASECT Conf reg form: If you are interested in being a workshop CE Moderator, please contact Richelle Frabotta at If you are interested in being a Volunteer, contact Jenni Skyler at for information. Volunteers will receive
    half-priced conference registration this year. Volunteers are required to register before the conference for the full amount. After the conference, the volunteer coordinator will verify successful completion of the required hours, and AASECT will then reimburse volunteers for half their conference registration fee. You cannot volunteer more than 2 (two) years in a row and students are given priority."
    This clearly outlines that non-members, like the 5 of us needing funding, will still have to pay the FULL $660 fee prior to volunteering and after the conference we'll be reimbursed $330. Now, since we do not have the funds to begin with to register, we cannot apply to be volunteers and if we do we are hoping that we will raise the $7k+ in full so that we are not taking up a spot for other potential volunteers. If the funds are not raised we would have to "step down" as volunteers and possibly presenters as well. Because many of us are presenters the funds we required for attending and registering dropped drastically. Prior to knowing we had a reduced amount for registration we were expecting to attempt to fundraise over $3000 for registration alone for 5 Black women to attend!!! That was more than all the other needs: transportation, lodging, hotel, and airfare! We would have needed close to $9k in total for 5 Black women to attend.

    This infuriated me. When I saw those registration numbers and amounts I was offended. I saw them as immoral amounts of money to enter and participate in a space that is not 100% committed to inclusion, that has historically been hostile for communities of Color, and I was not sure I wanted to attend (ever) again. I went so far as to speak to an event planner I know personally, who has organized both national and international conferences for well known medical associations and they confirmed this registration amount was exuberant, that it was too much for what we are actually receiving from the conference, and that it does not make sense since it is the presenters that make the conference. They did confirm the room rate was a great one though!

    I will be 100% honest and share that if these funds are not raised I will not be able to attend the conference. For someone like me who makes less than 20k a year this is an expense that I do not ever budget for because I am not in the income bracket to be included as a member of AASECT, along with other conferences that claim to offer full travel, lodging, and registration scholarships, but do so in a manner that is very invasive and one that leaves me thinking I must show I'm the right kind of "poor" to be considered (i.e. CLPP, NOLOSE to name a few but not to target them alone).

    (continued below)

  3. I hope AASECT will begin to consider how class is a part of "diversity" and imperative to inclusion. Folks who are working class, working poor, etc. do important work in our field, yet we are not compensated for that work. There are reasons why this is so and I personally know they are often connected to ideas of racism, elitism, classism, xenophobia, etc. Let's be honest, you don't make tons of money in our field, especially if your focus is sex/uality and young people of Color, people of Color, working poor people, and working poor people of Color. All of us in need of funding work with one or more of these populations on a regular basis and are members of one or more of these communities. They are our communities and we are committed to providing them with the resources that the other, lighter, middle class and up communities receive. Inclusion to me is also about having people of various economic backgrounds present and not just race, ethnicity, nationality, etc.

    I hope I will finally get to meet you in person in June!