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.

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