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.