Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lesson 31: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Not everyone's ideas of freedom or liberation are the same.

Life Lesson:

I know it's devastating to realize, yet it's important that you do.  We all have different ideas of what is freedom and liberation. Not everyone will agree. What you'll have to do is decide how to move towards what you desire in a way that does not harm or oppress others. Your liberation and freedom cannot be granted at the hurt, murder, incarceration, medical abuse, lack of basic needs, removal of love, pleasure, or compassion of others.

Sometimes you won't always realize what this means. Sometimes you may be called out because your ideas of liberation and freedom are hurting others or don't take into account their lived realities. It is ok when your ideas of liberation and freedom change and shift. This is something that will happen as you transform, evolve, un/learn. Don't run from this, it is part of your growth.

*******
Thanks to everyone who read, commented, shared, and supported this writing for Latinx Heritage Month. I was challenged and vulnerable as I shared many of these lessons and the things that brought me to understand them. I also wrote them as a journal entry to myself, how I speak to myself at times of learning, healing, pain, coping, discomfort, liberation. I'm considering creating these in a zine/book format to distribute (for a small fee) to help me raise some funds and support other projects I'm working on, specifically The LatiNegrxs Sexuality Survey (which if you haven't taken it there's still time to do so! I'm also open to critique/feedback/and changes as I know it's not perfect!). 

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Read Lessons 1-10, Lessons 11-20, Lesson 21, Lesson 22, Lesson 23, Lesson 24, Lesson 25, Lesson 26, Lesson 27, Lesson 28, Lesson 29, Lesson 30



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Giveaway & Review: Stronic Drei Pulsator by Fun Factory

I told ya'll more reviews and giveaways were coming our way! This time I'm all about offering luxury sex toys to folks who deserve them: and that's all of us! Sure, some of us may be able to afford them on our own, but others of us, could never dish out $200 for a sex toy. So, enter this sex toy giveaway of the Stronic Drei. Check out this video below and then read my review.

So, it's been about a month or more since I received my Stronic Drei to review. Let me say, it's been difficult to focus on writing this. I'm already best friends with my toy and I'm greedy and territorial about it too!

The video is a great introduction and primer for your toy. There is very little language/words in the pamphlet and mostly instructions via images. This was a bit tricky for me to follow. I did a lot of trial and error before figuring out how it worked. I even had to look up other sites that reviewed the toy to understand how to get it to work! Yet, it's accessible and user friendly.

First, you'll notice the packaging, it's beautiful and Eco-friendly. My Stronic Drei is blue and just holding it in my hand was erotic. The lines and crafting, curves of the pulsator are brilliant. I often am worried that the controller of the toys are too heavy and will be a challenge to use by myself as they will tip out, you know gravity isn't always on our side.

The great thing about the Stronic Drei is that it does not require batteries, which often lead to the heavy base. Instead, it is the future of sex toys! It is rechargeable through an outlet or through the computer. It is also magnetic in that nothing plugs into the toy, so be careful you have both magnetic pieces touching the parts that it needs to touch. You'll see the red light as outlined in the pamphlet when it's properly connected.

Your first initial charging will take over 10 hours, 16 to be exact. This, for me, meant I had to plug it into an outlet because I take my laptop around with me. But the good thing was I plugged it in when I woke up and by the time I was ready to relax and get settled at the end of the day it was charged. This is just a one time charge to my knowledge. Also, what better way to really bring home the self-care rituals that help me relax and experience pleasure?!

Like many rechargeable toys, this one you can tell it needs recharging when the pulsating gets less intense. However, there are over 5 different pulsating effects, intensity, and sensations. The images in the pamphlet demonstrate the intensity and vibrations of each sensation. They are actually pretty on point too!

So the pulsating is really dynamic. I've experienced nothing like it with a crafted item. It really is worth the price tag! Do you feel like a cyborg if you are the one using it on a partner? Do you reach the right areas for which you are searching? You'll have to decide on your own. But what I can offer you is my honesty that comes with my realization that caring for myself, centering my pleasure, has always had positive consequences.

Make sure to clean your item as suggested in the pamphlet. Consider using a condom for easier clean up, and if you choose to share this toy with partner(s) as you may use it in an anus or vaginal canal. 

The best part of this toy: you have the opportunity to get your own, for FREE direct from the manufacturer! What better way to wrap up Latinx Heritage Month?!

You have a change to win your own Stronic Drei! Here's what you need to do:

1. Follow @LatinoSexuality on Twitter
2. Follow @FunFactoryUSA on Twitter
3. You must be following BOTH accounts to be considered for the giveaway. Do this by Friday October 17, 2014
4. Tweet/retweet about the giveaway*
5. Be open to writing your own review of your experience with the Stronic Drei
6. If you win, you'll need to provide your government name, address (no PO Boxes)
7. Enjoy!

*Winners will be randomly selected based on their retweets which include both twitter handles for @LatinoSexuality and @FunFactoryUSA. Winners announced Friday October 17, 2014 by 10pm EST.

Of course, you don't have to enter to win, instead you can purchase your own right now

Lesson 30: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

There are consequences to standing on the side of justice.

Life Lesson:

Often these consequences are positive and affirming. Other times they may be negative. Sometimes there are no consequences. Either way, it's important to keep this in mind. When you stand on the side of justice, have convictions, beliefs, values, and goals rooted in love, compassion, and humanity, folks will not always agree with you or your approaches.

Hate and oppression are powerful. They may sometimes be very intimidating to go up against. But when you remind yourself of all the love surrounding you, of the power you embody, and approach each situation from compassion and love, you have already persevered.

You'll remind students of this when you encourage them to stay rooted in their convictions of what they belief is just.  For example, when we speak of misogyny you'll remind students that there are consequences to challenging that system and we have so many examples from the language we use on a daily basis or to hurt others, to murder, to how law enforcement engages with survivors of rape, domestic violence, and the like.

Then you will remind students that there are consequences for the people who identify as men or who embody and embrace some/any forms of masculinity and also work to end/challenge misogyny. The ways some target those individuals, how some make them feel unsafe, how folks question their sexual orientation, their goals, their ability to remain in group contact even when they are speaking to their community members from a place of love and compassion.

Folks do not always enjoy being challenged. Sometimes folks respond to that in various ways, they may feel attacked by a call out, but do not realize the gift that is being shared with them. Other folks may move into the compassion and choose to un/learn what they have been taught or hold onto that harms and oppresses others. The important thing, is that when that person, or you, choose to learn from the discomfort, then healing and change may emerge.

There are consequences, and that is not always a negative thing; it is just a reality. When you realize this and you still choose to stand on the side of justice, you have already decided where you belong.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com   

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lesson 29: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Rejection is painful sometimes. Yet, every time, that rejection is the universe helping you dodge a bullet!

Life Lesson:

It's difficult to really see past the pain the rejection brings sometimes. It may feel overwhelming, never ending, constant, consistent. As one of your supervisors told you in a meeting: "this may be your right now, but this is not your next." 

So much to learn in the rejection. The first thing is to remember rejection is not always a sign that you are a failure or have failed. Rejection is about coming closer to what you need to build and create for yourself. To come closer to your life's purpose. To that happiness you seek and want to bask in for the rest of this life. The rejection is moving you in a different direction.

The idea of "dodging a bullet" when it comes to rejection is very real for you sometimes. You can see how things evolve months or years later in a way that does not stunt your growth and transformation. That's the relief that comes with this realization. Sure it's painful at times, you feel the loss, the vacancy, the loneliness. And with time you will realize the loss is making room for more amazing goodness, that had you held onto that loss you would not have the space for all the goodness. The vacancy that reminds you there is something missing, that you are without, but really that's often a feeling of needing to come inward, to look deep inside as to what is missing. Oftentimes your daily needs are met. It's something else that is not filling you and you know what it may be when you look. That loneliness is not unique to you either. It may feel so, but you are not the first, nor the last, to feel lonely. Plus, folks love you and would happily spend time with you!

All those jobs you were (and will be) rejected from. It's because you know you are supposed to be working on that feature-length documentary, building the family you've always wanted (no matter how untraditional), minimizing distractions to complete the work you've already done and that brings you joy, looking for funding to support your independent research, taking care of your body without distractions, getting the rest you need, supporting your community, building the spaces you need and want in this world. The list is endless as to what that rejection really offers you.

Don't see the rejection as failure, see it as opportunity. As the reminder you have more to do that may be beyond your understanding, but what you need will come to you when you do the work you need and love to do. Don't let rejection dim your shine. There's no time for any of that. You've got too much to share and create.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lesson 28: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

There is something to learn in discomfort.

Life Lesson:

Especially if this discomfort comes while listening to a lecture, something that has challenged you. You realized this late in the game. Your initial response to the discomfort was to react in a way that was sometimes distracting to what the lesson could be for you. Sometimes you got so upset you had to remove yourself.

Those are lessons. There are some forms of discomfort that you must physically remove yourself from (if you are able to). There are others that bring an immediate reaction to that is negative. After all, being uncomfortable makes many of us not happy. It's not pleasant to experience, especially in a public space where others may see you. You learn about your boundaries, your triggers, and what you need to do to take care of yourself.

You may also learn about what you need to unlearn. What you've believed to be one singular truth, may not be challenged. And that you must sit with and process. If it is uncomfortable to hear of something that challenges a way you've been taught, it is ok to sit with that discomfort and figure out where the root of that discomfort stems from. Sometimes it's not because of the information given or who the messenger may be. Instead it is often about how you feel like you've been lied to, hoodwinked, sold something that was false.

It is also ok to share that you are uncomfortable. Claim what your body, mind, and spirit are sending you. Be transparent, as you may not be the only one. Speaking of your discomfort may also be healing for you or others.

You've had strong physical reactions to discomfort as well. Sometimes these are physically painful and you must remove yourself from the space. This is ok too. As your energy healer once asked you: "if the pain returns, what would you say to the pain?" Think about what you want that pain to know if it does return. What can you learn about that pain and how to ease from it and learn to. How may you choose to protect yourself from this pain in ways that still leave you open enough to build?

You will remind your students of this lesson too. That when they learn of structural, institutional, systemic forms of oppression they will experience discomfort. That warm feeling that embodies you and creeps through your entire being is real! Taking deep breaths will help bring some calm. It may also help you ask yourself "what am I reacting to? Why is this reaction so strong?" These are important questions.

Feelings of discomfort do not mean you have failed. It is something many of us experience. It means you are human. It represents a learning experience. Learn from the discomfort. Let it transform you in a healing way.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Lesson 27: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Try not to compare your accomplishments to others accomplishments. You complete what you need to when you need to.

Life Lesson:

In a world and at a time when folks are so invested in being published, having TED talks, making 6 figures; you have to remember these are not your goals. You don't want to publish a book, promote it, have folks critique your writing (been there done that). (Yet, let's be honest you will write a book because nobody is writing what needs to be said to save the lives of young Black girls and girls of Color in the US about sex/uality the way you can and will!) Your strengths lie in editing and critiquing.

You don't want to do a TED talk, everyone has one, but you don't need one. You got video of you doing presentations on.your.own.terms. Homies offered to video you, do the sound, and give you the product, for free because they believe in you! You don't have to follow the wack rules of some organization that gives everyone a TED talk. If you wanted one you'd have it, we all know this, so do you! You already do. Plus, you too busy making feature-length documentaries that will change the world and conversation! Nobody's TED talk has done that.

About that 6 figures.... You know, you are not a capitalist. You are a survivalist. You don't need money that is in that amount. You just want some comfort and food security. You want to be able to help your homies when they are in need. Maybe start a scholarship fund, fund the Women of Color Sexual Health Network, The LatiNegr@s Project, and help your family. Other than that, the rest is extra you don't really need. You don't mind doing the work you love for a livable wage.

So when you see folks getting published off your work, using your organizations and shine as stepping stones, it's not that you are not successful or accomplished. It's that your shine is so bright others can thrive off of it and find what they need. Now, THAT'S SOME POWERFUL STUFF. You are powerful, remember? Your accomplishments are your own and nobody can take them away!

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com   

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lesson 26: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

It's ok to rest.

Life Lesson:

Give yourself permission to rest.  You deserve it. You have earned it. You need to rest to do the work you want to do. Listen to your body. Trust yourself. Prioritize your rest. See it as self-care. Get some rest.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com   

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lesson 25: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Pay homage to Henrietta Lacks.

Life Lesson:

Many folks will remember Henrietta Lacks and her life because of a book published about her. This book will be deeply problematic for numerous reasons. What you will need to remember is to pay homage to her in the ways you can and that make the best sense to you.

This may mean continuing your journey working to educate folks on HPV and cervical cancer. This will become even more important to you when you have cancerous cells on your cervix. The fact that you are benefiting from the medical abuse and misuse of her body and the legacy of her family will trouble you for eternity. How can you find so much survival in the abuse of another Black woman's body?

You will be absorbed in figuring this out. It impacts you so intimately. You will write about it and ask for suggestions and others will be at a loss. You will attend events throughout Maryland, DC, and NYC. Still looking. You begin to realize that the way you can pay homage to Henrietta Lacks is to take care of your body in the ways she was not able to take care of hers because of anti-Black racism, sexism, misogyny, and structural -isms.

This means reminding yourself how powerful you are when you go to the gym and lift weights. It means asking your homies if they want to go to the gym with you, even when they say over and over they cannot. This means creating the discipline to take care of your body in the ways you can at this time. That is the homage you can pay to Henrietta and all she's offered you, others, and this world we know today.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com   

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lesson 24: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

You belong everywhere you want to be.

Life Lesson:

This is a difficult lesson to remember. But that doesn't mean it isn't true when you begin to remember and recognize. At the end of each semester I usually tell this to my students. Especially if they are graduating or it is the end of the Spring semester. We belong where we want to be.

So yes, for me that is in a space where there are more people of Color in the sexology field. I knew I belonged in this field. I knew it at a very young age. I also knew how color-free the US sexology field is and remains. This didn't ever make me feel as though I could never be in the field. There was something that told me I belong here. When I realized it was my own desire, shine, confidence, knowledge, my own magic self, the universe, the dearth, the pleasure, and everything I don't have the language to explain right now.

I knew, and sometimes I forget, but this is an important one to remember. Just because we want to be somewhere doesn't mean it will be easy. Knowing I belong in the US sexology field is not easy. It's also not a well paying place to be either. Especially with the values and convictions I have and hold and share. Yet, I know this is where I belong because this is where I choose to be.

I'd never considered going to Burning Man. I mean sitting around with a bunch of white folks burning things in the desert never appealed to me. Actually it triggered me in so many ways! Yet, now that there are Black folks in my life who identify as Burners, who value that experience enough to save thousands of dollars a year, and now that I have a partner who is committed to having us be in that space for 2015, I have a desire to experience that, even if just once. And I know I will belong there, even if there are just a handful of Black burners. (get at me if you are one! or a POC Burner in general!)

When you realize you belong where you are, you shine brighter. Your awesome is harder to deny. Your brilliance is revealed even more to you and others. The pleasure you experience expands and transforms you. When you acknowledge where you want to be, even if it's a space you never imagined being, that is where the real living of life comes in for you, Bi. That's where you unlearn and learn so much. It's where you can produce knowledge, media, conversations, and build all that you want to build.

You belong here. You belong everywhere you want to be!

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com   

National Latex Allergy Awareness Week October 5-11


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lesson 23: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

People heal in different ways.

Life Lesson:

It seems obvious, but sometimes you have to remember this. When folks say or act a particular way, and you know it is not their best self, remember they may be healing from something in a different way. I'd go as far as to remind you that as long as another person's healing does not harm another, that those healing practices are ok for them, even if they are not ones you'd do for yourself.

Healing is deeply personal, and what has worked for you: healing with your community, healing publicly, healing with individuals, healing alone and privately, may not work for others. Some folks find healing in various places and spaces. Some folks go into the sexology field to find healing, like you did. Others go into kink or BDSM communities and find their healing. Other folks find healing through traditional Western medications or therapies. Others find it in a spiritual belief system. There are many paths to healing. Your job is not to judge those paths. Sometimes your job is to get out of the way to not obstruct that path!

All of those forms are valid for that person. You do not need to judge someone else and their healing practices, especially because you know how it feels when folks judge yours. It's never supportive and it can be more damaging. There is so much healing that needs to happen for you still. You have yet to really be in a space to realize some of the healing you must do too. Sometimes witnessing others healing may help reveal yours too.

This is a lifelong process for some. The wounds and trauma run deep. For some of us, like you, your existence may be a reality of some of that historical trauma. When you are seen as a 'throwback' to the stain in your families narrative of being pure Spanish blood, that's a legacy of trauma that you remind folks occurred with your existence and presence. You belong here. You deserve healing. So does everyone else.

Lean into the healing. There is some scary things in there, but there's also the liberation you sought and it may be there for others too, in their own way, in their own time.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lesson 22: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Focus on pleasure.

Life Lesson:

Because we, as people of Color, as Latinx, as Black people, as LatiNegrxs we always already hear and know about negative consequences and outcomes. Sex and sexuality are not always negative things. We deserve to have an outlet and experience that affirms we experience pleasure. Each of us, no matter what our bodies look like, the color of our skin, how our genitals look, we are all capable of pleasure, and many times it's not even something our genitals need to be a part of!

You'll find a space, a much needed space, to fill when you focus on the pleasure of POC. We are already coping with our own healing and safety topics. Some of us choose to do that healing and coping by focusing on pleasure and happiness. This is amazing and we each deserve to have that decision honored and treated with respect and integrity.

One of the reasons you will be so successful is because you give yourself permission to experience pleasure, often and unapologetically. You share some of those experiences, you live them, your shine is one folks see and are drawn to and curious. This reminds folks of their deserving of pleasure. If you've been able to find it during times of ultimate stress, frustration, and the like, others will find this to be useful. Others may have questions. At the end of the day, everyone seeks pleasure in some way that fits into their lives.

The organizations and positions you hold that center pleasure will be ones you thrive in. You will stay with those spaces because your shine will be so unbeatable you will feel and be cherished. You won't feel disposable because those spaces share so many of the same values you do, especially for the most oppressed folks in our communities. This is where you belong, doing that work!

Focus on the pleasure and your pleasure will intensify.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Lesson 21: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Asking for help is a gift. It is a gift you are giving to the folks you are asking for help from. It is a gift you give yourself.

Life Lesson:

It's scary to ask for help sometimes. But when you realize that what you need is something that folks can provide you, it is a gift to ask them for help. People love you so much! People recognize the power and magic that you embody. When you ask for help, people respond. People feel seen, appreciated, honored that you have seen in them something that can help support and build you up.

Asking for help is a gift you give yourself too. When you realize you can't do it all, you can't always get it right, you will grow and evolve through what you learn and unlearn, that is a gift. Realizing when you need help and how to ask for it is the gift you give yourself too. It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength and being reflexive and astute.

Sometimes it is difficult to view help as a gift; especially when you are the one asking for help. But you know how good and accomplished and needed you feel when folks ask you for help, or when you can help. That's an amazing feeling and that's the type of vibe and energy the community you want to be in can thrive on.

Let the shame, embarrassment, feelings of failure and fault release from your thoughts.  I know it's a challenge, but overcoming that shame and challenge will lead to greater gifts and more solidarity than you ever believed was available! Help comes in many forms, don't limit your ideas of what that may look like for you at any time. Stay open to how it manifests and comes your way.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Lesson 20: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Keep what you do as accessible as possible!

Life Lesson:

People learn in so many different ways! You know this as one of those people who excelled with educators who understood this and embraced it in the classroom setting. It's one of the ways you build your workshops, curricula, and trainings.

Sometimes folks are so deeply rooted in their own ableism they do not recognize how to make things accessible, they do not see how they are creating barriers. Even those of us with various sorts of disabilities maintain some level of ableism. We all have to actively work to challenge that and it's an on-going experience and endeavor.

If this means asking for an organization or school to provide ASL during your workshop, be ready to provide suggestions for local ASL interpreters. If you provide handouts, make sure the language is accessible, the font large enough, and offer it as an email attachment for folks who need or use audio support. Be mindful of how quickly you may be speaking, make eye contact with folks who ask direct questions, and be open to folks suggestions.

You lose nothing by making your work more accessible to more people. It means your reach expands and impacts a population of people who are often ignored in the sexology field. Opening yourself to learning ways to reach more folks, build new networks and connections, and support those who are already doing the work, is often the best direction for you to go.

Sometimes, when you don't have time or resources to make something more accessible, it is ok to mention that before beginning. It is ok to recognize publicly that you are not able, at this time, to create what you would like to because of certain restraints and restrictions. Oftentimes folks will appreciate this, sometimes it's just the honesty people respect enough to help you with what you were not able to do. Let folks help you.

Read lessons 1-19 via the links below:
Lessons 1-10, Lesson 11, Lesson 12, Lesson 13, Lesson 14, Lesson 15, Lesson 16, Lesson 17, Lesson 18, Lesson 19

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Lesson 19: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Movement is important, don't forget to move!

Life Lesson:

Folks will be encouraging you to move to lose weight for the entirety of your life. When you realize you enjoy moving, dancing, and the like, you do it for yourself. When you divest in weight loss you enjoy movement. When you realize how much you move when you teach and present, you realize the importance of moving each day.

During summer and winter breaks from teaching that go up to 2-4 weeks, your body forgets how important it is to move. When you begin to move on a regular basis you will not be as tired and in pain in an achy way when classes are back in session. Your back injury will begin to heal more solidly.

Moving when you are not teaching makes you feel powerful too. When you decide to begin going to the gym for your own self-care, you will find new strength in your body. You are stronger, physically, than you ever imagined. Sometimes you don't get to the gym, and that's ok. As long as you have the discipline to continue to go on a regular basis.

You hate the gym, you dislike all that goes into getting ready to and being at the gym. But you like the end result: increased energy, continuous movement, not feeling achy throughout the day, feeling strong, being stronger, reminding yourself you are powerful.

It's an added bonus when the dudes who go around flexing in the gym do a double take on what you are lifting. It's also a nice reminder you are strong in more ways than you know. It feels good to take care of yourself on your own terms. This is your choice and you get to do what you want to feel good in your body.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Review: A Cup Of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernández



Usually when I begin a book I've been longing to read I may finish that book in a week. I received Daisy's book 2 weeks ago and I am still only 1/3 of the way through (pg 70 right this second). This is not because the book is a difficult read, poorly written, or lacking in any way. Actually, the opposite!

Reading Daisy's memoir has been too close to home to rush through. It's been one of those books that when you read a few sentences that reach deep into you, you pause. I paused so many times in the first several chapters. Although I do not ethnically closely identify with Daisy, or have immigrant parents with a similar background (our immigration stories as Puerto Ricans are similar but not very much in the same way, it's complicated!) a lot of what she shares is an experience I have lived too.


(Author Daisy Hernández foto credit Jorge Rivas)

What is giving me pause are the ways Daisy explains her transformative experiences as a young woman growing up in the US. How she realizes what she reads in books assigned by US educators and what is taught in her classrooms distances her from her mother, but also she comes to realize she is learning what her mother has already known because she has lived those experiences. This is especially clear when Daisy discusses going to college and reading Anzaldúa's work on Borderlands and language and her mother's response to her readings. Her mother has lived what Anzaldúa writes.

I also struggle with memoirs about Latinas and their mothers. The long sentences/discussions about memory and remembering are the most challenging. This is something that is quickly leaving me as my mother dives deeper and deeper into her Alzheimer's and dementia.What does it mean when someone says the body remembers, or what our memories exist for if the lived reality is one of losing those memories in every way possible?

I appreciate how Daisy's story is continuing the legacy of authors of Color who challenge the linear narrative. Yes, we follow her evolution from girlhood to adulthood, but we are not always on a straight or rigid path. We read a story that is complicated and layered. A story that is not going to easily fit into a linear western way of thinking and reading about time, place, space, love. Daisy introduces her experiences with Catholicism and Santería through her adolescence throughout the book. It is really not just a book, but a form of media where you go along with Daisy as she relays her experiences, almost as if she is interviewing herself. How certain memories lead to other stories that may not have taken place at the same time, but are vital to the story nonetheless.

What I am most looking forward to, and a part of her narrative that has yet to be discussed in the parts of the book I've read, are Daisy's discussions of sexual orientation. It is rare when we have a book that centers and discusses a Latina who identifies as a child of immigrants and bisexual that a leading publisher has supported. Daisy is continuing the legacy of those beloved queer authors of Color, paving a way for those of us to come, to share, and to build together. To expand and challenge the ideas folks have about bisexuality, love, intimacy, and life!

I shall update this when I have completed the book. In the meantime, the generous folks at Beacon Press have offered one free copy of Daisy's new book to a reader of The LatiNegr@s Project for Latinx Heritage Month. Visit us there to learn more about the amazing giveaways we have for celebrating all of us!

Author photo credit goes to Jorge Rivas. Cover art credit goes to Beacon Press.

Lesson 18: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

If there is a choice to be seen as right versus understood, the latter has more positive outcomes.

Life Lesson:

Because you already know what is right for you. Nobody can tell you otherwise if it is rooted in your beliefs and values. And then what? Being right doesn't always have it's advantages. For example, say you are having a discussion with supervisors. You know you are right about having and using more inclusive language. You know this is vital to reaching more populations. These folks don't understand why there is value. Don't internalize this as needing to prove you are right, go about it differently.

Instead of arguing to be right, make the points to be understood. Explain why inclusive language will have a positive impact. Be clear about what it means to be understood. If you strive to simply be right, what will happen next? If you want something specific to happen, such as change in language, being right doesn't mean that language change will occur.

It's a strategy. It's also a form of self-care in working situations where you don't get paid enough to be educating folks as your primary role. If what you need is to get things done, being right will not always have that outcome. Being understood may get you closer to what you need to have happen.

The outcomes you wish to have may not always manifest. This will happen especially when you are working within other organizations, especially those with funders and lots of rules and guidelines. To strive to be understood will open up an opportunity for you to understand where resistance and fear may lie with those you work with.

People don't always have the language to discuss a lot of what you are trying to do and the change you are seeking to create and be a part of in your communities. For this reason, you must go into some spaces seeking understanding because the language may not be present or available. Many folks have never heard of certain terms, and if they have they are loaded with so many stereotypes and myths and those create barriers.

You know what is right for you. There is no proof you must offer to demonstrate what you believe is right. Strive for being understood and you will be closer to building the communities, networks, spaces, and experiences you desire and deserve. This will also help you weed out folks who will be a drain and just take up space.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lesson 17: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Drink more water when it is available.

Life Lesson:

Seriously. You do so much talking, to not have a bottle of water that you may refill and reuse is ludicrous since you have water bottles you've gotten for free at events! You'll realize this the hard way, so just do it now before it gets too difficult! Water will save your life and change it at the same time.

When you start drinking more water you will feel a physical difference too. Not just a level of comfort, but the ability to continue to do your work in the ways you need. You'll feel more energized, not be as tired, and your body will not ache as much as you are used to feeling some times.

Ok, so you were not raised always drinking water, it was available, but it was not always drinkable from the tap as you were growing up. It's not ever drinkable when you are traveling to your homeland outside the US, and sometimes in most areas abroad. So this drinking water thing will be new to you, but the sooner you begin to do this the less negative and difficult experiences you will have as you do trainings and teach.

Plus, you are human. Our bodies need to be taken care of in specific ways and you are learning how to care for your body. Your body needs and wants water on a regular basis. You know what it's like to be deprived of something (a liveable wage, quality food to consume, transportation, healthcare, mentors, etc.) so when you have the ability to not continue that deprivation take it seriously! Just drink the water.

Imagine you are drinking something else if it's a challenge at first, chug that sucker down, feel the refreshing sensation, remember the times you wanted something and could not have it because it was not available and bask in the water you have access to consuming.

You also realize how water is connected to the lives and deaths of so many of the worlds populations. That one of the biggest issues facing us in the future is water availability. The drought going on in the western part of the US is just one sign of what is to come in this country. But don't wait for that, look to what is going on in other parts of the world where water is not available.

Access to water is essential. Just as you advocate for comprehensive sexuality education to include race, class, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, HIV status, disability, incarceration history, and the like, you see how vital water is as well. You don't need to always purchase bottled water, especially in the spaces you occupy most often, so consume it when it is free from the tap as often as you can.

Water is one of the many ways you need to be ready and prepared for what the future will bring. Go read Popular Science's issue on water when you need a reminder.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lesson 16: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Be careful and make conscious decisions about what organizations, people, spaces, and projects of which you will be affiliated.

Life Lesson:

Folks will exploit you. You may be the first LatiNegra they have ever encountered in the field, and they may want to use you to represent a "diversity" they are not committed to in any way. You may also interact with people who have a history of being oppressive and crappy to other people you care about.

Always research before committing. Ask those hard questions before, like "what are your policies and actions around outreach and maintaining a diverse and inclusive space?" Be ready for folks to come with a standard form response, and be ready to disengage. You don't ever have to endorse someone you don't believe is someone you would want to be affiliated with.

There are lots of folks who have great intentions and do crappy things along the way. It's up to you if you want to build with them. But what you have learned is that when you can't find the space and folks you wish to have around you, you build your own spaces and organizations.

It's also ok to leave those spaces and organizations you've left when the time has come. Those spaces need to grow and evolve just like you did when you created them. Having you in a leadership position isn't always the best thing for the organization or for you. Other folks will have a vision and the energy to push that space in a direction you may not be able to do or go. That is the gift you give those who come after you: a space to push in a new exciting direction.

Ask those hard questions and push folks who you are committed to building with. When people don't have a solid understanding of gender or are using gender specific language, and you believe this is something that impacts a person because of how they were created and born into this world: speak on it! If it is about cervical cancer, push to make language and spaces inclusive of everyone who was born with a cervix and push that org to do better, learn more, reach more broadly, and be more inclusive.

Do that work if you have the energy. Do the work you are dedicated to. Do not let the work run you over, suck you dry, manipulate you, or cause you continuous pain (because this path is painful at times, until you find your way and hold onto your convictions).

Folks need you to do this because you have the power you have and can use it with versus over other folks.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lesson 15: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

You know too well how poor folks rarely are ever granted privacy, for this you will honor it with yourself and those with who you interact.

Life Lesson:

You know this from personal experience. How you have to fill out your entire life on papers, give documents, fotos, have someone else stamp that you are who you say you are. Then give all of that to someone in a cubicle where another person in a similar situation is seated next to you doing the same thing to another worker.

You sit there explaining your life and your current experiences in a room full of cubicles to a worker who could help you get some type of healthcare help, food stamps, access to services, food banks, etc. But you always remember it's never private. You are never in a room with a closed door, never given the impression that you life, information, identity, will ever be treated with dignity, respect, or integrity.

That's why you choose to do things differently. That's why you choose to answer asks privately vs. publicly, why you keep your 'anon' feature on even with the hatemail you receive (always via anon), and why you remind folks that if they seem ready to share something and you are in a situation as a "mandated reporter" you stop them and tell them that so they can decide if that's what they want to still do: share with you.

In a world where folks talk a lot about their experiences online, and in the field you are in that is one way folks build networks and credibility to an extent (esp. when you can't get to a school or training or afford those things), you will choose not to always share or overshare. You will hold some things close to you and privately because you know you deserve that for yourself. You will do this with yourself, your community, your support systems; you do this because you find it is a survival skill. It's also a skill that you've evolved into the person you've wanted to be and have the relationships that you value enough to grant them privacy.

That's when you knew the boo was who you needed to be with at this time: you stopped telling folks everything, you held some things just between the two of you, other things you just told the ocean and water, because you wanted to hold them close to you.

You work to honor folks privacy. We rarely receive it especially as folks who are poor, queer, disabled, Black, immigrant, undocumented, non-English speaking, indigenous, young, incarcerated. We deserve privacy. You will work to make sure you can provide that to folks seeking your help, guidance, mentorship, resources, trainings, workshops, and the like.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lesson 14: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

The work that brings you the most pride and happiness will not always be shared among others who may consider other work you've accomplished as more important or impressive.

Life Lesson

You'll learn this primarily as you search for full-time work. When folks will ask you to give them examples of managing challenging situations or folks, the examples you will give will not be what they want to hear. For example, at the last full-time gig you had, you shared an accountability and responsibility process of which you are a part; one that was public, that was collective, and that connected to so much of what you value and believe in. You are so proud of that work, even if the outcome with the person held accountable did not happen on their end.

You were told that the process didn't matter, all the research, writing, documenting, conversations, building, negotiating, transparency, holding one another accountable in a loving and compassionate way because you are dealing with ways to deconstruct and destroy elitism, misogyny, and colorism. Instead, they will ask for an example of a challenge you dealt with in a *paid* position.

That's your first red flag. They don't value the work you do, all the work you do, that is unpaid or underpaid. Most of the work you are proud of is unpaid and underpaid.

Another example you'll give is when you created a curriculum for a non-profit you helped co-create with several of your local DMV homegirls of color. You created, at Tamika & Friends, Inc (the only national organization focusing on HPV and cervical cancer prevention and education targeting all genders and providing support to caregivers and survivors to.this.day), a curricula for HPV (House Parties of fiVe) parties. Along with one of your homegirls, you created an amazingly accessible curricula that folks used. It was nothing brand new, we just organized things in a particular way for the communities we are reaching out to at the moment.

That curricula was purchased by Merck Pharmaceuticals and used as examples of how to reach out to and engage communities of which you are a part. You learned through this experience that your work is sometimes best when it supports the community. You learned you don't need your name all over everything, you don't need to always get all the shine you think you deserve, that a lot of your work will benefit larger communities and that is enough.

Yet, other folks will be so impressed with this! And it will surprise you at first, but you'll learn it's what folks want to hear because they define success in ways you don't always. That's ok.

It's ok because you know that the work that brings you the most pride: the 20+ year mentorship you have with Candy, a young woman you met when she was in 1st grade and you in 10th; the accountability processes you've been a part of, the organizations you've co-created: Women of Color Sexual Health Network, The LatiNegr@s Project, your presenting at the World Association of Sexual Health (originally called Sexology)  in Havanac, Cuba, presenting in English and Spanish about your personal research and work on Latinxs and pregnancy prevention in the US in 2003; all the students you've impacted just by being on staff/faculty, but by also seeing them as public intellectuals who need support and are hungry for learning more; all the young people, people of Color, queer folks who find confidence and care in reaching out to you to help them cope and understand aspects of their sex/uality, bodies, health, and relationships.

So what you learn instead, is how to convey the stories folks want to hear more than any other when asked. You keep those other stories at the front of your mind because those are what drives you on a regular basis. Those are what is most important to you. And that's when you begin to realize working on your own terms is probably best.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lesson 13: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

You will not always tell folks you are a sexologist because you don't always want to work when you are out with your homies, or at a party.

Life Lesson:

Because once folks find out what you do all the questions roll in. You won't ever be able to have a "break" from your work and have some fun. You will constantly be "on" answering questions, correcting information, debunking myths, and challenging folks to push beyond binaries.

You get to chose when to do this. Sometimes it will be clear when you want to take a break versus when you want to work. You deserve a break. You deserve to not always work, for free at that! Folks at parties think this type of talk is fun, but for you it's your life's work. It's fun, sure, but sometimes you want to sit back and talk about something else!

Other times you may just sit quietly while others discuss sex/uality topics. This may be difficult if you hear misinformation. Eventually, your homies and support systems will recognize when you need a break, they will help protect and shield you from nonsense coming your way. They will understand why you may choose to be silent during such topics and conversations. Other times you'll have to remind them in case they forget. It's not personal, they are proud of you and want to brag about you to show their love and adoration for the work you do. Recognize that and hold onto it when you have the ability to.

Sometimes, being silent will work to your advantage because if you do choose to engage, folks will listen more intently. You will rock folks world when you share the knowledge you have. When you choose to of course. You will also learn a lot by listening to what others have to say. This is always important.

You decide what and how much you wish to share with folks. As a LatiNegra sharing personal experiences and realities give a different layer and complexity to your work. But it is also exhausting, revealing, and you deserve privacy and safety. 

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lesson 12: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

You have the capacity to see how sex/uality intersections with many different life experiences, theories, and systems. 


Life Lesson:

Not many folks have this gift. Others have similar gifts around other things like music, technology, color, energy, and the like. Yours is centered around recognizing this connection in sex/uality. It will impact the book clubs you join and the selections you suggest (Push by Sapphire; Quiet Violence of Dreams by Sello Duiker; No Mercy: Short Stories by Pat Califia), so much that you build your own "Sexy Bookclub" to read erotica and stories with a sex/uality theme. And folks will love it and miss it when you leave for NYC.

This gift is one that you will sometimes find exhausting. Why won't your brain stop making those connections? Why does it feel automatic at times? When will you ever rest? But you will learn how to rest while making these connections. It won't be a burden when you realize how it works in your favor and is not a distraction.

Recognizing this as a gift is one of the essential parts of maintaining this gift. Sure, it sounds fantastic to say the universe chose you for this gift, and it may be true. What is also true is that you are the one who knows how to nurture and maintain the gift. You are invested in this gift even when you are exhausted by having it.

This is why folks will ask for your opinion. This is why they will include you, seek you out, choose you to build a project or film or organization with: because of your gift. You won't ever realize it until one day your roommate says it as a compliment and your life will gain a bit more clarity when you recognize and embrace.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lesson 11: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

You have so much power you don't even realize it all, and maybe you wont, but you have more power than you can ever imagine!


Life Lesson:

That's why you are still here; doing this work; building this life and community. You belong here doing this right now. There are times when you know, by the way the creators have built you, that you have presence. Being 6ft tall, packing ass, big curly hair, freckles, skin that changes during the season, and a sense of style like no other. Your femme identity and representation already brings you attention and power.

But you don't always realize that power. But it is there. You have power when you walk into a room. Students connect with you, they see you as something they can trust because you look like a member of their community who has something important to share and build with them. Strangers on the subway and street look at you because you are stunning, confident, unashamed, unapologetic to take up space and be completely all you are.

You have power when you choose to treat folks well even when they don't treat you well. You have power when folks read the way you decor your body and even stare. You have power when you mirror back those rude stares that are not met with words. You have power when you are in public with your boo(s). You have power when you are at work, sending an email. YOU HAVE POWER.

Sure, that power shifts, but don't ever forget it is yours. You had power when you had a developed body at a young age and you misunderstood what to do with that power. You know better now and so you do things with a new consciousness and level of knowledge.

You have power and you must always choose to have power-with versus power-over; especially in the classroom or where you have power over others because of a hierarchy of which you have no control. You have power to not mirror that hierarchy in your daily interactions. There is no liberation or freedom in upholding power-over.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lesson 10: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

We do a lot of hard work quietly.

Life Lesson:

We've heard the Lorde quote "your silence will not protect you" often. Yet, what does silence represent sometimes? You've learned that silence may mean we are processing information, that we are considering all the options and alternatives. Silence does not always mean contempt or riding the fence.

Thinking is hard work especially as it is connected to un/learning! When your students sit quietly in class after you've asked a question and you give them time to think, that is ok. It doesn't mean all of them are not paying attention, some of them are thinking; doing that hard work. It's important to let folks know that silence is not something to be afraid of or think must always be filled.

Sure folks like to say a lively classroom discussion is important. But, when you are with 35 students who are taking their first college course, who could be 16, 17 years old; there's a lot that can be going on for them. It's the same for parents, providers, peer educators, educators and others you train or provide workshops to at various times.

There is often more than one "right" answer. Folks in the US are taught that there is often only one right answer, especially in a US school setting. However, reminding folks that there is more than one right answer for the questions you may be asking (i.e. 'what benefits may people enjoy by upholding a gender binary" or "how do begin to heal from the sexual shame we hold onto?").

When you were a student, you did not speak often, but when you did you had profound things to share. Folks really listened when you chose to speak to them. Oftentimes they were so struck by what you said and shared they didn't know how to respond but to say that they were thankful your comment was shared and it made them think. Silence doesn't always mean something negative. Silence is powerful, and it is important to keep in mind how you choose to use silence.

It's important to use silence in a strategic way. It is important to view silence as a tool many folks use to cope, heal, build, un/learn, focus, and transform.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com

Read all the lessons so far:

Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, Lesson 4, Lesson 5, Lesson 6, Lesson 7, Lesson 8, Lesson 9.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lesson 9: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

When faced with a challenge in your field and among your community, asking yourself: "what is really the most loving thing to do in this situation?*" may help give you an important perspective.

Lesson Learned:

This approach may not always work because the things you have to encounter and deal with are vast, oppressive, hurtful, and may shake you to your core. Yet, the importance in asking this of yourself is not only are you centering the love you are capable of, but you are reminding yourself to show yourself love and compassion in your thinking, moving, and interacting.

Putting yourself first is essential. You are not here to do this work because you do it for others. You do this work because this is where you feel full, free, and find the liberation you desire for yourself and your community. This is the work you choose to do because you feel in your body, mind, spirit, your being that this is the path you shall take right in this moment. Until those feelings vanish, that is what you will continue to do.

The work does not require you to do it without support, safety, or community. When the work becomes that, ask yourself "what is really the most living thing to do in this situation? If leaving the work is the most loving that is what you do. Because you must always center yourself and the love you have for yourself. You will love others in various ways for periods of time, or a lifetime. But that love of others never trumps the love of self.

You may realize you love your partners as much as you love yourself. That is a love that is scary at times, but it is the love that will ground you, hold you accountable, help you grow, build, and become who you see yourself being. That is the love to lean on and to build upon. Sometimes the most loving thing to do is leave, is dialogue, push, challenge, speak, be silent, move, be still, search, breath, dance, fuck, shift, hold, build, or be dramatic as you make your choice. People must see the dramatic love you are capable of even if they do not understand in that moment, or ever. (Thanks Erika Lopez for that reminder years ago about being dramatic, especially as a queer Puerto Rican woman)

When those anti-choice alumni at the college you teach at targeted you, came on your campus giving out flyers about you, compromising your safety, calling your home, demanding you be fired, going to your place of work and causing a scene. Basically risking your personal safety and career; you remembered those are the same folks who fall ideologically in line with the murderer of George Tiller, they do not care for or love you. They do not see you as valuable, they simply see you as a fat brown girl with big hair tarnishing the youth (of Color) you teach. They were scared. You were more scared. You cried alone in your home, you cried when you told the Chair of your department and President of the college how scared you were for your life, life's work, safety of yourself and students on an open campus where any one of them could walk about with a weapon and hurt you, or your students (the hurt your students would carry to witness you hurt in front of them, on their campus).

And holding that fear, sharing it with the people who were able to create safety for you (to an extent), was them showing you love and compassion. You holding onto all of that on your own, was not showing yourself love and compassion. The restraint to not respond to those horrid emails, phone calls, and articles about you was you demonstrating the love you have for yourself. Giving that burden to those who have more power in the situation and members of that spiritual belief system, was showing yourself love. And look what happened! (a forthcoming lesson).

When you center yourself, the love for yourself, everything else falls into place where it should be for you, your community, and the life and liberation you seek and work to create for yourself.

*This is a quote by Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, a religious leader who stands in solidarity with Ugandan LGBTQI people and was featured in the documentary about the colonization and impact US conservative Christian groups have on communities all over the world, especially in parts of Africa, "God Loves Uganda." Many folks have said similar things, but I was reminded of this saying while watching this film.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lesson 8: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

To have a community member "call you out"/hold you accountable it is a gift.

Life Lesson:

Lots of folks get caught up in a "call out culture" where some folks seem to be waiting for you to fuck up and blast you. This is not everyone all the time. But, when you are wrong, and you are held accountable, corrected, and have the opportunity to apologize and learn, take it! This is a gift of love, especially if it is by someone you know well, and most especially if it is by someone you do not know well.

Folks are hurt and oppressed in numerous ways. When you act in a way that maintains that oppression, hurt, and are told you actions have resulted in such pain; that is your opportunity to unlearn and make change. Take advantage and do the work.

Here's what has helped in the past:

You respond by saying "thank you," to the person/people who have held you accountable. You acknowledge the gift and what you have done wrong by saying "i appreciate you holding me accountable about what I did/said that resulted in xyz." You then you make your own plan to unlearn and you be transparent about that work. In the past what has helped is "I am going to leave this post for accountability purposes, I'd like to edit it with a link to what I plan to do in my un/learning process." Then you outline your un/learning process and hold yourself accountable. You then do what you say you will do. At times you may provide a public check in, or if folks inquire you share as much as is comfortable at the time. You end with saying "thank you" again. Sometimes you may repeat this lesson above in closing.

Without realizing it, folks will be paying attention to how you respond, what you say, and how you say it to the folks impacted. People will also appreciate witnessing your transparency. It will help some folks when they find themselves in similar situations. It will be helpful as a guide and reminder that they are not alone, the heat they may feel moving through their body, is not foreign, many have felt this and may feel this again.

You will then be able to provide the same accountability to others in your network. You will do so with compassion and from a place of love and respect. To realize that anger can manifest from love and respect is important to remember. You may say to folks "you did/said xyz and that is hurtful because it is xyz. When I am held accountable I remember it's from a place of love and respect and wish to mirror that in our exchange." This is what it may mean to stand in solidarity with people and groups of which you may not be a part but who too are working towards their own liberation.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lesson 7: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

What you write and create has value.

Life Lesson:

It may feel like folks don't ever read or engage with your work and with you unless it it so critique you. It may be true from time to time. That does not ever invalidate your body of work and creations. What you write, some may not read, others may, some may forget, others not ever want to know. But you know you wrote and created what you did and that is what is important.

Then, one day, someone will write you saying your creation or writing impacted them in some way. You won't expect it, you may view your work as old and may even see parts that you'd want to write or edit differently. Nonetheless, what you created was something folks appreciated. Even if just one person appreciated it, that's enough.

Then, on another day, you'll decide it's time. It's time to write more, write a book, create a film, write life lessons. You'll believe it's time to share some of what you've held onto and learned from, you'll recognize the dearth in the field and wish to fill it in new ways with new media. And you will do it. And it will fill you. And you won't care who does/not read or engage with what you create because you will learn that the folks who want what you have will find you and seek you out and build with you. And you will build with them. 

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lesson 6: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

There are supportive and helpful and genuine racially white people in the field. You have the right to be cautious, but know they do exist. Choose carefully who to build among.

Life Lesson:

This seems to be a bigger issue and topic than I can give this brief discussion on. Yes, there are solid and supportive racially white folks in each field. In the sexology field, one that is overwhelmingly racially white, it will be exhausting trying to figure out who to trust. When you reach your point of needing a break from racially white folks in the field, during that break is when the solid ones will appear.

They will appear slowly, you would have heard of them (of course), but many of them are just "discovering" you and your work; this says more about them as sexologists than it says about you as one. But then there are folks who you were trained alongside, and some of those folks will be, from the beginning, as honest, transparent, respectful, and divesting in oppression as you can imagine. You will value their input, friendship, and insight for the rest of your life.

You do not need to teach them anything, they will come knowing they have work to do. They will come into your life not to take, but to help support you when you need it the most. They will give you the push you need, or the name of their publishing agent, or a workshop opportunity, or mentorship, or simply their undivided attention and respect. You will come to recognize the difference between the racially white folks who are just talking the talk and you will know who is really invested in doing the work and walking the walk along side you, not leading you, but walking next to you, side by side.

They will give you the space, time, resources they can for you to do what you need to do. They will bear witness and be open to the unlearning process. They may be few, but they are more than enough!

The racially white folks you have encountered and built with who you would recommend:

Cory Silverberg
Judith Steinhart
Jini Tanenhaus 
Bethany Stevens
Jenny Bornstein

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lesson 5: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

The field in the US is very racially white. Changing that will mean expanding who is identified as a "sexologist" and you will embrace that expansion because it means inclusion.

Life Lesson:

Expanding who one identifies as a "sexologist" or even "sex educator" or "sex worker" can lead to inclusion. There are some folks who will not engage with "sexologist" and prefer "sex educator." Sex work as a term and identity marker will be one that folks will be drawn to if it encompasses their experiences. You will realize how each term speaks to what you have done and will do and your contributions.

When you realize that there are significantly more Black, Latinx, Asian, Native and multi-ethnic/racial sexuality educators who are being ignored by sexuality organizations, this will be your motivation to lean on the side of inclusivity. Think of all the HIV educators, testers, outreach workers; all the folks who do sexuality education in schools (regardless of how great or poor the curricula they use may be); the folks who work in medical care; who serve and help heal in traditional and non-traditional ways. We are all sexologists. Nobody's work is more important or valid than another. This will be a lesson you hold on to for the duration of your time in this life.

There is room for more people of Color in the US field of sexology. We are already doing this imperative work. We are not being paid well for the work, we are not receiving the attribution to do the work, but many of us choose to continue to do that work because it is with our own communities, families, and youth. We will do this work even with the poor pay, watching racially white folks get more shine, and our organizations get less funding. Our work will continue even if it is "underground" or subversive. Our work saves lives.

And when you are ready and have the energy you will create spaces for us to build community. Places like the Women of Color Sexual Health Network, Tamika & Friends, Inc., and The LatiNegr@s Project all will benefit from your expansion of the term "sexologist."

This will also be one important way to make the field accessible and inclusive to working poor and working class folks; to youth; and it will become the layered and complicated and dynamic field you always imagined you'd be a part of. You just didn't realize you'd play a role in creating that space, but the rewards are vast.

Sexologists of color are here, we exist, we do the work, much of the work others don't want to do or think they should not have to do because they have degrees or training or read certain books. Your definition of sexologist will push beyond that to include lived experiences, supportive networks, sharing of collective knowledge, and healing.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lesson 4: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

The US field of sexology was built on the bodies of enslaved Africans and indigenous people. You are not allowed to ever forget this.

Life Lesson:

Because so many others will forget, happily. They will forget and that erasure will seep into the work they do and it will continue to erase the humanity and needs of those who are most in pain, most under-resourced, most oppressed. You want nothing to do with that as your liberation is not rooted in the oppression of others.

Your sense of liberation is rooted in so many interconnected things and people and spaces. Oppression has no place. It will seem like a majority of your life's work will be in reminding folks of the fucked up ways this country has hurt and injured and built upon our bodies. That the least folks could do is take a moment, a breath, a thought, to let this soak in before making a move. There is healing in that work. There is also more pain. You decide how much you can endure and that is enough because your goal is to not forget and to act with integrity and humanity.

This will show in the work you do, the responses you make, the creations you build, the community that welcomes you, and the ways you use your body, voice. When others begin to remind folks of this reality and history, your work is still not done! There is space for everyone's reminders. There is space to push selective knowledge in a space that will not isolate or bring more pain.

And there will always be your work, because you've chosen to be transparent in your unlearning process. You work will be a part of a much larger movement and voice. Don't forget what you've said or written or done, even when others may. Sometimes they don't mean to, sometimes they don't have the same access, sometimes they didn't do the work to get there, sometimes they just don't know yet. Your work will always be here.

See what you've written:

An Open Letter to White People in the Sex/uality/Sexology Field

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lesson 3: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist

Lesson:

Your unlearning and learning process will be lifelong.

Life Lesson:

Yeah, folks say this all the time in some variiation, but what they don't say is that you won't be just learning new things, but you will be unlearning a majority of the white supremacist, colonizing, oppressive, and hurtful stuff the field in the US was built upon. Being trained by only racially white people in school, clinical settings, non-profit spaces, will be parts of your training. You do not have to hold on to all they teach you. Most of it is incorrect and wrong anyway. Especially the cultural parts.

Plus, things will change anyway. Language is alive, it will change and this you will learn. You will learn about new findings, new ways the body can heal, new forms of medication and prevention. But you will also have to unlearn all the ways you were told the body usually works. Those forms of training are cissexist, heterosexist, and guesses at best! You will learn folks bodies are not the same, no matter how much folks with MDs and PhDs say they are, and young people will lead this!

The unlearning is something that has been done in secret, a form of shame and embarrassment. But having survived more shame and embarrassment than other folks wish to even understand, you will know that sharing this unlearning process is imperative. Doing this publicly will be healing for you and others. It will be a good example of what is wrong with the field. It will help others come to understand their unlearning process. It will open you up to building connections and networks with folks who holding onto those ideas would push away and keep you isolated.

It will become a part of your integrity.

Unlearning is mostly uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to be painful. It won't be if you see it as a gift, a healing, a necessity. It is also collective and you are not doing it alone no matter how often it feels that way. Sometimes unlearning is the only option.

For inquiries or to hire bi visit her site or email bianca@biancalaureano.com