Monday, September 29, 2014

Lesson 15: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist


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.

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