Friday, September 19, 2014

Lesson 5: Lessons Learned as a LatiNegra Sexologist


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.

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