Bianca Laureano is an educator and activist who brings her experience as a black Latina into the whitewashed world of sexology. What does that mean? Basically, this Puerto Rican is examining the ways colonialism, white supremacy, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and ableism impact our sexuality and pleasure, and ensuring that the realms of sexual education and sexual health include those living on the margins.
Ahead, learn how this sex-positive Latinegra is working to dismantle the patriarchy by loudly, and unapologetically, discussing the ultimate hush-hush topics.
What does a sexologist do?
Sexology encompasses many fields, from the hard sciences to the soft sciences. I don’t work in the medical field. Rather, I do the more sociological work of sexology, particularly around education. In the past, I’ve led many sexual education courses and developed curriculums, lesson plans and workshops. Currently, I'm the director of education and regional programs at Scenarios USA, an organization using media to foster youth leadership, advocacy and self-expression.
What made you want to go into sexology?
I remember being in my junior year of high school and reading literature on Latinos, our cultural values and our high rates of unplanned pregnancies and HIV/AIDS. I mean, this was around the time when words like machismo and familismo were becoming paramount buzzwords that people were using, and I noticed that those using them weren’t from my community, so I instantly became suspicious. This wasn’t my experience. I’m a girl who grew up in Maryland, right outside of Washington, D.C., and my Puerto Rican family was one of the only families of color in my area. My mother worked, and my father was a stay-at-home parent. This was how we survived. And that story was absent from this research, so I wanted to do that. I wanted to give a more varied narrative of what was happening in Latino communities, particularly highlighting the experiences of Caribbean folks, as that's what was most absent from the research.
In many ways, you are doing this through the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN). Can you tell us about this network and why you helped co-found it?
I started in the field 20 years ago, and it was very color-free. I mean, it still feels color-free these days, but you see more black and brown folks now. But, earlier on, I was the only person of color in my courses, and it also didn’t take me long to realize that I was the only person of my graduating cohort – who went on to pursue sexology – to not be given book deals, media appearances and the likes. My career didn’t take off in the way that everyone else’s did, and, as the only woman of color, I couldn’t help but see the connection.
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