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sexuality in color

Connecting with WOC and Sexuality

Ever since puberty, I found my body to be a site of shame, something I desperately wanted to escape.

A transplant to predominantly white Catholic schools on Long Island, I was immediately deemed ugly. I had an older sister, but we were close enough in age that we were navigating puberty around the same time. As second-generation daughters of immigrant parents, we were on our own as far as navigating the personal and social meanings of our bodies.

A lot of hurdles were awkward for me. I grew flustered and self-conscious when relatives felt no qualms about making unsolicited comments about my body.

“You’ve got boobs now,” an aunt told me bluntly when I came over with my mother once. How could she mention them? I was mortified.

I could avoid it for a while by wearing starchy undershirts under my school blouses, but soon, I couldn’t hide my growing breasts anymore. I crossed my arms over my chest in an attempt to hide my nipples as they showed through my shirt, but I might as well have be

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Rape is Rape: Lebanon Edition

In Lebanon (or at least, in Beirut) the joke is that it is equally likely to see a woman in a mini skirt as it is to see a woman in a hijab.

In Lebanon (or at least, in Beirut), European tourists feel at ease that the Lebanese still speak a post-colonial French, and let Beirut be called the Paris of the Middle East.

In Lebanon (or at least, in Beirut), tourists and Lebanese alike flock to the beaches and the nightclubs, openly drinking alcohol, smoking hookahs, and belly dancing to both popular western and Arabic music, creating a strange moment that many see as cultural influence, and many others see as cultural infiltration.

Still—despite the post-colonial familiarity and acceptability of Lebanese culture—Lebanese women remain in many ways decorative objects, openly ignored, slighted or discriminated against in legislation. In Lebanon, a woman cannot pass on her Lebanese nationality to her children. In Lebanon, a woman is not protected from domestic abuse—because the law does not re

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How I Learned About Lube

When it comes to sex and sexuality, I was a very, very, very late bloomer.

Raised in a Pentecostal Christian home where sex and sexuality were rarely discussed beyond, "No sex until you are married," as a teen I assumed I would not have sex until my early- to mid-twenties, after I had finished undergrad.

I assumed any boys/men I met would share my religious beliefs about sex. I assumed my values would never change. And I assumed my husband and I would know how to sexually please one another, in spite of having no sexual experience before our wedding night (which, of course, would be a night of unbridled passion and ecstasy).

Sacrificing a little sexual pleasure in my teens and early twenties would be a small price to pay to have a church-sanctioned outlet for my sex drive before I was past 25, 30 at the latest. Besides, I had heard so many stories about the pain and bleeding of first intercourse, and the mere thought of being an unwed mother (does anyone even use that term anymore?

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How are we supposed to know what’s wrong if we don’t know what’s right?

Sade is 17 and works as a youth activist for YWCHAC, a program for and by young women of color that helps foster their development in advocacy training while providing them with the skills to be effective peer-educators to youth on the subject of sexual health. Their mission is to address the increasing rates of HIV infection in young women of color ages 13-24. Sade does a lot of community outreach and events that help develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that have similar goals, events like annual sexual health summits, safer sex education parties, advocacy and STD (STI) workshops, and other community projects.

I got the chance to ask Sade about what she does, why she does it, and what she thinks about some of the issues that impact HIV and young women. I've shortcut my own questions to give her words the spotlight, because she's got some phenomenal things to say that so many people really, really need to listen to.

On what she wants people to know about young wome

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No, you CAN'T touch my hair.

I grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis Missouri in a mostly white neighborhood. One of the first things I noticed was that my hair was different.

My fellow students would run their hands through their hair, flip it from side to side or pull it back into ponytails. Their hair moved... my hair didn’t move. If I pulled it back in a ponytail it stayed in a ponytail even after I removed the hair clip. I wore my hair in braids – no flipping or fluffing for me. Sometimes I wore Afro puffs, but my usual style was two braids that came together in the back.

In grade school folks used to tease me about my hair just because it was different. I was the only black girl in class and my peers considered being different a bad thing – they teased me about my dark skin and full lips and made fun of my Afro puffs. I grew to resent the things that made me different and hated my hair. Girls would ask if they could touch my Afro puffs and it felt as if I were some sort of exotic animal at the zoo they want

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Meet the New Editor of Sexuality in Color!

My name is Pamela and I’m thrilled to join the Scarleteen family as Editor of the Sexuality in Color section!

A little bit about me – I am a Black woman living in the Midwest with two fantabulous sorta-beagles. I’ve blogged at my personal blog, AngryBlackBitch.com, for over five years. I’m also a contributor to Feministing and Shakespeare’s Sister and a staff writer for RH Reality Check.

Sexuality in Color will cover everything from coming out as a LGBTQ person of color, film and pop culture, reproductive health care and everything in between. The goal of the Sexuality in Color section is to discuss, debate and educate each other.

I look forward to getting to know Scarleteen readers and encourage y’all to send questions and comments to me at pamela@scarleteen.com. If you’d like to write a piece for the section, please contact me directly – we’re always looking for guest writers!

Thanks and let’s jump right in…

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Queering Sexuality in Color: Dharshi

Today we have one more another installment of our first-person profiles of queer people of color. If you're queer and of color, we're hoping this series can illuminate some of your own diversity, allow you to feel less isolated and know you're not alone. Queer youth (and queer people on the whole) are often isolated. That isolation hurts and can and does do very real damage. LGB young people who are also oppressed, marginalized and rendered doubly invisible because of race tend to face even greater challenges and isolation.

No matter who you are or what your deal is, we think you'll find these profiles challenge many perceptions and may make you reconsider or refine ideas or questions about orientation and race. It can also help you and others grow your compassion and your care, better understanding that every kind of marginalization and oppression both does very real harm and always has the capacity to do so, especially if it goes unseen and unheard.

Dharshi, 25

Color/race you are/id

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Queering Sexuality in Color: Corinne

Here's another installment of our first-person profiles of queer people of color. If you're queer and of color, we're hoping this series can illuminate some of your own diversity, allow you to feel less isolated and know you're not alone. Queer youth (and queer people on the whole) are often isolated. That isolation hurts and can and does do very real damage. LGB young people who are also oppressed, marginalized and rendered doubly invisible because of race tend to face even greater challenges and isolation.

No matter who you are or what your deal is, we think you'll find these profiles challenge many perceptions and may make you reconsider or refine ideas or questions about orientation and race. It can also help you and others grow your compassion and your care, better understanding that every kind of marginalization and oppression both does very real harm and always has the capacity to do so, especially if it goes unseen and unheard.

Corinne, 25

Color/race you are/identify with: Bla

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Queering Sexuality in Color: Ellaris

Time for another installment of our first-person profiles of queer people of color. This one is from someone older than the age group we serve at Scarleteen, but who came into hir sexual identity at 20. I think it's valuable to have a look at someone with more years to process all of these issues than our readers have usually had.

Again, even if you're not of color and queer, not LGB or not of color, we think it's vital to cultivate an awareness of what it means to be not just a member of one of those groups, but of both. If you are queer and of color, what we're hoping this new series can do is help illuminate some of your own diversity, allow you to feel less isolated and know you're not alone. Queer youth (and queer people on the whole) are often isolated. That isolation hurts and can and does do very real damage. LGB young people who are also oppressed, marginalized and rendered doubly invisible because of race tend to face even greater challenges and isolation.

No matter who you

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Queering Sexuality in Color: Maalik

Time for another installment of our first-person profiles of queer people of color, this one from a young man who talks very candidly about being on the down-low, masculinity and race.

Again, even if you're not of color and queer, not LGB or not of color, we think it's so important to cultivate an awareness of what it means to be not just a member of one of those groups, but of both. If you are queer and of color, what we're hoping this new series can do is help illuminate some of your own diversity, allow you to feel less isolated and know you're not alone. Queer youth (and queer people on the whole) are often isolated. That isolation hurts and can and does do very real damage. LGB young people who are also oppressed, marginalized and rendered doubly invisible because of race tend to face even greater challenges and isolation.

No matter who you are or what your deal is, we think you'll find these profiles challenge many perceptions and may make you reconsider or refine ideas or quest

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Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.