Hey, Hey, it's Chanté, the new curator for Sexuality in Color!

sexuality in color: writing outside the lines at scarleteen (abstract image)Hey! I'm Chanté Thurmond, and I'm the new curator of the Sexuality in Color blog, as well as Scarleteen's Growth and Advancement Advisor. Before I share a quote that's been in my heart lately, and a shortlist of a few exceptional PoC who consistently add value to the culture and to their respective communities, I want to share a brief backstory about my journey to Scarleteen.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I had the great fortune of meeting (and befriending) the infamous Heather Corinna, Scarleteen's founder, at an annual Teenwise conference in the Twin Cities. We became instant pals -- the two of us bonded over our shared passion and commitment to working in partnership with young people. We shared a belief that youth and emerging adults have the power to tap into their collective genius (whenever they want) and they, not adults, are the gurus of their own bodies, minds and hearts. And eventually we discovered that despite our superficial differences (like our age, race, ethnicity or zip codes), Heather and I share similar stories of origin -- we are both the firstborn child to young parents. Throughout the years, we've also come to realize that while our stories seem to have run parallel at multiple times, there are points of divergence (like our gender identities, our sexualities, our values or adopted philosophies). Either way, our respective paths have unfolded to complex intersectional identities that we inherited from our diverse, immigrant families and environments.

I think it's super important to recognize that we're all living intersectionally. Whether we name it or not, we each bring some kind of bias, privilege or cultural lens to the conversations and relationships we have -- be it IRL or virtually. So, while Sexuality in Color is curated by me -- a proud person of color (PoC) -- I won't ever claim to speak on behalf of ALL PoC. My experience is simply one of many.

Our histories never unfold in isolation. We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories without knowing the other stories. And often we discover that those other stories are actually our own stories. - Angela Davis

More and more, I'm reminded just how intersectional we all are, even among biological siblings who've lived with the same parents in the same house. For instance, what is offensive to me as a Black Latinx, cisgender millennial woman may not be so for my younger sister, who identifies the exact same way. Whenever we do have differences of opinions, I don't find it productive to debate how or why. I've come to feel it's much more helpful if we simply acknowledge and accept that while we're the same, we're extremely different and it's perfectly okay.

Anyway, here's the shit I really need to talk about: lately, I've been post-traumatically triggered by violent images and language hijacking my social media channels, group chats, radio and television. Most recently, and so sadly, this has come from so many things I've seen on #BlackTwitter. The back and forth banter within our tribe has been going from zero to 100, real quick. It's been everything from: R. Kelly, Michael Jackson, relentless anti-abortion trolls, stonings in Brunei and the pervasive misogyny from Silicon Valley to DC.

The one that really broke my spirit is the tragic murder of Nipsey Hussle. Every time I think about the love and loss his partner, Lauren London, is living through, I experience a profound spiritual heaviness. Maybe it's because I sincerely appreciated their positive display of Black love and excellence. Maybe it's because Nip strongly resembles my partner, or because I know deep down inside this hit way too close to home. Gun violence is a pervasive public health issue within our community that cannot be ignored, one of many on the long list of traumas that we as people of color suffer.

Whenever I find myself feeling sad, lost or disconnected from my culture, I do a little life hack that I want to share.
I've created several curated lists of folks who share my values or who are adding something positive to the culture. When Twitter and Instagram feel like much too much, I immediately go to my short list of inclusionary voices.

Here are six gems I want to shout out for being strong, vibrant voices who consistently show-up and add value to the collective community. Thank you in advance for being great examples of how to effectively use your influence and position of power to clap back and reclaim our power as PoC. I see you and I appreciate you.

Short List of Sexuality In Color Badasses You Should Know
  • Ericka Hart - Queer, Poly, Sex Educator who is  a proud cancer survivor. Unapologetic Black Activist (on and offline) who calls a spade a spade.
  • Twitter: @iHartEricka
  • Website: www.ihartericka.com
  • Zach Stafford - Young, Black Unicorn on the fast track to owning the LGBTQ media & tech star space! Currently EIC of The Advocate; Previously Chief Content Officer of Grindr.
  • Twitter: @ZachStafford
  • Annie Segarra (aka Annie Elainey) - Queer, Disability Advocate and Latinx who is the definition of intersectionality! And don't forget successful YouTube content creator and artist!
  • Twitter: @annielainey
  • Blair Imani - Black, Queer and Muslim Activist turned Author. Maybe you've heard of her, maybe you haven't?! If you're looking for a young, inspiring PoC who can make you laugh, cry or march, click here!
  • Twitter: @BlairImani
  • C. Riley Snorton - Black, Queer, Transgender Author and Professor (English and Gender and Sexuality Studies) at the University of Chicago
  • Books: Black On Both Sides (2017) and Nobody is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low (2014)
  • Twitter: @Crileysnorton
  • Britteney Black Rose Kapri - Chicago-based Author and teaching artist for Young Chicago Authors. Her bio on her website is probably the best I've seen yet: Pro Black. Pro Queer. Pro Hoe. | I write shit. I talk shit. I teach shit. (I'm jealous af of that copy!!)
  • Book: Black Queer Hoe (2018)
  • Twitter: @BlkRseKapri 

From my heart to yours; thank you.