I write about many things that, at first glimpse, might seem conflicting—and, you are correct, they very much are. They are the woes with which I grapple at a spiritual, personal, clinical, and academic level. First and foremost, as a therapist, I write about the beauty and necessity of the holistically transformative and liberating power of the aligned therapeutic relationship. I also write about hell. I write about the cult of white supremacy and its perpetuation of genocide. In much of my writing and my dissertation, I intentionally center those who identify as Black Femmes, Black Women, and Black Transgender Women.
My dissertation explores the intergenerational effects of slavery and genocide on the sexual embodiment and pleasure of Black women. Gender-based and sexualized violence are very deliberate tactics often employed in the crime of genocide. Hence, my work explores the targeting of the groups above and explicitly names these tactics as contributing factors to the ongoing inter-generational genocide against us. Self-perpetuation of genocide is neither conscious, nor does it occur without a great deal of assistance from external forces. Therefore, the ways in which this is internalized and manifested by targeted communities should not be pathologized. To that end, my research aims at holding accountable the scholars and clinicians who engage in pathologizing of Black folx and, in doing so, become violently complicit in harming Black lives.
Once a group is targeted and made to blame for their oppression, the perpetuation of genocide is made possible by creating social, political, and behavioral mayhem in the areas of reproductive justice, rights, and options; sexual orientation freedoms and protections; access to appropriate and responsive medical intervention; and the policing of gender expression as it relates to wellness, safety, and vitality—to name just a few external factors.
My goals in completing my dissertation are: 1) to center the genocide of Black folx in the United States within dominant academic discourses of sexuality, and 2) to urgently call for an overhaul of clinical interventions that are rooted in structural violence and perpetuate clinical racism. Nowhere else is the silencing of this genocide more palpable than in the white classroom walls of the Ivory Tower and even in therapy spaces. Hence, I assert that Academia is complicit in perpetuating genocide. In my role as a Human Sexuality Ph.D. student, I aim to confront those in the fields of physical, mental, emotional, and sexual health—who are actively engaging in harming our communities (whether consciously or otherwise)—and aim to push them to analyze power and privilege, their research methods and tactics, and their interventions.
Upon completion of my dissertation, I aim to disseminate my research through academic publications and lectures, to provide workshops and other forms of professional development for clinicians across the U.S. Components of my work will also continue to explore clinical intervention techniques that address transgenerational complex trauma, ethnocide, and genocide and its effects on sexuality, pleasure, desire, affirmation, and embodiment across gender and sexual orientation. Ultimately, it is my goal to bring into the sexuality studies discourse the conversation of unlearning miseducation, undoing the impacts of transgenerational trauma, and push for the humanizing and reclamation of Black bodies, minds, and souls.
1 “In using the term, “Black woman,” I am referring to African American women for whom the history of chattel slavery in the Americas has produced the socio-historical conditions that uniquely inform Black female subjectivity and sexual politics” from Cruz, A., The Color of Kink: Black Women, BDSM, and Pornography, (New York University Press: New York), 228. In using the term, “woman,” I aim to include the voices of those who uses the term to describe an aspect of their gender identity or expression regardless of sex assigned at birth. 2 See von JoedenForgey, E. (2010). Gender and genocide. The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies. Oxford University Press and von Joeden-Forgey, E. (2012). Gender and the future of genocide studies and prevention. Genocide Studies and Prevention, 7(1), 89-107.