AASECT Certified Educator Spotlight - Bianca I. Laureano, MA, CSE
AASECT Certified Educator Bianca I. Laureano, MA, CSE answers a few questions for the Certified Educator Spotlight:
1. Can you give us a quick rundown of what keeps you busiest these days?
I am the Director of Education at Scenarios USA where I write curricula that centers student written and Hollywood directed short films. I then train educators on how to implement the curriculum with their youth. When I’m not working my full-time job I am co-managing the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN).
2. Why was it important to you to become AASECT Certified?
I’ve sought AASECT certification for eight years, but was often unable to afford the fees associated with membership and certification. I saw AASECT certification as a way to help expand my interdisciplinary and intersectional sexuality education. Today, after crowdsourcing from many AASECT certified people to cover certification costs, I see my AASECT certification as one skill and resource I am able to offer other women and people of color coming into the field seeking mentorship, support, and resources, and hopefully by the end of 2016, supervision.
3. What are your main areas of interest within the field? What would you consider your special niche?
My focus has been on inclusive curricula and sexuality education. Prior to the national focus of including LGBTQ communities into curricula, I was doing this. Prior to the focus on gender-specific information, or including all aspects of our lives; race, class, gender, immigration status, interactions with the police, these were the curricula and lesson plans I was already creating for the communities of which I am a part. All of my speeches, trainings, writings, and skillshares have been rooted in including all aspects of who we are, what we bring with us, and how we move through the world. My niche is representing the lived realities of communities of color, working poor and working class communities, queer youth, and immigrant families. In short, the experiences I had in my community that are rarely included in sexuality education.
4. What do you like the most about the field at this point?
I appreciate how open the field is to change and inclusion. This was not my experience when I first came to the field in 1996 or again in 2000 when I entered a master’s degree program in Human Sexuality at NYU. There are still folks who resist change and wanting to see a more inclusive representation because it takes hard work and a divestment in ways that have shown they do not result in positive outcome or change. I appreciate this shift and I expect it to be more intentional and impactful by the end of 2016.
5. What would you like to be known for within the field of human sexuality?
I want to be known as someone who created space for those who were not always welcome to join the US Sexuality field. I want to be known for being unapologetic about ending white supremacy in our field and for centering the pleasure and experiences of women of color.
6. Do you have any tips that might be of interest to educators, counselors and/or therapists?
Read YA literature. Read what youth write. I have discovered that unless people center the experiences of young people they often forget what it may have been like to be young, to have had certain experiences. This is a totally different world from the one I grew up in and I learn and discover so much about adolescence today by reading what young people share and have to say. Read YA by people of color, there’s more out there than you think like Jacqueline Woodson’s work, her latest book “Brown Girl Dreaming” won the National Book Award, Coretta Scott King Award, and is a Newbery Honor Book is a great place to begin. Next try Sofia Quintero’s work especially what she penned under the name Black Artemis. I’ve taught her books in many of my classes because they touch upon so many topics relevant to the sexual lives of communities of color.
Also, if you are attending AASECT conference this year, read up on the history and current status of Puerto Rico. Read more points of view, even the most controversial ones like those of Nelson A. Denis and Pedro Albizu Campos. If you want a good historical overview of sexuality topics in Puerto Rico read Eileen J. Suárez Findlay’s book “Imposing Decency: The Politics of Sexuality and Race in Puerto Rico, 1870-1920” or look up the early work of social worker Nilsa Burgos who wrote one of the first peer reviewed journal articles on the history of sexuality on the island dating back to Taino practices. If you are into psychology, look into the work of Puerto Rican psychologist and LatiNegra Lillian Comas-Díaz. There’s no reason to be an under-educated tourist and conference participant with four months to read up on my homeland!
7. Is there anything else you would like to share with colleagues?
I’ll be at the AASECT Conference along with several WOCSHN members, so stop by and say hello! I’ll be leading two workshops, one on centering young Black femmes in the sexuality education classroom and the other on the impact of colorism in the US sexuality field with WOCSHN co-founder Trina Scott.