NSEC Workshop Title: Using Media in the Social Justice Classroom: Centering Black Trans Youth.
NSEC Workshop Description: This workshop will feature one of Scenarios new short youth written Hollywood directed film House Not Home, about a young Black gender fluid teenager. Participants will watch film and do activities created from the REAL DEAL curriculum that center themes in the film. Media Literacy and valuing Black transgender youth is core to this workshop.
Can you tell us a little about who you work with, and what issues you are most interested in?
BL: I began working at Scenarios USA as the Director of Education & Regional Programs in December 2014. My work in sexuality education and interdisciplinary studies for almost 20 years led me to Scenarios Films, which I have used in my middle, high school, and college classrooms for over a decade. Scenarios, a non-profit organization in NYC was founded in 1999. We use writing and film to foster youth leadership, advocacy, and self-expression among youth across the country. We do this through our REAL DEAL curricula, youth-written and Hollywood directed films, website blog posts written by youth, and our Media Corps digital youth activism branch.
As the Director of Education & Regional Programs, I support and manage the Education side of Scenarios, which includes the creation of our curricula, training of educators, conference presentations, and consultation during filming. Our curricula, which are inquiry-driven, project-based learning, rooted in social emotional learning competencies, and aligned with the Common Core State Standards for ELA, are also a collaborative effort with young writers, educators, and community partners. The new curriculum we recently completed (available for purchase August 31, 2015 for $309, and FREE to educators in NYC, Cleveland, OH, and Chicago, IL if they agree to implement the curriculum in Fall 2015) is What’s the REAL DEAL about Love and Solidarity? and centers our three new youth-written, Hollywood directed films: Veracity, Aleah, and House Not Home, which is part of the workshop I will be doing at the National Sex Ed Conference.
I’m most interested in topics and work that center queer and trans young people of color (QTYOC). As a queer femme of color, I know what fair and inclusive representation means and what it can do in affirming our experiences and in saving our lives. I choose to be a part of manifesting those representations and opportunities for our QTYOC, and to be led and mentored by them. My entire career in the education and sexuality fields has also been to challenge and destroy the white supremacy that permeates all levels of QTYOC and people of colors’ lives, especially in systems of education, juvenile justice, and healthcare.
When you meet someone new how do you describe what you do?
BL: I share with folks that I am a sexologist and educator working at a media making and media justice organization that centers under-resourced youth. If folks have more questions (they usually do!) I provide more information, but this is my “elevator pitch.”
What about your workshop are you most excited about?
BL: I’m most excited to create a workshop experience that centers Black queer and trans youth experiences, voices, and work. Sharing the vision and work of youth writer, Skyler Edge, the brilliant performances in the film House Not Home, lessons, and activities we created with Skyler to include in the REAL DEAL curriculum, drives the workshop. House Not Home features the story of Terran, a young Black trans feminine person living in Cleveland, OH. Skyler’s film centers the experiences of what many of our Black trans and gender fluid youth must survive, and is a call to action, just as the REAL DEAL curriculum, for us as adults, educators, and those standing in solidarity with Black queer and trans youth.
Sex educators and the other professionals who present at the National Sex Ed Conference often do so many different things. Tell us a bit about your work life.
BL: I do a lot of networking, writing, and speaking/training with Scenarios, which is something I’ve done for decades. In May 2015, I ended a 7-year professorship at a private college in NYC, where I taught upper-level sociology courses in human sexuality; women, art, and culture; theories and movements by radical women of color; and introductory courses. I am a founding member of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN), which centers the work (and hiring of) women of color in the sexuality and sexology field. I also am on the board of CLAGS the City University of New York’s LGBT Center, the oldest LGBT Center at a college/university in the US, and The Black Girl Project, an educational organization centering young Black girls and hosts the Sisterhood Summit in NYC. This year marks my seventh year with Love Heals’ Speakers Bureau where we provide HIV and AIDS education and prevention information to youth in NYC schools. I am also the founder of The LatiNegrxs Project, a digital resource and educational tool to increase representations of Black identified Latinxs, guided by the work of young LatiNegrxs using the Tumblr platform. This work led to my creation of The LatiNegrxs Sex Survey almost 3 years ago, the first of its kind, where I am collecting the experiences of LatiNegrxs and what we need regarding our sexual health and sexuality information. Finally, I host LatinoSexuality.com an online resource for Latinxs. I am also a dope karaoke performer, friend, lover, femme elder, and auntie.