During the month of November, the Women’s Health Team hosted the second Queer Women’s Empowerment Series, a workshop series that supports the health of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer women. In collaboration with Sister 2 Sister, Good Vibrations, and the Network/La Red, the series connected about 60 community members to resources around sexual health, healthy relationships, and resiliency building. The Women’s Health team also hosted the workshops in Roxbury to serve LGBTQ people of color at Dudley Café.
The first workshop featured Felice Lopez, the Lead Sex Educator Sales Associate at Good Vibrations, an inclusive education based retailer providing sex-positive products and non-judgmental, accurate and trusted sex information at its Brookline and Cambridge locations. She led a session on “Queer Sex: Communication, Consent, and Pleasure” and provided community members with resources to navigate safer sex conversations, introduce safer sex practices with pizzazz, and communicate sexual desires.
The second workshop utilized writing as a form of self-care to address the violence and trauma against queer and transgender bodies of color. Black Venus, a multidisciplinary artist, community organizer, and The Theater Offensive’s 2017 OUT’Hood Artist in Residence, led the workshop “Self-Care Rituals Writing to Reclaim.” They introduced writing and self-care rituals as tools for healing, empowering, and reclaiming our bodies.
The Network La Red (TNLR), a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in LGBTQ, BDSM, and polyamorous communities, led the last workshop “Healthy Relationships: Bae, Amorcitos, Hook-Ups, Oh My!” TNLR staff members led a dialogue on how community members connect in relationships, whether in a friendship, casual hook-up, committed relationship, or with ourselves. Attendees discussed relationship myths and boundaries and created a vision for their own relationships.
Attendees walked away with resources as well as a sense of community. One attendee said, “Thank you for having this series. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a queer women sex ed type community event around here that’s fun and casual.” Another person acknowledged that “safer sex includes emotional and mental safety and it’s important to have the talk with yourself.” For the writing workshop, audience members walked away with a sense of empowerment; one individual wrote that “with my healing spell, I remember that I’m loved and worthy of love.” The healthy relationships reinforced the need to create healthy boundaries in relationships. An audience member noted that “it is normal to need to think through and process whether or not a boundary needs to be set or if it could shift.”
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