Sex and Self event covers decolonization and destigmatizing Black sexuality

Content Warning: Sexual violence, racial violence, intergenerational trauma, slavery

Sex & Self, a sexual education organization at McGill, hosted the virtual seminar “Decolonizing and Destigmatizing Black Sexuality” on Feb. 21. This seminar was the second installment of their Black History Month “Facing the Facts” series, and featured Jet Setting Jasmine, a clinical therapist and co-owner of Royal Fetish Films, and King Noire, fellow co-owner of Royal Fetish Films. The event was co-hosted by Chelsea Martin, co-founder of Toronto’s Manifesto, an organization seeking to uplift Black and Indigenous communities, and Felicia Gisondi, U3 Education and founder of Sex & Self.

The panellists explored a wide array of topics, including white supremacy, systemic racism, and the history of the hyper-sexualization of Black individuals. All the proceeds raised from the event were donated to the BIPOC Adult Industry Collective, an organization that aims to support BIPOC adult performers and make the adult entertainment industry a safe space.

King Noire began the discussion by noting how diverse ideas about gender, sexuality, and sexual liberation have existed for generations in Africa before European colonization in the late 19th century.

“It is important to note that [in the] civilizations across the continent of Africa, there were many different forms of sexual orientation and ideas of gender,” King Noire said.

King Noire explained the term post-traumatic slave syndrome (PTSS) to the audience, leading into a discussion about how slavery has directly led to the hyper-sexualization of Black individuals. PTSS is a theory that explains the adaptive survival behaviours of Black communities as a consequence of the multigenerational effects of centuries of enslavement.

Jasmine then shared her own interactions with policing and experiences of systemic racism within the adult entertainment industry, noting how certain forms of pornographylike police pornreinforce negative stereotypes and contribute to the eroticization and fetishization of Black individuals.

“[Police porn] really is a mockery, because there is no resolve,” Jasmine said. “You’re not telling a historical thing that used to happen, you are selling our reality as entertainment, [and] normalizing it by either making it funny or sexualized.”

Jasmine emphasized the importance of reframing sex to be more pleasure-centred for Black individuals. King Noire and Jasmine currently facilitate fetish training and host workshops on a variety of topics, including sex-positive parenting, the importance of consent, and how to stay safe in the sex industry.

“A major key to Black sexual liberation is about us finding pleasure-centred sex,” Jasmine said. “[There are] no models through history of pleasure-centred sex, [since] everything has been done for the utilization of our oppressor. [The key] is allowing Black and Brown people to […] reconnect to spirituality, which was pleasure-centred sex, and the pre-colonial ways in which we connect to our bodies.”

King Noire also spoke about his efforts to steer the porn industry away from the white cis male gaze and the racial stereotyping that the industry perpetuates. His work aims to create a safe space for Black individuals to explore all kinds of fetishes, sexualities, and gender identities.

“What we’ve been working to do is […] to give a voice to Black sexuality and its ranges, [and show] just how broad the spectrum is,” King Noire said.

Gisondi hopes that the event’s in-depth discussion on the intersections of race and sexuality will ignite further conversations and see more people understand their own sexuality. 

“Too many individuals lack a basic understanding of their own sexuality,” Gisondi wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. “By providing folks with the historical understanding of how sexuality and race are intertwined, a new dimension to our participants’ understanding of modern-day sexuality in the anti-racist context was achieved.”

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the proceeds of this event went to BIPOC Project. In actuality, the proceeds went to the BIPOC Adult Industry Collective. The Tribune regrets this error.

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