Let’s talk about sex and sexuality

Members of the disabled and gay communities will talk about sex and sexuality when they gather for an open discussion dubbed, “The Sex Shop” on Saturday August 15 at the Spirit Bond Mall, Wharf Road, The City.

The event, which is being presented as an opportunity to share the “vast” information surrounding sex, is being organized by the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA), the Barbados Council for the Disabled and private partners.

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(From left) Executive director of the Barbados Family Planning Association Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland, Ro-Ann Mohammed, Co-director of the Barbados and Lesbians Against Discrimination (BGLAD), Co-coordinator Leigh-Ann Worrell, Youth Development Officer and social worker with the BFPA Keriann Hurley, member of the Barbados Council for the Disabled Rose-Ann Foster Vaughn and adult sex educator Juliette Maughn, discussing the upcoming sex shop.

Keriann Hurley, youth development officer and social worker with the BFPA, admitted that the name of the event was controversial and could upset religious leaders. However, she said the issue was beyond religion.

“It is an opportunity to learn. It is an opportunity to be exposed to other concepts and other thoughts and other persons’ experiences and what they are going through as they live their lives in their own individuality, and you take what’s for you,” Hurley said.

Co-coordinator Leigh-Ann Worrell said there was need for a broad and candid discussion on sexuality in Barbados, including abstinence and celibacy, particularly as it related to the so-called minority groups.

“We are not closing the door to any kind of expression of your sex and your self because of the morals that you would have been exposed to because of Christianity. We are just asking for more conversation other than the ones that we have grown up on,” Worrell explained.

Meanwhile, the advocacy group Barbados Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination (BGLAD) welcomed the initiative as a positive development, contending that conversations about sex and sexualities usually included straight and able-bodied people only.

BGLAD coordinator Ro-Ann Mohammed also charged that whenever sex between the same gender was discussed it was usually within the lens of sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

“The intention is just to engage the community and address some of the problems and sort of open up and expand the narrative that surrounds the LGBT community,” Mohammed said.

Representing the Council for the Disabled, Rose-Ann Foster Vaughn said members of the disabled community were ready to openly and freely voice their views as to how they were treated by mainstream society as it related to sex.

“What could a person with a disability want to know or even have a right to know about anything relating to sexuality, whether it is heterosexual or homosexual?

“If for instance me or my husband goes to a pharmacy to get a pack of condoms, imagine how you would feel if a pharmacist ask ‘what you want a condom for?’ How would you feel?”

Following the workshop, an open mike session will be held at The Good Life Café, Rockley, Christ Church on Saturday evening, where the arts will be used to address topics about sexuality.

Space for the workshop is limited and person interested in attending should contact the BFPA or emailThesexshop@gmail.com.

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