My name is dr donna: oriolo i’m: a sex and relationship therapist in the washington dc metro area, so in the united states um. How i got into sex this week, honestly it part of it – is that people used to just feel so comfortable telling me everything that i thought i should get additional training so there’s that piece of it um and then, as far as the education piece, when i Was um in undergrad i just figured. I was gon na, be a regular, regular, psychologist that’s. What i was gon na do, and it got to a point where i was so. I my interest in sex and sexuality was within the work that i was already doing. So i looked it up. I saw that there was widener university in pennsylvania, a place where i would be able to go and get this other training and sexuality, and i went for it, and here i am that’s awesome, and i i see that you also do keynote speaking and you run A lot of workshops tell us more about that aspect of your work. Oh well, um. Honestly, there is um information just in general about round sex and psychology, so um for schools. I have been able to go into one of these program. Called sex talk, um educator edition just to get teachers and it was comfortable talking about sex and sexuality, so that when a student does ask them questions, they can give honest clear answers while redirecting them back to parents or whomever, because i recognize that not everybody’s teaching Sex education in that moment, but i do believe that it should be, and is a community effort which means that everybody needs to have knowledge and be knowledgeable in order to answer questions in a way that um that students need um.
In addition to that, i then created sex talk, parent edition, which was just to get parents talking about sex and sexuality, but really it’s, also to unpack your own stuff, because, usually, if we have not been taught if we haven’t been supposed to and we’ve been taught That it is a taboo it’s, dirty it’s nasty. Then we sort of carry that on and by accident into the negation that comes behind us, um other than that within the field of sexuality, and that it is right, washed um that we are not culturally, culturally or ethnically aware so part of the work that i Do is trying to reinfuse that into sex education um, because if you can’t see so mulch, if you can’t see their race, then you really are not seeing them as a full person, which means that you probably are not getting everything that you could from a sexuality Horse or um any other sexuality based intervention, so i teach things like snatching is for our black hair matters and sex education that one’s taught exclusively about colorism and textures. Um is color skin tone. These prejudices and texturism is texture based, um prejudices that will hold um and how that sort of is in the field of sexuality and um. I have a funny six series that you called the dark of the berry um, where we study humility, power and um humility power, and i can never remember the third one, even though identity there we go, i didn’t melody empower in sex education and in mental health.
In general, so that one is uh, my baby, that program uh, just because it’s it’s really about getting to the meat of things as it comes to race and sexuality and being able to sort of confront ourselves. Um have an understanding of what power dynamics look like, especially in um educational and therapeutic settings and then really being able to that humble path. Because we don’t own everything that there to know. And we need to be able to humble us and not continue perpetuate the same harm within the communities that we go into, so that that uh, that program is like my crowning glory it’s. My baby that’s really awesome because um i i i did see it on your website that you offer this webinar about black hair matters and um. Now that you start to talk more about it like it makes so much sense. What you’re saying, which is, if you don’t, see the race of the person, you don’t see the full person and also all the different innuendos about like how our culture and our race like we need to be addressing it, so that we really start to unpack it. For the people, and because for me my background is, i did my doctorate in the us, and so everything that i teach is quite westernized, academic, scientific knowledge. And how do i bring it back to my people and actually make it in a way that makes sense to them, because a lot of them just find that i’m very westernized in my thinking and approach, and how do i really um cut through all that and Really communicate with my own people, and so that is something that i i um am i right to say that you actually developed all these and um uh went into all that, as opposed to like other sexuality, educators, who also happen to be uh african american and They they don’t, they don’t talk about these um um yeah.
I think that everyone has their own specialty for me, coloring and texturism. It looks like to be in my black what it looks like to be in my um history was such a huge um who i was developing while i was in that program um. As for background, my high school was very diverse. I was one of the most diverse places, um one of the most diverse schools that i know of. I think that a lot of people have been in um high schools that may be more white or more black, but i was just super diver um. I went to high point high school um and that’s it like super super, diverse um, to the point where they had cultural um, sort of assemblies um every month or, however, often just to celebrate the differences that we had there. So i mean there was an asian club. There was a caribbean club, the african club. There were all these clubs, and i was in the asian club um, but uh i was in you know like there are all these clubs there’s all these groups, and there were all these assemblies. You know to display the the what each culture has to offer. So it was a opportunity to learn so i went from a very diverse high school to then i went to an hbcu, a historically black college or university. I went to the morgan state university, beautiful school in baltimore maryland, and that was me being i felt like.
I was cradled in the love of my own people, i mean it was black people as far as the eye could see right and i went from that from diversity to black space to being at white graduate school, and i felt that shift. I felt how black i was in such a white space, and it was also at the time where i was um. I just cut off on my hair, so i was going natural and i have this natural hair. I’Ve got this dark skin and i’m in this white white place and i’m feeling so out of place, and then, on top of that, like with the way that the education structure was set up, um to be in the the in those classes with the students and The experiential type learning where i felt like i could not be fully present because to be fully present, was to do harm to myself, because there was almost no consideration given to um diverse groups at all. It was very it wasn’t, just westernized, it was white and in its whiteness it left out so much, and i wanted to refocus that in the work that i was doing, because i knew that who i was going to serve were going to be black and that, As much information as they were able to give me and that i was able to use, i had to work twice as hard to take that information and make it into something that makes sense for the people that i serve.
So i mean. Does that answer the question? Yes, i i so love how you shed um your background, because you you went through different kinds of uh school environments and um. Then it made you realize all of what you wanted to focus on so as to help your people. I love it, so sometimes our biggest pain becomes the the biggest ways in which we can serve absolutely, and i think that being being at the you know the school. Where i got the masters and the phd that there was, i felt so much higher. I was so discontent i was so upset so often um that you know that black was just not a part of the conversation that asian was not a part of the conversation that latinx was not a part of the conversation and it was, and it was just Presented like oh, this is just basic sexuality information and that you can do what you need to do with it, and i feel like this is a way in which so many people let themselves off the hook. They don’t have to learn anything because we have now made whiteness the default, so the work that i do is about stripping that away so, whether it’s in the therapy office um so doing one to one work or doing couples work or if i am teaching. If i’m doing a keynote, if i’m doing a training, it is about stripping away the idea of the default to really get us to do good and deep work.
Because, if we’re, knowing the good and the deep work, then as far as i’m concerned, then you’re moving backwards, it’s, either you’re going forwards or you’re going back, there’s no staying still because even in our not moving anyway. Anyway, at all, we are still supporting white supremacy. So we have to actually do work on an internal level and an external level to actually backtrack backtrack, that to do something different to be radical requires actual work, not just oh i’m, just not supporting it i’m like you’re, not supporting it, but you still sort of Are yeah i get what you’re trying to say? Oh my god, i’m. I i don’t know why i’m tearing up uh okay. So this is the first video where i i asked dr donna um about herself and her work um in the other videos. The second video i’m going to ask dr donna to summarize a little bit about the black life matters, movement and what’s happening in the u.s for people who just want a nutshell. Summary of what’s been happening in the u.s because outside of u.s, maybe we are um. Thinking that what happens in the u.s doesn’t matter to us so just to give us a little bit of an idea about the whole life matters, um kind of a thing that’s happening that happened in in us last year.