For the past few years I have lovingly referred to myself as "The Susan Lucci of Harvard." Gays and gals, you probably already know what this means. Straight dudes, here's the deal. Susan Lucci has been on a daytime soap opera for more than 25 years. In fact, she had been nominated 17 times for the "Best Female Actress" role, but had always lost. She finally walked away with the daytime emmy award on her 17th nomination.
As a sexuality speaker, I have been contacted the last 4 or 5 years by the undergraduate school at Harvard University as a potential speaker for their annual sex week event. The way I understand it to work is that the committee sends out a half dozen invitations to educators who, for some reason or another, are on their radar. The committee meets and they make a final decision based on the experience of the speaker, the cost, and probably a lot more reasons I am not privy to.
I had come to peace with the fact that I would never get to be a sexuality speaker at Harvard. Although I am a kick ass presenter this is what I am not; political, close to the sex educator community, politically correct. Let's face it, I'm a mixed race female whose been with my husband for over 21 years, and work is something I love to do much more than need to do.
So color me surprised as shit when I was cordially invited to speak for the Harvard University Graduate School or Arts & Sciences. I'll also be meeting with the fabulous students at the Graduate School for Public Health, so that is just a wonderful added bonus. Probably the thing I am most excited about is the fact that I have been asked to speak to students who identify as people of color. In the past, I've made mention to the fact that, in over 10 years of being in the sexuality field, It's become abundantly clear to me that there are precious few speakers who appear to be of color.
Here is the flyer the organizer put together to announce my speaking event:
In honour of March as Women’s History Month
the W. E. B. Du Bois Graduate Society
is happy to present:
“Self Image, Self Love & Self Pleasure:
A Workshop for Women”
led by Cat Toyooka,
Human Sexuality Specialist
Even in today’s world of high-powered business women, policy makers and educators, women of all ages and backgrounds continue to struggle with positive self-image and self love. This workshop, led by sexuality specialist Catherine Toyooka, is designed to encourage women to pose questions about their body to a sex expert, become more comfortable with the idea of self pleasure and gain confidence about ways to love ourselves both in healthy partnerships and as single women. Events are LGBTQI friendly and always high energy, interactive, educational, and entertaining.
Catherine leads discussions with ice breakers, affirmations and lots of laughter. She stresses the importance of confidentiality and can answer endless questions about sexual health and STIs, how to combat body shame, tips for self pleasure and advice on how to improve intimacy in relationships. Thorough, patient, thought-provoking and humorous, Catherine’s workshops provide an excellent introduction to the world of our own sexuality.
Friday, March 1st
from 2-4pm at the
Harvard College Women's Center, Canaday "B" Basement
in Harvard Yard
I met the amazing woman responsible for bringing me to Harvard several years ago. It blows my mind that it was literally one interaction that happened about 4 years ago that was the impetus of a wonderful and supportive friendship.
I'm sad that my BFF is not able to accompany me to the presentations. Harvard had been breathing down his smart and sexy neck as they were trying to court him into their Doctorate of Public Health program. It's funny, but I immediately thought of him when I knew the speaking engagement was a go. Somehow, I think I am better when he is around me.
It's also makes me really sad that both my parents aren't alive to see their baby speak at Harvard. It's truly amazing how some achievements can be so bittersweet.
I've got lots of packing to do, and I don't want to forget anything behind, so I'm going to wrap up this blog post.