Uses of the Erotic & Random Acts of Courage

Earlier this week I participated on an intergenerational panel of WOC of varying backgrounds and identities.  The panelist were invited to participate in a discussion of Audre Lordes’ essay “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power”, in an undergraduate course on Black feminist thought.  The class was comprised of  young women of color from 18 years old up to 29 years old.  My heart was warmed by the sincerity and appreciation these young women showed for Lorde’s powerful essay and the oral stories us elderfolk shared with them.  The instructor asked us to speak on whatever passage in the essay that resonated with us.

I chose this excerpt:

The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.  It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire.  For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves.

I then proceeded to recite these words:

Bull dagger, dyke, bull dyke, homosexual, queer, lesbian, lezzie, and so on.

I then shared with the circle my process for getting in touch with the chaos of my strongest feelings and ultimately learning how to walk in my truth and power.

Today I received a voice mail message from the course instructor informing me that a young Black student (18 yrs)  mustered the courage to come out to herself and to the class due largely in part to my speaking candidly about my sexual identity.  She had never witnessed a Black woman speaking joyously, exuberantly and unapologetically about Black lesbian sexuality, the experience allowed her to step OUT.

Well sistern, I can’t think of a BETTER way to end this week!

Oba ase Audre Lorde


One Response to “Uses of the Erotic & Random Acts of Courage”

  1. Ava Square-LeVias Says:

    Hello Skye,
    I enjoyed reading about your powerful sharing and its affect on that young sista coming into her own knowledge and acceptance of herself. I know you as that supportive voice in the midst of yearning.
    It gives me joy to know you are sharing your unique voice locally as well as internationally.
    You are always in my highest and most loving thoughts.

    Peace, ava

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