A kinky, poly, cancer-warrior, activist and sexuality educator with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University, Ericka Hart has taught sexuality education for elementary aged youth to adults across New York City for over 10 years, including serving as a Peace Corps HIV/AIDs volunteer in Ethiopia from 2008-2010.
Diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer in May 2014 at the age of 28, she realized that neither her identity as a queer black femme, nor her sex life as a survivor, was featured prominently in her treatment. She decided to do something about it: going topless (and viral) in public, bearing her double mastectomy scars to end the lack of black, brown LGBTQIA+ representations and visibility in breast cancer awareness.
Dismantling the ways that systemic patriarchy and anti-black standards of beauty affect our everyday lives, Ericka is shifting ingrained cultural modes and attitudes on chronic illness and posits visibility as vital to any radically inclusive movement toward equity. But it is her work on the medical industrial complex that forces us to see our institutions and systems of care as complicit in the perpetuation of illness in marginalized communities; unabashedly centering and sentient such that queer, trans black, brown and femme voices aren’t lost among the drone of scholarly research less skilled than Hart in bringing academia to the places it refuses to go.
Audiences around the world admire Ericka for her ability to challenge anti-blackness everywhere it rears its head–from the front pages of magazines, fashion week runways to the lectern. She is committed to empowering students to make a difference in the world and with each other, opening up robust discourse that connects sexual health and wellness to the systemic issues at the root of social injustice, helping students at over 20 colleges and universities across the country this past year alone discover actionable steps to confront those issues powerfully.
Available for keynotes, workshops and expository writing on the following topics:
Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention: For Festivals, Organizations, and Individuals
Consent is more than sexy, it’s necessary. Oftentimes when we talk about sex, the focus is on pleasure but we forget that there are steps way before pleasure is achieved. This interactive, gender inclusive workshop explores consent as a necessary aspect to any encounter, challenging the socialized myth that when it comes to sex, consent is confusing, awkward and optional. In this training, participants will have the opportunity to parse how we as a society relate to consent, learn and be able to list the elements that are necessary for sexual consent to be present and gain a new freedom in navigating sexual experiences that always include consent as the foreplay (and lube, if you will) of life.
Where Are All the Black People?
Sexualizing Cancer was created for anyone living with chronic illness who is interested in learning about the integral role of pleasure and sexuality particularly for breast cancer patients at diagnosis, during treatment, and post-treatment. ‘Sexualizing Cancer’ is also designed to support medical providers/front line staff of hospitals to be inclusive in their services of LGBTQIA+ people. By examining the historical roots of the medical industry, this talk also draws attention to the lack of black and brown narratives in mainstream breast cancer awareness campaigns and advocacy, leading to higher rates of mortality among these communities. This workshop will also expose expose the ways in which black bodies have been used for experiments in the past and the lack of awareness in breast cancer campaigns targeted to Black and brown bodies leading to higher rates of mortality in present day.
Sexualizing Cancer Pt.2 (for Medical Practitioners and Cancer Patients)
A breast cancer diagnosis alone can impact an individual’s sex life. Sexualizing Cancer has also been created for breast cancer patients at diagnosis, during treatment, and post-treatment who are looking to reclaim pleasure and have sex and sexuality availed to them as a powerful resource, whether single or in partnership. This talk and accompanying curriculum is designed to support medical providers, medical school students in residency, front line staff of hospitals to be inclusive in their services to diverse populations. This talk is tailored to medical providers working with breast cancer patients, but is applicable to practitioners specializing in any chronic illness.
In this series of age-appropriate comprehensive workshops and lectures, participants will learn the following various topics: sexual anatomy, gender, pleasure, sexual identity, healthy relationships, reproductive health/justice and more.
Explore the various aspects of BDSM/kink and how people can and do apply these seemingly fringe elements to their everyday lives.
Learn about and discover polyamory/non-monogamy as an authentic and valid relationship model.
Social & Racial Justice
This participatory talk acts as an educational resource for allies, organizations and individuals working with and/or on behalf of marginalized communities seeking to deepen both their professional and personal practices toward centering those who navigate society from its margins. Ericka will galvanize audiences to explore their own biases, share in their experiences of identity and offer actionable steps on how each individual can integrate a social and racial justice ethic in their own lives for a more equitable and just world in this crash course on systems of oppression.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn what the term coined by Kimberle W. Crenshaw means and how they can apply this critical framework to their professional and personal lives.
LGBTQIA+ and Cultural Literacy: Creating Safer Spaces
Participants will learn the ways in which our society can be harmful towards those who are part of the queer community and practical ways to make spaces safer.
In this interactive workshop, participants will dismantle the view that gender exists in a binary to adopt and understand its fluidity. By the end of the workshop, participants will have gained a deeper understanding of gender and its various distinctions.
Body Positivity/Body Image Activism
As a breast cancer survivor, body positivity is an unspoken expectation of Ericka but she is more interested in calling out the systems that have us all hating our bodies, not just those living with chronic illness and disability. Come learn about body image politics, parse out the social implications inherent in that notion and its intersections with pop culture as well as our everyday lives. Ericka’s scholarship surrounding body positivity investigates, critiques and opens up wider discourse about loving one’s body being offered up as a the only option amid the myriad ways people can choose to embrace their body as an act of political resistance and a celebration of black, femme, queer and trans bodies as they are increasingly subjected to state violence, police brutality and gross socio-economic injustice.
White Supremacy by Any Other Name: the Anti-Black Origins of Sexual Violence in the U.S.
Modern conversations around sexual violence in the internet age, buttressed by celebrity and glamorized by mainstream pop culture, have largely focused on cisgendered white women often at the expense of erasing those most susceptible to sexual violence–black cis and trans femmes. Explore with Ericka the historical implications of sexual violence in the US, what feminism and neoliberalism have to do with the national discourse, and how it impacts all of us at our intersections.
Explore with Ericka how all bodies, but marginalized bodies especially, are viewed in the context of the medical model of disability which finds its origins in white supremacist, capitalist culture as does medical racism that leads to exclusionary and harmful care practices that inhibit marginalized groups from accessing quality healthcare treatments.
Radical Sex Positivity
Sexual health and wellness are intrinsic to any movement toward social justice and pleasure for all bodies at the intersections of their identity. You simply cannot talk about sex without talking about race and gender and the immense impact our identities have on our access to pleasure. This workshop will be a course around sexual health and wellness from a queer, anti-racist lens. It will center those who navigate society from its margins and help participants identify their own complicities in racialized systems of unjust, foster practical ways to make spaces safer for marginalized groups and apply a pleasure and consent based inclusive approach to their professional and personal lives.