The Center for Positive Sexuality is pleased to announce the research projects awarded $1000 in discretionary funding through generous donations from and Dr. James Elias.

We put out a call for research proposals on Race and Sexuality in July 2020. This is the first time the Center has funded research from non-affiliates, and we are glad to support intersectional research on race and sexuality. These projects center on Black people, indigenous people, and other communities of color.

Although it was hard to narrow them down, four proposals stood out for their overall quality, innovation, feasibility, connection to positive sexuality, and potential for impact on communities of color. Below, we introduce the researchers who submitted the winning proposals, as well as their project titles.

We received more applications than we could fund, many of which were rated highly by our evaluation team. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application, and the Center hopes that it will be able to support future funding calls. You can help keep this award available by donating today.

Sherine Andreine PowerfulSherine Andreine Powerful
Twitter: @dazzireco | Instagram: @dazzireco
“Carnival in the Caribbean; Positive Health and Wellbeing; and Pleasure, Healing, and Liberation”

Sherine Andreine Powerful (ID: Sherine, Mx., she, they) is a Diasporic Jamaican, having been born in Kingston and spending the formative years of her childhood in a West Indian neighborhood in the Boogie Down Bronx. As a Black Caribbean Feminist, she is committed to celebrating and furthering pleasure, healing, and liberation for Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples and persons of diverse a/genders and a/sexualities, particularly those of Caribbean descent. In this current critical juncture, her lived experiences are moving her towards the creation/curation of a life in which pleasure is greater than productivity. Presently, as a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, her interests, centered around the English-speaking Caribbean, include feminist global health and development; gender and sexual health, equity, and justice; and resilience and anticolonial sustainable development in the context of climate change. If you can catch her, you’ll probably find her obsessing over the color turquoise, bussin’ a “shake and a jiggle and a bubble and a dip”, or scheming on her next Carnival/Masquerade/J’ouvert adventures when outside opens back up.

Shemeka Thorpe
Shemeka Thorpe, PhD
Facebook: Shemeka Thorpe | Instagram: @drshemeka
“Experiences of Dyspareunia, Sexual Anxiety, and Sexual Pleasure Among Black Women in the South”

Shemeka Thorpe, PhD (she/her/hers) is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Kentucky in Counseling Psychology under the co-mentorship of Drs. Candice Hargons and Danelle Stevens-Watkins. She obtained her PhD in Community Health Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research focuses on the sexual well-being of Black women utilizing sex-positive and intimate justice frameworks. Understanding the importance of translating research into practice, Dr. Thorpe co-founded the Minority Sex Report, LLC an award-winning platform designed to provide representation in sexuality education to Black and Native American women. Dr. Thorpe has facilitated workshops to health educators and medical providers nationwide. She currently serves on the editorial board for the American Journal of Sexuality Education and is a member of the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WoSCHN).

Briauna A. Johnson
Facebook: Briauna Johnson
“Coming from my own: Understanding affirmation, oppression, and identity formation of Black LGBTQIA+ members through an intersectional lens.”

Briauna (She/Her/Hers) is a December 2017 graduate from the department of Sociology at California State University, Northridge, receiving a 3.86 overall GPA. She is the first person in her immediate family to receive a Master’s Degree. While in the graduate program, Briauna won first place for the quantitative research poster competition in the Spring of 2016 for her research on the rise of capitalistic, conglomerate, and bureaucratic influences in the Hip-Hop industry and its relationship to song lyrics. In the Spring of 2017, Briauna won first place for the qualitative research poster competition on her research on the unintended consequences of rape preventative literature and the negotiation of space due to the fear of sexual assault. Alongside her competitions, Briauna has also published her first article in conjunction with colleagues entitled Exploring personal and collective transformation in the social justice classroom: How students navigate tensions and challenges of acquiring a heightened sense of consciousness. She has presented her findings at the Pacific Sociological Association in Portland, Oregon and Long Beach, California and Oakland, California. She has also presented at the Humber Liberal Arts @ IFOA Conference in Toronto, Canada. She is currently teaching in the Sociology department at California State University, Northridge and Moorpark College. She also teaches in the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at California State University, Northridge. As a professor, she would like to continue to teach Sociology and Gender courses on gender, sexuality, Black cultural politics, and stratification.

Dominique Dillard
Dominique Dillard
“Taking Back the Power of the Erotic: Understanding the Construction of Young Black Sexuality”

Dominique Dillard is a third year PhD student in Sociology at Louisiana State University under the guidance of Dr. Lori Latrice Martin. Her research interests are Black sexualities and race. Prior to becoming an ethnographer, Dominique worked as a Community Education Director at a non-profit organization, providing sexual violence prevention education to both youth and adult groups. An active member in her community, Dominique serves as board member, a youth mentor, and co-chair advisor for various organizations that seek to empower marginalized groups. Dominique holds a BS in Kinesiology and a MA in Sociology from Louisiana State University.