My Bob Dylan Experience #TBT

In 2005, I was working at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As I was walking down the hall, late for work, this man was walking towards me. He was about 20 feet away. He was scruffy, wearing an oversized coat and a dingy wool cap pulled down over his face. He looked destitute has he shuffled along down the hallway. I was convinced he was homeless.

He leered at me as we walked towards each other. I became increasingly uncomfortable. He looked me up and down and I just tried to maintain my composure. I decided to call security as soon as I got to the office. When we were about arms length apart, I realized…

“Oh my god. That’s Bob Dylan.”

I froze as we passed each other. I spun around and stared at him as he walked away. He never looked back. He was done looking at me.

I got to work and told the other people in the office, “I just saw Bob Dylan!” Turns out that his 2YO and 4YO were having a check up. Had I been on time, I could have met him. But then I probably wouldn’t have been blatantly objectified by Bob Dylan.

tl;dr: I got the up-down from a Nobel Prize winner.

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That Time a Trans Woman Saved My Life

Last week, I chatted with a former student. The last time I saw this student in the spring, she had long curls. This time, they were cut short. I said, “You cut your hair!” She and I talked about curly hair care and the complexity of finding a trusted hairdresser. I shared a story with her about the first hairdresser I ever trusted.

When I was in ninth grade, I would get my hair cut at the Galleria in White Plains, New York. I would go to the same salon on the third floor and never really thought twice about whose chair I sat in. Then one day, they told me that it was an hour-long wait, so I decided to go to the other salon on the second floor. When I sat down, the woman asked me, “Is your hair curly when it’s wet?” I didn’t really understand the question in that my hair was less curly when it was wet, and I assumed that this was “straight.” So I told her yes. She washed my hair and cut it.

After she was done, she informed me that my hair was curly when it was wet and, as it began to dry, the curls tightened and her cut became haphazard and clunky. It was horrific. I still said “Thank you,” and paid in respectful manner, then immediately ran back up to the third floor salon in tears. I was placed in the hands of Beverly, a drag queen,* and she fixed my hair. I don’t know what she did, but she fixed it. From that point on, I always went back to Beverly, even after I went to college in Boston, because I didn’t trust anyone else with my curls.

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I’m published in AIDS and Behavior!

Corsbie-Massay, C.L., Miller, L.C., Christensen, J.L. et al. (2016). Identity Conflict and Sexual Risk for Black and Latino YMSM. AIDS and Behavior. doi:10.1007/s10461-016-1522-7

Young (aged 18–30) Black and Latino men who have sex with men are at a higher risk of contracting HIV than their White counterparts. In order to better understand the unique nature of sexual risk-taking, we examined the extent to which ethnic group, ethnic identity, and sexual pride predicted condomless anal sex with casual partners among 161 young men who have sex with men (YMSM) who identify as Black or Latino. Negative binomial regressions were conducted using a cross-sectional design. Sexual pride was a negative predictor of condomless anal sex across all participants, but this effect was moderated by ethnic exploration and ethnic group; the relationship between sexual pride and condomless anal sex was strengthened by greater ethnic exploration among Latino YMSM, and weakened by greater ethnic exploration among Black YMSM. Implications for intersectional identity, identity conflict, and HIV prevention among young gay men of color are discussed.

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Cuba 2016

In May, I was honored to accompany a delegation from the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) to Hominis 2016, organized by the Cuban Psychological Society in Havana.

The trip was an amazing! We wandered the streets of Old Havana, marveling at the art, architecture, and music; we drank mojitos and Cuba-libres and rode in classic cars; we learned about the Cuban experience from Cubans, not from the media spin that dominates American understanding of this embargoed community.

But this was not a vacation. We visited a community center that caters to Afro-Cuban women and learned of their unique plight in a country that often claims to be past racism (as does much of the Caribbean); we attended several talks at the conference that addressed international psychology and the changing needs of a majority world perspective, a phrase that I learned at the conference. Majority world “defines the community in terms of what it is, rather than what it lacks” (The Masalai Blog, 2009; Shallwani, 2015), and reminds us of the fact that the majority of the world is of color, “developing,” or in an even more outdated term, “third world.”

The trip was life changing and I am grateful to my former PI, Cheryl Grills, who has bestowed upon me more knowledge than I can even begin to quantify. On my flight back, I sat next to a woman who said that she was excited to visit Cuba, but was waiting for it to get more “touristy.” My immediate response (which I kept to myself : ) was, “You don’t want to go to Cuba, you want to go to Sandals.”

Cuba is “touristy.” Although Americans do not visit and are told that the country is backward, there are tourists from the rest of the world, including Europeans, Asians, Africans, and South Americans. The ethnocentrism of Americans (i.e., United States) has impeded us from increasing our global awareness. The Cuban people were gracious, welcoming, and excited to share their culture with anyone who was willing to visit. Estoy deseando que llegue mi próximo viaje a Cuba!

Click here to see more pictures!


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Inside the Label on BET

Last night, I made my national television debut as an expert on BET’s Inside the Label: “Grand Hustle.” I was tapped to talk about the intersection of race, gender, technology, and business. It was a delight to be part of such an amazing project.

I was particularly amazed by the fan responses via Twitter, many of which expressed excitement at learning the history of Grand Hustle. Documenting a story is the first step to “making history” (Interview with Harry Allen, 2016). The episode will be broadcast again on Wednesday (7:58pm) and Thursday (10pm).


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