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In every action I take I am teaching my son not only about his own freedom, but mine as a Black woman and mother-artist and sex worker, because these are my intersections.

Many people have asked – both out of curiosity and vindictiveness – what I will tell my son when he is older about who I am and what I do. I rarely consider this because it is my intention that my son know me as a whole person throughout his life. There will be few major revelations on his end as far as my work goes, because I am very open about it. I am very genuine and outspoken and age-appropriately honest. Sometimes I do wonder what I would do or how I should react if my son expresses shame because his mama was or is a sex worker? I hope that I am raising my son well enough that he could be open with me about his feelings. I hope that the men I have allowed into my life will not inadvertently pollute his mind with sexist ideals about who his mother should be or what she should be doing. I hope that because I am allowing my son to be his whole self – in a way that I never was allowed – he will recognize that I am doing the same. My self-expression is very important to my parenting. In every action I take I am teaching my son not only about his own freedom, but mine as a Black woman and mother-artist and sex worker, because these are my intersections. These are part of my identity, as well as being bisexual, demisexual and an assault/abuse survivor. I want my son to see women like me as entire humans. I also want him to know that I am not as unique and atypical as I seem.

My nudity does not offend my son, because he has not been exposed to trivial conversations about modesty. My nudity means nothing to him.

The other day I mentioned to one of my male friends that my son and I had been nude for days because of the heat and lack of air conditioning, and the disapproval in his voice became progressively apparent as the conversation went on: Me: Yeah we have been naked for days, man, it’s hot as hell. Him: What do you mean you’ve been naked? Oh you mean you’ve been in your underwear? Me: No, I mean naked. Him: Like, no drawls naked? I mean just being topless is one thing, but...WHY?! Me: My vulva needs to breathe. Him: And you’re just completely naked around your son like that? That’s kind of weird. Me: How? He’s five, he’s an overgrown baby. I asked what the issue was. He couldn't explain. I told him there was nothing inherently sexual about nudity. He said that’s not what he meant and that I was putting words in his mouth. He asked if my nakedness would affect my son’s psyche. I explained the difference between nudity and eroticism, our sexualization of bodies. He asked to move on to something else and claimed that he didn’t have the words to express his thoughts in a coherent manner. He sounded flustered and mildly upset. I am intrigued by his apparent prudishness. Why is my nakedness around my child an issue? Why is him seeing my genitalia in a non-sexual manner an issue? Is he worried my child is going to develop some sort of Oedipus complex? According to Freudian lore, my son being just about around 5-years-old, is in the phallic stage. Freudian psychology is heterocentric and cissexist–it deals in binaries and doesn’t take into account a spectrum of identities. For its time it was revolutionary–but science is permeated with sexist and racist men, polluted with biases.

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