(It's much more fun if you do your best Mary Catherine Gallagher moves when you say it.)
Today we're starting our yearly fundraising appeal -- the shiny marketing term for "beg for cash" -- for Scarleteen with some righteous month-long festivities and extras.
We aim to publish an in-depth advice column every single day from now through November 15th. Myself and Scarleteen's assistant director, CJ Turett, will be burning the midnight oil with answers, but we also have the help of some fantastically talented people to help this month, like Jaclyn Friedman, Kate Bornstein, Susie Bright, Zaedryn Meade, Cory Silverberg, Petra Boynton, Justin Bish, Amanda Marcotte, Carol Queen, s.e.smith, Nona Willis Aronowitz and more! You can get started with Jaclyn Friedman's guest advice on getting sexual assault awareness started in your college right here.
All across the 'net there's also a month-long blogathon for us starting today, and we will be reprinting most of the entries right here on our own blog for you to enjoy. You'll be able to read posts from writers and sexuality activists like Anne Semans, Maymay, Shanna Katz, Elizabeth Wood, Angie the Anti-Theist, Thomas Roche, I, Asshole, Figleaf, Violet Blue, Clarisse Thorn, Twanna Hines, Liz Lee and a dizzying array of other excellent and generous bloggers. You can start today with this entry on parent/teen communication from Tess, and keep up with all the rest by following our blog or by using our RSS feed.
There are only a small handful of sites online that expressly serve young people, nationally and internationally, with comprehensive sex education that focuses on all the issues, not just one, and that aim to serve the wide diversity of young people there are: not just straight youth, not just white youth, not just middle-class youth, not just youth who aren't sexually active and not just youth who are, not just youth of any one gender or sexual identity. Fewer still do so through a learner-directed educational model like we do.
Founded in 1998, Scarleteen has stubbornly stood a long test of time for tens of millions of young people at this point, some of whom now are parents of children and teens they have already referred here or who want to refer their kids to in the future. We made it through the Bush administration and its abstinence-only mandates (not with our sanity fully intact, but that's okay). Some important baby steps have been made to turn that around, but they're going to be very slow going. Hopefully, access to quality, medically-accurate and inclusive sexuality education will keep improving, but all around the world, including right here where we're located stateside, comprehensive sex education still isn't available to millions of young people, both those attending school and the millions of teenagers and twentysomethings in the United States alone who aren't currently enrolled in school. Even when it is available, it's often missing key components of sound, fully accessible sex education, like the full inclusion of young people who are queer or who are gender nonconforming, who have already become pregnant or contracted an STI, who are already sexually active and want to be so, or who have all the bare basics, but want to know about some of the more complex parts of their sexual health, sexual lives and interpersonal relationships.
We've got a tenure that's incredibly long for anything on the web, let alone for an independent organization providing young people progressive, comprehensive sex education. We fully intend to stick around for as long as we're needed and as long as there's coffee to guzzle, but our tenacity, workaholism and caffeine-powered intellectual steam engine alone aren't enough to make that happen. While we provide our services for free, it costs money to make that happen, money that our teen and young adult users rarely have; money we hate talking about just as much as the next guy, but which we have to talk about if we're going to be able to stick around, keep doing what we do, and keep growing and evolving to best suit the needs of young people.
If you already support Scarleteen with your wallet or your words, thanks! We can't tell you how much we appreciate you and how much what you give helps. If you don't donate to us, or haven't in a while, we hope you'll consider it.
To find out more about what we do, why and how we do it, and why we think we're worth supporting, take a look at:
Want to participate in the blogathon? We've got a great lineup so far, but more is always merrier! It would be particularly fabulous to hear from those of you in your teens and twenties, whose voices we all need hear more of, and who are the most impacted by all of the issues around sexuality education. To find out about how to take part, drop our coordinator, Laura, a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org