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(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 ownRead more...
Beginning in September, I am going to be employed as Residence Don for an all girls floor at a university. I am pretty excited about the job and really would like to make residence life a positive experience for the students I will be living with (about 170 guys and gals in total).
However, there is one MAJOR issue I have with the residence, they offered no sexual assault awareness education for the students. In the 2008-09 school year, there were 3 sexual assaults reported, which lead to criminal charges, and almost all I have talked to who have lived in this residence for multiple years have either been sexually assaulted themselves or had a friend who was while living there.
So, clearly, something is needed to change this residence culture that seems to be conducive to sexual violence.
I have a very exciting announcement to make (and a little bit of a happydance that goes with it, but I'm not sure that's something anyone wants to see, so I'll stick with just the announcement for now).
As of today, readers and users at our message boards have the chance to participate in a twitter feed of their own. Scarleteen already has a twitter feed updated by Heather Corinna and a few other volunteers and staff members (it's at http://www.twitter.com/Scarleteen if you're interested). But this new account is going to be created, updated and maintained by our message board users and readers.
From time to time, volunteers may step in to add quotes from posts at the message boards, but the content will be exclusively the words of the young people who use Scarleteen. There is already a section of the main site dedicated to young people's voices - "In Your Own Words" - but this new twitter feed is an opportunity for the amazing teens and young adults we have here to get their voiceRead more...
I was one of several guests on a radio show in Baltimore on Friday. The topic of the show was apparently going to be about sex education and social justice, but turned out to be more like fear-mongering and a whole lot of projections around teen sexuality mixed with focus on parents and teen sexuality. I got the impression all four of us who were asked to take part, despite some of our disagreements, were very frustrated with the show and the host clearly asking questions he didn't want factual answers to, despite purportedly asking us to take part to provide just that.
At one point, he asked one of the guests to talk about rape victims and survivors. She said she did not do any work with rape or survivors, but instead of deferring to any of us who had, or just saying "I don't know," she went ahead and did some postulating and guesswork. There were several things she said in a rush of words that bothered me, but one of the most troubling was a statement that rape survivors "compulsiveRead more...
Many people have been asking about when our next peer sex educator training will be, and I'm sorry to say that I'm coming in with my founder and executive director hat on to deliver some not-so-awesome news about it.
We have a very long waiting list for another session of our training. I was hoping to be able to do another round this spring or summer, but as of right now, it simply will not be possible to do until late fall, and may even need to stay on hold until 2011.
I like to run the organization as transparently as possible, so I'll briefly explain what's up with the holdup. Long story short, there are three major factors right now which are the issue.
With the waiting list being so long, we want to train a larger group in than last time. But even with the small group that we had last year, it was clear that doing the training mostly on my own was very difficult, and I feel that shortchanged our trainees. So, I need some pro-bono help from a handful of other qualified educatorsRead more...
I was watching a debate about sex education today, one rife with a lot of ludicrous statements, but the statement that quality sex education could not possibly help prevent sexual abuse stuck with me. It was all the more infuriating as someone who knows too well that a lack of knowledge about bodies and sex, and a lack of information about sexual consent and autonomy are some of the hugest reasons why sexual abuse is so prevalent.
Now, this is hardly a new form of cluelessness (nor is it exclusive to Canada: we've all but made an art form of it stateside). I've addressed this issue before, at Scarleteen and in some talks and interviews I have given over the years, and also in a piece a little while back for the Guardian in the United Kingdom.
Hopefully it's obvious the reason I, as a sexuality educator and activist, and Scarleteen, as an organization, provide sex education isn't just about preventing unwanted or negative outcomes, like unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infectiRead more...
I'm bisexual, and I really would like to tell my friends. I mean, they seem pretty open-minded, being pro-gay rights and generally accepting. The thing is, they're being open-minded from afar. If they found out that one of their closest friends is bisexual, I'm not sure they'd be too keen on the idea of having a bisexual girl friend. One even has said that she wouldn't want to have sleepovers at a girl's house if she liked girls. I'm honestly not attracted to her or any other one of my friends (well, maybe one a little, but I'd never make her uncomfortable or anything) but they don't get that. I don't know how to tell them that I like girls but that doesn't mean I like all girls. I'm not sure they'd believe me. Help, please?
Recently, I've been talking about men and feminism a fair bit, and not just in what I write, but in other places online and in real life. This is pretty normal for me, but what's a bit interesting is that a lot of these conversations have been around the relationship of men to feminism and in particular, what role men can play in supporting feminism and women in general.
A lot of this discussion has been about names; and in particular what you call a male identified person who supports and actively promotes feminism. 'Feminist' is the obvious answer, but this can be problematic because the word is SO strongly associated with women, and some feel that there personal, experiential aspects of feminism, along with male privilege (the numerous benefits and opportunities that biological men often enjoy solely on the basis of their sex - better average wages, less harassment, etc) think that is important for the term 'Feminist' to remain exclusive to female identifying people. Other people tRead more...