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Of Condom Charity and Open Houses

As you may have read a few weeks ago, we are in dire straits when it comes to sustaining all that we do here at Scarleteen, and need more support to do so now.  Since we put out that call, we've raised around half of what we need to keep doing all we currently do, thanks to a few hundred generous individuals. Thanks so much to everyone who has given us your help so far!

However, halfway there is only halfway there. When I was in my teens, I was offered a 50% scholarship to the college I most wanted to attend: that was one hell of a scholarship, but attending meant I needed 100% of the tuition, not 50%. That 50% all by itself couldn't, and didn't, get me there.

Halfway won't get us to where we need to be, either. We need to be at that 100% by May 1st, or at least see enough new donors giving in ways we are pretty sure will be more than one-time by then to be sure that within the year, we absolutely will get there.

We're doing our part to get creative about this and find new supporters,

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That Guy

Anyone who knows me or who knows anything about me usually knows that my pre-teen and teen years were incredibly difficult. I dealt with neglect and abuse in my family, starting from about the time I was 10. I was sexually assaulted twice before I even became a teenager. I was queer. I was suicidal and was a self-injurer. I struggled to find safe shelter sometimes. Few people seemed to notice, even though after I gave up trying to use my words, I still used my eyes to try and tell them constantly. The one adult I could count on over time to be unilaterally supportive of me had (still has) serious mental illness. I had to take more adult responsibility at the end of my teen years than anyone else I knew. Like many adolescents, I constantly heard directly or got indirect messages from adults who talked about how awful teenagers were, how awful I was, how difficult, how impossible, how loathesome. Four days after my sixteenth birthday, the first real-deal big-love-me-lover I had, who tre

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Heather and Dan on How It Gets Better

In hindsight, I knew when I was around ten or eleven that I was queer: that I had and was experiencing growing sexual and romantic feelings for people of all genders, not just those of one of for those of a different sex or gender than me, feelings I'd continue to have throughout my teen years and my adult life to date. I didn't have the language for it then, though, even though there were queer adults in my orbit I could have gotten it from, adults I naturally gravitated towards without realizing a big part of why was because I saw myself in them and I really needed them. Looking back, others identified my orientation before I did: a homophobic grandparent, an uncomfortable parent as well as a comfortable and readily accepting parent, and, most important to this particular tale, a group of teenage meanies in the blessedly brief time I spent in a suburban public high school in the 80's who sometimes whispered but other times yelled, "Dyke!" or "Lesbo!" as they passed me in the halls.

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One of the 80 million ways young people are my s/heroes

On top of doing what I do here at Scarleteen (and everything else I do), I also do some outreach sexuality and sexual rights education for a youth homeless shelter here in Seattle. My partner also now works full-time at that shelter, and when he came home last night and filled me in on some things that had gone on that day, I got struck very hard in the gut with some feelings I hadn't fully realized for myself until then, both about that work and the young people there, but also about some of my experiences with some of the users at Scarleteen.

So, I wrote the residents there a letter this morning that I'd also like to share with you, because the way I feel about them is also the way I feel about plenty of you. Because most of Scarleteen happens online, very few of our users are currently homeless or transient, but some have been or will be. In addition, plenty over the years have shared similar struggles, either being in the foster care system or in unsafe homes, surviving loss, ass

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On Identifying Identities

Teenagerhood should be a time of dreams and expansion. We should be allowed to open our inner selves up and absorb as much light and life as we possibly can. We should be, but other people are often too often invested in what they think we should be to let us be what we are.

We Want Your Texts!

(I know, George Michael jokes are probably lost on a lot of you, but I just couldn't help myself.)

We're excited to tell you that we've got a brand spankin' new way for you to get quick answers to your questions even when you're not near a computer. You can now text us! Hooray!

To ask Scarleteen a question via text, just text 66746 and start your question with the keyword ASKST.

We'll pick up the line as quickly as possible just like we do at the message boards to help you or your friends out fast. We can even go back and forth: if you have more questions after asking one (or we didn't answer you as well as you'd have liked), just respond with more and we can continue the conversation.

There is no additional fee for texting us: the cost is the same as whatever it costs you to text anyone else. Your privacy is also completely protected: we can't and won't ever see or get your name or your phone number. Our service will instead assign you a totally random user ID. Your answers will com

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Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Three Words Most Likely to Make My Blood Boil

I hate, hate, hate that phrase. Nearly everywhere I go or look as a young adult sexuality educator anymore, I run into it incessantly.

Let me be clear: I don't hate doing all that we can, to help people of every age to avoid pregnancies or parenting they do not want or do not feel ready for. I'm so glad to do that, and it's a big part of my job at Scarleteen and elsewhere when I work as a sexuality and contraception educator and activist.

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That First Period Talk

Yesterday, after working my second job at the clinic, I was effectively kidnapped by my co-worker Gigi and her ten-year-old daughter Sophia, whom I adore. She calls herself Big Sophia around me, my pug (scroll down this page for a visual) being Little Sofia. We wound up driving from their place to my neighborhood for dinner, which is a pretty long haul. On the drive up, I sat in back with Sophia as she showed me how she plays cards on her Zune, shared her teen magazine with me, and put her headset on my ears to share her favorite music.

As I agreed that Paramore are, as she said, so super awesome and cool, I was reminded of my sense that when girls that age think you're the bomb, you really must be the bomb, and you very much feel as cool as the bands they like when they let you in. It's quite a gift.

At dinner, we sat together as she flipped through the magazine some more -- she still liked me even after insisting she hold my hand as we crossed a busy street, though she may well

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Does being attracted to teenagers make me a pedophile?

curty asks:

I find myself more attracted to teenagers than females my own age (23). Am I becoming a paedophile? It's just that I imagine a teenager having a sense of awe and wonder when it comes to sex that is lost with time (not necessarily with experience).

I'm amazed at my own temerity in asking and having used the "p" word above I'm sure you won't answer my question but I assure you it is genuine. Any chance you know of some resources that may help? Thanks for taking me seriously.

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.