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.
One of the most troubling things was a statement that rape survivors "compulsively have sex."
This is a very common stereotype. It's one that can be incredibly damaging in several ways. It's also one which has long since been dismantled by rape survivors, people who work in the field as advocates for survivors and educators about rape.
Why was I staying in a house that was falling apart all around me more and more? Why did I keep trying to convince myself I could fix everything when I knew I couldn't, or that my landlord would suddenly do all kinds of things he'd never done? Why did I keep focusing on the small things that I loved about the house when the big things were so awful? Why was I staying so focused on what this house could be, rather than focusing on the way it actually was and was most likely to remain?
One of the big things that got me to these realizations about my house were conversations with some of you about your unhealthy, abusive or otherwise crummy relationships.
Being queer and South Asian isn't easy; being queer and mixed is harder, because any community can put it down to the OTHER identity group. That said, my Indian grandmother has been incredibly supportive, and no one has written me hate mail or disowned me. I'm very grateful for the internet, and for the time I've spent in larger cities. Both give me a sense that there's someplace I might sort of fit in.
Being attracted to men didn't bother me as much as how that attraction would play out. There aren't many black MSMs in the media so it was hard for me to reconcile my race and my masculinity with my attraction to men. I felt as though I would be seen as weak or effeminate by others.
At age 17 during my senior year of highschool, I was at a crossroads. "Should I turn against my religious beliefs and how I was raised or should I listen to my heart and live the life that I want?" I chose to be a righteous Christian and a good daughter. Yet, I felt more disconnected with my Faith each time I prayed about my "ungodly" feelings.
Yesterday, I had my hair cut.
As the stylist called my name, she asked if I would like a shampoo. I politely declined. She then noticed how thick my hair is and she said she was going to take me back to the sink to wet it. And being incredibly used to this, I readily agreed and followed.
But just as she had finished wetting my hair and I expected her to turn the water off, she started squirting stuff on my head.
You probably already know I'm the founder and executive director of Scarleteen. (If not, hello! Lovely meeting you.) You might not know that on Sunday I'm turning 40.
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.