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Words Mean Things. Specific things.

Just a brief request from us to the world-at-large, primarily with the aim of making our users lives a little easier. Secondarily, it'd also make the lives of those of us who work to help them daily in these areas easier, too, which would sure be nice.

Please do us and everyone else a favor and stop using certain words with very specific meanings as general shorthand.

Often some of these words and frameworks just really aren't shorthand for what you mean, and they confuse the heck out of people and make something even less clear that's already confusing enough. We do have clear, specific language we can use for many of the things people tend to use vague language or shorthand for, and when it comes to something as complex as sexuality and sexual and reproductive health, it really helps people out most when we use the right words to express what we mean.

In other words, this isn't about us or others being nitpicky jerks about semantics. Rather, it's us -- and usually others when they a

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May Day 2014: Scarleteen Strikes (Or, With Your Help, We Don't.)


UPDATE! We -- and you! -- did it!  WE SO TOTALLY DID IT! We met the minimum goal we needed to to avoid a strike and having to shut down any of our services.  We can't thank the 1,000+ of you enough who have helped us do this, and who have made it possible for all the young people who need and use our services to keep on using them without interruption.

Better still? A generous donor who wants Scarleteen to have more than the minimum to work with, and do what they can to get us past surviving and into thriving has offered up a $10,000 match for all donations given from April 15th to May 1st! So, anything you give now through May 1st will be matched, dollar for dollar, for up to $10,000 worth. If we can meet that whole match, that would shuttle us well out of our current crisis and into a better position financially than we have ever been.  Thanks so much to everone who has already given to support us; thanks to you in advance for your gift, too!

UPDATE THE SECOND (now with extra aweso

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Happy 15th Birthday, Scarleteen!

We are 15 years old today. FIFTEEN! (In internet years, that's like being 500.)

We debuted online on December 15th, 1998 and here we are, still rolling, and wanting to keep on rolling some more, in 2013.

I can't thank our donors and supporters, all our volunteers past and present, and the tens of millions of users who have been the heart and soul of what we do, with them and for them, enough for being part of this grand experiment in sexuality education and emerging technologies. So much of Scarleteen is a community, and we have been blessed with a large, deeply diverse and incredible group over the years, one which has challenged, inspired, moved and motivated all of us, myself very much included. As the founder and executive director of Scarleteen, all of you have benefitted my own life, and been part of something I gladly consider the core of my life's work.

We intend to keep at what we do for at least another fifteen years if we can, experimenting and innovating, exploring and d

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Young Sexuality Activists: Steph Herold

This blog post is part of a series here at Scarleteen profiling young people worldwide who are activists in some way in the fields of sexuality, sex education and sexual health.

Steph Herold might be best known for starting the website IAmDrTiller.com, but since getting that project up and running in 2009, she's also started the blog AbortionGang.org, written for RH Reality Check, and put together the Safe Abortion Project and the tumblr I Had An Abortion. She currently sits on the board of the New York Abortion Access Fund, and just finished a master's degree in public health. You can find her on twitter @StephHerold and read more about her work at stephherold.com.

When you started the I Am Dr Tiller Project as a response to the murder of Dr George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas, you were working at an abortion clinic. What got you interested in the issue of abortion and abortion care in the first place?

I grew up in a progressive home in the liberal suburbs of Washington, DC. Abortion w

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Young Sexuality Activists: Jason Ball

This blog post is part of a series here at Scarleteen profiling young people worldwide who are activists in some way in the fields of sexuality, sex education and sexual health.

In September of 2012, openly gay footy player Jason Ball started a change.org petition calling on the AFL (Australian Football League, for all you non-Aussies out there) to air anti-homophobia videos during their grand final. They agreed to show the ads from No To Homophobia during the preliminary finals, and since then, Jason has kept very busy speaking to new AFL players about homophobia in sport, becoming an ambassador for national mental health organization Beyond Blue, and leading the 18th Pride March Victoria through Melbourne with his teammates. You can find him on twitter at @jasonball88.

You’ve had a very busy year, getting a lot of attention with your call for the AFL to do more to tackle homophobia. What is it that sparked that activism, that made you decide to do something?
The one thing that gave

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Can you help us meet our match?

As you may know, we started our major fundraising drive for the year this month.  Our goal, for the year, is to raise just over $40,000 from new donors in order to best sustain, support and grow our organization.

Since we began the drive on the 13th, you've helped us raise just over $5,000. If the donors who chose to give monthly all keep that up for the year, that will get us to $8,500 of the total funds we need. Hooray!

We're still a long way off from raising what we need, though.

Here to help save the day, longtime Scarleteen donor, supporter and superhero (and also kickass science author) Stephen Luntz has offered a $2,000 match for funds we can raise from today at 9AM PST, through Thursday, February 28th, at 9 AM PST. 

That's just $2,000 we need your help generating in the next 48 hours in order to grab those matching funds.

(We won't actually grab them. We'll take them only when offered and then say thank you politely.)

Check out this new infographic from Jacob, a volunteer at S

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After Contraception or Commitment, Why You Still Gotta Rock Safer Sex

We sometimes deal with a tough situation in direct service: a user comes in, and reports having contracted an STI; a user who also isn't a first-time user of our site or services, and who, in a previous conversation with us about pregnancy risks, blew off also talking about STIs and safer sex and turned down help we offered to them to reduce their STI risks, not just pregnancy risks.

When this happens, a person like this will usually be very upset about having contracted an STI, often angry, and even mystified about how this happened to them. Of course, we're rarely mystified and also are not usually surprised this happened, since we already identified risks of STIs when we were talking with them in the past, which is why we brought the importance of safer sex up with them in the first place.

This is one of those things where there's no joy or pride in being right: it stinks to be right about someone getting any kind of illness and being unhappy. Even though the majority of STIs are t

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