This is a guest post from alphafemme, part of the blog carnival to help raise awareness and support for Scarleteen.
My mother reads Dear Abby religiously. She’s done it for as long as I can remember, always picking out the “Lifestyle” section of our local daily paper and turning to page B2.
Some days growing up, my sister or father would abscond with the section before she got to it to do the crossword or read the comics, but she would keep her eye on it, calling dibs on the section next. As a kid, it didn’t occur to me to question her loyalty to the column, and in fact I blindly followed suit–reading Dear Abby, it seemed, was something one did if one was to be a Woman. I was never all that impressed by the advice “Abby” (Pauline Phillips was her real name, if I remember correctly) doled out, and eventually I got bored of her predictable responses and stopped reading. The act of stopping wasn’t all that memorable or all that conscious; it just sort of slipped away, superseded by more...Read more...
Preface: I was recently asked to participate in a blogathon to support Scarleteen, an online sex education forum for teens. I was flattered. I was humbled. I was a little queasy and had to breathe in a bag for a minute or 12. I decided to contribute the story of how I survived homophobic bullying thanks a single library book. I’m living proof that progressive sex education (no matter how small-scale) makes an enormous difference in the lives of the very young. It’s my hope that all who read my sarcastic, satirically-tinged autobiographical account will consider making an enormous difference by supporting Scarleteen.
"In this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld/ In this life, you’re on your own!" —Prince
High school is a laugh riot. It’s a jolly funhouse where the unpopular and the unusual are punished for their crimes against conformity with a topsy-turvy ...Read more...
Sex ed. We hear that word a lot, but who really knows what sex ed is? It’s short for “sexual education,” but what’s that?
According to my handy dandy dictionary, sex education is: “education about human sexual anatomy, reproduction, and intercourse and other human sexual behavior.” Lots of words, but it’s pretty much learning about the human body and its reproduction. Pretty much straightforward, right? Wrong.
I know how un-straightforward sex ed is, probably more than any other blogger you read. That’s because I attended health class, every day, for 20 weeks less than a year ago.
Every single morning at 7:40am I was in Mr. Hanson’s (he requested I not use his real name) class for 46 minutes. Monday-Friday from December all the way to February, I had to sit in this class. This was a chance for New York State and Pittsford Centra...Read more...
Sade is 17 and works as a youth activist for YWCHAC, a program for and by young women of color that helps foster their development in advocacy training while providing them with the skills to be effective peer-educators to youth on the subject of sexual health. Their mission is to address the increasing rates of HIV infection in young women of color ages 13-24. Sade does a lot of community outreach and events that help develop partnerships with individuals and organizations that have similar goals, events like annual sexual health summits, safer sex education parties, advocacy and STD (STI) workshops, and other community projects.
I got the chance to ask Sade about what she does, why she does it, and what she thinks about some of the issues that impact HIV and young women. I've shortcut my own questions to give her words the spotlight, because she's got some phenomenal things to say that so many people really, really need to listen to.
On what she wants people to know about young wome...Read more...
(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 ...Read more...
Beginning in September, I am going to be employed as Residence Don for an all girls floor at a university. I am pretty exited 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'm a girl, but I've always felt like I'm in the wrong body. Every time I picture myself, I see a boy. I want to get a sex change, but I know how much it can cost. My parents are also Catholic, and are already angry about me not being religious, and every time I try to bring up the subject, they get angry and tell me that I was "made a girl", so I should only feel like one, and that everything else I feel is wrong. But my friends are very supportive, and I even have a guy friend who wants to be a girl. Who do I listen to?
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...Read more...