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Heather is an activist, writer, artist, teacher and community organizer. She has been widely recognized as a pioneer of both women's and young adult sexuality information and education online, having brought inclusive, feminist, creative and comprehensive sexuality content to the web and beyond since 1997.
Heather has also been a sexuality, contraception and abortion educator and counselor for the Cedar River Clinics/Feminist Women's Health Center, and the director of the CONNECT teen outreach and education program in Seattle which serves transient/homeless youth, reproductive health patients, high school and college students and others. She is on the editorial board of the American Journal of Sexuality Education, a writer and contributing editor for the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, was a 2010- 2012 member of the Board of Directors for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, and her young adult sexuality advice is syndicated at RH Reality Check.
Heather was the winner of The Champions of Sexual Literacy Award for Grassroots Activism from the National Sexuality Resource Center/SFSU in 2007; in 2009 the winner of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Western Region's Public Service Award and the Our Bodies, Ourselves' Women's Health Heroes Award. In 2012, she won the Joan Helmich Educator of the Year award, and in 2013, The Woodhull Foundation's Vicki Award, for affirming sexual freedom as a fundamental human right. She was also a lead plaintiff in the ACLU vs. Gonzales case, arguing against the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which could have removed young adults' access to needed sexuality information, and her work with Scarleteen -- and the import of our service -- helped secure an important win for the case.
Her work at Scarleteen and in sexuality education and activism have hailed acclaim or attention from numerous publications, including The Utne Reader, The City Pages, Alternet, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Siren, The Industry Standard, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, The Chicago Tribune's RedEye, The Nation, Feministing, The Minnesota Women's Press, The Boston Phoenix, Ms. Magazine, The New York Times, HipMama, Bust, Bitch, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Oxygen Network, Estronet, Yahoo!, Lavender Magazine, and The Woman's Guide to Sex on the Web. She has been quoted in numerous articles about sexuality, appeared on many radio shows, and has lectured and given workshops and trainings at many youth and adult conferences, colleges, schools, clinics, bookstores and other community gatherings. Heather is also a member of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
In 2007, DaCapo Press released Heather's S.E.X.:the All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College, a comprehensive and fully inclusive young adult sexuality, sexual health and relationships guide. Her essays, fiction, poetry and artwork have appeared in her own publications as well as in The Guardian (UK), Issues Magazine, PIF Magazine, Maxi Magazine, CleanSheets, LeisureSuit.Net, Other Rooms, Cherrybomb, Sexilicious, Blood Moon, BAACHOR Magazine (in which her essay "The Door Into One Moment, Eternal," was nominated for a Pushcart Prize) and Batteries Not Included. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have also appeared in the anthologies Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, Viscera, The Adventures of Food, Aqua Erotica, Zaftig: Well-Rounded Erotica, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 1 & 2, Shameless: An Intimate Erotica and Penthouse and will appear in the forthcoming anthologies Breakthrough Bleeding: Essays on The Thing Women Spend A Quarter Of Their Time Doing, But No One’s Supposed To Talk About and What We Think: Gender Roles, Women's Issues and Feminism in the 21st Century. Her photography and visual art have been shown at/in 555 Gallery, Sex Worker Visions (New York), Babes in Toyland, Jane's Guide, Michelle 7, On Our Backs, the Bryant-Lake Bowl, Trixx (to benefit the GLBT youth center, District 202), The Independent, The Mammoth Book of Erotic Women, SEAF 2004 and other venues. She has been quoted in other sexuality books, such as The Whole Lesbian Sex Book and The Mother's Guide to Sex, and her work has been used in a number of university, school and clinic curricula.
Heather was previously a classroom educator; she taught in the Montessori method (AMS), and created and ran an independent alternative Kindergarten and pre-Kindergarten from 1992 - 1996. A graduate with honors of Chicago's Academy for the Arts, where she studied music and creative writing, she won a National Academy of Poets award in her teens. She continued her education at Shimer College, studying literature, erotic spirituality and sociology, then later studied at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center. In addition, she is trained as a facilitator for Teen Talking Circles.
Heather is entering middle age with as much grace as she can muster, and currently lives and works on a rural island outside Seattle, Washington. When not working herself into an early grave, she can be found owning the cliché and playing with her dogs, practicing yoga, communing with the forest, hula-hooping, jangling about with instruments, dreaming up art, and crafting vegan delights in a kitchen her partner calls their "favorite restaurant" while loudly crooning tunes from 70's AM radio, all of which the people who love her graciously tolerate without making too many jokes at her expense.
Alice has been a volunteer at Scarleteen since 2008. She primarily works in the SMS/text service and also does local outreach. She is a full-time student on a medical path and works various part-time jobs. She spends her time studying, reading, playing with her fantastic kid, baking and being one with nature. (Currently on leave.)
Casey has been volunteering since 2009, and is also the lead tech developer for Scarleteen. She is a big nerd in lots of areas, and has always been interested in sexuality and how cultures deal with it. She loves to help teenagers navigate their way safely to adulthood, and think everyone deserves the knowledge to have safe and happy sexual lives and relationships.
Cecilia, our high school intern, is a seventeen-year-old high school student, writer, feminist, and cat person from the Seattle area. For the past three years, she's worked with Planned Parenthood as a reproductive health educator, where she developed a passion for youth advocacy and social justice. She loves all things glittery, hates horror movies, obsessively listens to Taylor Swift (quite possibly a feminist no-go), and is fascinated by the portrayal of gender and sex in modern media. When not educating her peers, writing about social issues, advocating for reproductive rights, or studying for an upcoming calculus test, Cecilia can be found cuddling with her cats, Sam and Bella. (Currently on leave.)
Edith is a relentless dreamer and globetrotter by choice. Always moving from one place to another with no more than her computer, camera, dog, memories and some music. You can find her having long conversations with the moon at midnight. Edith came to Scarleteen because she truly believes in the power of education, has always had questions and loves places that have answers. She loves of art, books, coffee and choices, and believes in the possibility of a better world where, one day, everybody will feel safe enough to smile, dance, love and be loved.
Isabella Rotman, our artist-in-residence, is a Chicago cartoonist and illustrator from Maine who truly cares about your genital well being. She is the author of the queer and quirky sexual health book You’re So Sexy When You Aren’t Transmitting STDs and a recent graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Other than educational comics, Isabella’s art is usually about the ocean, mermaids, crushing loneliness, people in the woods, or sex. If any of the above interests you then you may enjoy her self published comics or blog ThisMightHurt.Tumblr.com.
Jacob has been a Scarleteen volunteer since 2007 and is an aspiring feminist community activist and Architectural Engineering student based in Leeds, UK. He finds respite in quality conversation time with old friends, painting, designing websites, reading poetry, singing with his guitar, studying in big old libraries and taking afternoon tea. Jacob answers questions on relationships, gender identity, GLBT community and sexual orientation, adds to graphic design for Scarleteen and does outreach and networking in the UK.
Joey has been a volunteer for Scarleteen since 2007. She works mostly in direct service on the message boards, and writes for the blog. She is a big sex geek and is especially interested in queer sexualities and different gender expressions. This interest is also mirrored in her doctoral research on pop-cultural representations of transsexuality, and the classes she teaches as a graduate assistant. When she is not reading, writing or talking about sex, she likes to cook, watch Star Trek and hang out with her friends.
Karyn has been volunteering for Scarleteen since early 2006. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she's working on her PhD. Most of her work at Scarleteen is with the message boards and chat service, but she also blogs from time to time. When not geeking out about sex in some way, she can be found enjoying a coffee, doing yoga, reading dystopian fiction or ogling fountain pens in her favourite stationery store.
Mo is a long-time Scarleteen reader and supporter who started volunteering in 2013. He trained as a crisis response volunteer with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center of Chapel Hill and has been involved with several support & social groups for trans* folks, both in central North Carolina and in the Bay Area. His areas of interest are varied, but usually center on gender identity, consent and communication in relationships, and support for survivors of rape and sexual assault. In his spare time he can be found climbing the hills of San Francisco, making delicious food, or reading. He will happily talk your ear off about roller derby.
Patricia has been a Scarleteen volunteer since February of 2013 after being a reader and user of the site for nearly seven years. In addition to working on projects behind-the-scenes, she can be seen contributing on message boards, the online chat function, and the occasional science-related article. A medical laboratory scientist by training, she is currently studying traditional Chinese medicine full time on the beautiful island of Oahu she calls home. Patricia enjoys practicing calligraphy, belly dancing, and making up song lyrics when singing along with the radio. (Currently on leave.)
Redskies is passionate about education and learning, and is particularly interested in issues around opportunity and access to education. She discovered Scarleteen around 2009, promptly revolutionising her own knowledge of all things sexuality, sexual health, consent, healthy relationships and recovery from abuse, and acquired the conviction that truly comprehensive sex education is vital for health, freedom and happiness. She tries to act on her convictions wherever possible, so became an active community member from 2011 and a volunteer from 2013.
Stephanie has been volunteering for Scarleteen since 2008. She co-directs the SMS/text service, answers questions at the boards, and helps updating articles on the main site. Currently Stephanie is a Special Education and Sexual Education teacher for an Alternative School in the Johnstown area. She loves to travel and hopes to see the world.
Sam found Scarleteen via Tumblr, and knew instantly they wanted to be a part of the organization. With a background in sexual health education (Sam worked as both a sexual health educator and a sex ed columnist in college), Scarleteen’s philosophy and goals are a perfect match. If you find Sam on the site, it will most likely be on the message boards or answering advice columns). In addition to a passion for comprehensive sex ed, Sam is an ardent ally of the LGBT community, a major nerd, and a semi-ok chess player.
Beyond being incredibly valuable to us, our young adult volunteers also get experience of value to them by volunteering at Scarleteen. Here's what a few of them have to say about it:
Scarleteen has been my virtual home-away-from-home for the past six years and counting, throughout many physical moves and positive life changes. I came for the information -- accurate, up-to-date, all-inclusive, and sex-positive -- and stayed for the community -- warm, welcoming, and worldly. It's currently about commitment for me -- I volunteer because, as I've said before, Scarleteen completely revolutionized the way I view sex and sexuality. Now I seek to help others feel that same sense of empowerment.
I like volunteering because I just freaking love it here. More specifically, I love the community aspect of it, the feeling that if all of us volunteers managed to get together in person, we'd probably stay up all night sharing stories, having awesome conversations, and laughing. It's also nice to know that I am far from the only person who cares about the issues we address here. I also love that I learn something new. Every. Single. Day. Whether it's a new fact, a new way of explaining something that makes it easier to understand, or a new perspective on something, I learn something every time I'm here.
I've also gotten started on a pretty awesome career because volunteering here helped me figure out what I was interested in, but that's just an added bonus, really.
I'm volunteering because Scarleteen's ethos of providing feminist, queer-positive, sex-positive and inclusive sex education to youth is what I'm passionate about, what I love to study, and what I need. I don't have access to any other public space where my whole sexual, messy, queer, curious self is encouraged and supported. By volunteering, I'm able to connect with like-minded others who believe that every human being has the fundamental right to honesty, knowledge, care and pleasure. Even though this is an online service, knowing that I am part of a shared project gives me the confidence to carry these conversations and this activist work into my day-to-day life.
We often ask respected supporters, friends and colleagues to look something over for a second opinion or additional information we need, or for consult with some part of the website or organization. Following is a core list of those individuals we'd like to recognize and acknowledge for their ongoing availability to give us help and advice:
Special recognition is due to Hanne Blank, who has been advising us on Scarleteen right from the start, and who played a big role with development of the site from its inception.
Other authors and educators who have generously contributed content to Scarleteen include Hanne Blank, Kate Storm, Audra Williams, James Elliott, Emira Mears, Ophira Edut, Caro Buccheim, Malcolm Gin, Janel Hamner, Clare Sainsbury, M. Christian, Kythryne Aisling, Laurel Martinez, and Josh Cuppage.
A huge shout-out to the magnificent Garrett Coakley, developer extraordinaire and dear friend, for his generous help building the Drupal version of Scarleteen, which was a Herculean task. The current version of Scarleteen is fueled by the open source platform Drupal. As well, the primary licensed fonts used in the design are the work of Diane DiPiazza at DincType, the Canada Type Font Foundry, and and the Flat-It type foundry.