Hey! I'm Chanté Thurmond, and I'm the new curator of the Sexuality in Color blog, as well as Scarleteen's Growth and Advancement Advisor. Before I share a quote that's been in my heart lately, and a shortlist of a few exceptional PoC who consistently add value to the culture and to their respective communities, I want to share a brief backstory about my journey to Scarleteen.
Big day? Fighting with insecurity? Got a hot date? ARE the hot date? Starting a new project, school or job? Going to do something where everyone's watching? Coming out? Just got tested or asked for what you really, really wanted in bed for the first time?
Whether your friends are your boyfriend, your dog, your best friend from almost the minute you were born, your third cousin, your booty call, your Dad, your guitar teacher, your downstairs neighbor, your brother, your girlfriend, your iguana, your teammates, your band, your Mom, your gaming group, your sister, your cat, your uncle, your cool new friend from work, your lover, your secret crush, your guardian, your gerbil, your stepmom, the kid you mentor, your choir director, your sponsor, your lab partner, your co-author, that cool person you always talk to the whole way home on the bus, your training buddy, the lunch lady, your locker next-door neighbor, or anyone else, this one's for them. And for you, friend.
Bonnie Rough echoes many comprehensive sex educators in her assertion that it is often adult discomfort with the idea of children being sexual beings, or an inability to see things like nudity in a non-sexual light, that drives the way they interact with children’s sexuality. She’s honest about the ways in which she, and many other well-meaning parents, can be so focused on how they can prevent negative outcomes of sex that they inadvertently reinforce harmful, sex-negative messages. She poses an alternate question for parents to ponder in place of merely thinking about how to prevent negative outcomes: what are my hopes and dreams for my children in their sexual lives?
Real-deal consent requires clear, open and honest communication. And if we're going ahead and actually being sexual together in some way, that also means an ongoing, nuanced and pretty highly situational process of communication, not just one or two super-quick, super-basic exchanges.
Not only is communication as a process essential to keeping it consensual, it's a big part of sex actually being any good for everyone involved.
It’s Scarleteen’s 20th birthday. I feel like Scarleteen is ALL GROWED UP. Millions of people who have used Scarleteen over the last two decades, or have been part of it as volunteers or other staff, are now, too. Some of us who were part of Scarleteen as teenagers are even now the parents of teenagers or soon-to-be's ourselves.
Scarleteen turns 20 years old today. Twenty.
For two decades, we’ve delivered our unique and innovative brand of sex education, despite many financial, legal, political and practical barriers and battles. That kind of tenure for anything on the internet is unheard of, let alone for a grassroots, feminist sexual health, sex and healthy relationships initiative and alternative education project for young people, and one that was (and still is) queer, working class and woman-led.
Centering and serving young people, sexuality and relationships like we do, with inspired quality, care and vision, and doing so independently — and for free — for so long is so rare. Very few organizations and resources have consistently delivered all of what we do, as well as we do, and to as many as we have, for this long.