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?
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.