The Scarleteen Staff & Volunteers
Heather Corinna: Founder, Director, Editor & Designer
Heather is an activist, writer, artist, teacher and community organizer. Heather 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 is the author of the inclusive, comprehensive and progressive sex, sexual health and relationships book for young adults, S.E.X: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties (DaCapo Press, 2007, 2017), now in its second edition, Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up (Oni Press, 2019), with Isabella Rotman, for older middle readers and younger teens, and the forthcoming What Fresh Hell Is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities and You -- A Guide (Hachette, 2021).
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. Heather is a previous member of the editorial board for the American Journal of Sexuality Education and the Board of Directors for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, a writer and contributing editor for the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, and their young adult sexuality advice was previously syndicated at RH Reality Check (now Rewire).
Heather has won numerous awards, including 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, 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. In 2015, Heather received the Steinem-Waters Award, given to a movement leader over 30 who has exhibited a consistent investment in developing young people in the field of reproductive justice, as well as the Golden Brick Award, recognizing their significant contributions to the field of sexuality education in the Untied States. They were 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 Heather's work with Scarleteen -- and the import of our service -- helped secure an important win for the case.
Their work at Scarleteen and in sexuality education and activism has 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. Heather 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.
Their essays, fiction, poetry and artwork have appeared in their own publications as well as in Teen Vogue, The Guardian (UK), RH Reality Check (now Rewire) Issues Magazine, PIF Magazine, Maxi Magazine, Women's Studies; An inter-disciplinary journal; 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. Their 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. Heather has been quoted in other sexuality books, such as The Whole Lesbian Sex Book and The Mother's Guide to Sex, and their work has been used in a number of university, school and clinic curricula.
Heather was previously a classroom educator and taught in the Montessori method (AMS), and created and ran an independent preschool from 1992 - 1996. A graduate with honors of Chicago's Academy for the Arts, where they studied music and creative writing, Heather won a National Academy of Poets award in her teens. They continued their education at Shimer College, studying literature and sociology, then later studied at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center. In addition, Heather is trained as a facilitator for Teen Talking Circles.
Heather is navigating middle age with as much grace as they can muster (which isn't much), and recently moved back to Chicago, where they grew up, occupied, unceded land that belongs to the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa & Potawatomi, and other tribes. When not working themselves into an early grave, they can be found playing with their dog, hiking, communing with nature, making music, hanging out with their partner, friends and other chosen family and crafting tasty vegetarian delights in the kitchen while crooning tunes from 70's AM radio, all of which the people who love them graciously tolerate without making too many jokes at their expense.
Sam Wall, Assistant Director:
Sam is a sex educator, writer,LSW, and consultant. She started on her path towards Scarleteen as a LGBTQ advocate and peer educator at U.C Davis in 2009. She went on to write a sexual health column for The California Aggie and work for U.C Davis Health Education & Promotion as a sexual health educator. Sam found Scarleteen via Tumblr in 2013, and knew instantly she wanted to be a part of the organization. She joined the team as a volunteer and was thrilled to be brought on as staff in 2015. She answers message board and SMS/text questions, manages social media, writes advice columns and articles, and performs in-person sex ed for parents and young people alike. Sam holds an MSW from U.W Madison. She has experience as a rape crisis advocate/counselor and youth services facilitator. When not doing sex ed, Sam can be found playing roller derby, hiking with her spouse and wiener dog, raising carnivorous plants, writing about cryptids, or pointing out all the things wrong with modern dinosaur movies. She is a contributor to the recently published anthology Youth Sexualities: Public Feelings and Contemporary Cultural Politics. Her non-Scarleteen writing can be found at Death and The Maiden and Autostraddle. She has consulted for the California Science Center and IPPF.
Rachel Ronquillo Gray, People Manager:
Rachel is a writer, poet, baker, home cook, and justice worker. After being a teen peer sex educator at her high school in rural northern Nevada, a campus organizer and college radio DJ at her undergrad, and an AmeriCorps middle school after-school program leader in Washington state, she moved to the Midwest to get an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Since then, she has been an organizer for reproductive justice and a professional baker of vegan treats. She writes poems about Kelly Kapowski (of Saved By The Bell fame) and blogs about her food adventures and the intersections of food, race, pop culture, and justice work. She likes hiking, spooky movies, pro wrestling, and snuggling down with her black cat. Her recent writing and other work can be found at Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Tahoma Literary Review, Hyphen Magazine, Public Radio International’s The World, the Food in Two Worlds podcast, and many other places. Rachel loves supporting people who support others, and is beyond excited to be on the Scarleteam!
Jacob Mirzaian, Lead Developer
Jacob has been a loooong time Scarleteen volunteer (since 2007!), graphic designer and advice counsellor and now Lead Developer, combining their two great passions; supporting young people and fixing technical problems.
Jacob cut their teeth in queer, disability, feminist and LGBT+ student activism, during their BEng in Architectural Engineering at the University of Leeds. They have since taken various roles in youth work, teaching, sexual health outreach, healthcare communication, medical education and web design. Jacob currently works as a TA in special education during the day and spends evenings fixing bugs and preparing upgrades for Scarleteen's website. When there's time they love a good building project and long cosy naps with their cat Lilith. You can find more of their work at jarzaian.com, although circa 2021 it needs a bit of an update to include more recent work.
The Rest of Our Gobsmackingly Awesome Volunteer and Staff Team:
Scarleteen Team Camp, 2018: left to right: Eli, Alice, Heather, Ruby, Sam, Chlöe, Siân, Mo, Jacob, Al.
Al has used and loved Scarleteen since they were a sad and sexually confused preteen. They are currently working as a health educator on a college campus, and their favorite thing about being a burgeoning sexpert is constantly telling people, "yeah, that's totally normal". They are a firm believer in strong coffee, letting yourself grow, and watching bugs.
Alice found Scarleteen while writing a sociology paper on the politics of sex education, and loved what she found. After being a Scarleteen fangirl from afar for a few years, she began working with the organization, mostly in direct service. She also runs the Scarleten Instagram. She deeply believes that everyone has a right to comprehensive, progressive, and inclusive sex education. Along with doing health education, Alice is a preschool teacher. She loves collaging, swimming, and watching coming-of-age films.
Carly is a long-time Scarleteen champion and former volunteer sex education teacher who is passionate about the intersections of sexuality and public health. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Michigan studying health behavior, health education, and policy as it relates to sexual and reproductive health. In her spare time she daydreams about Disneyland, thrifts, and goes on tangents about micro-genres in 80s pop music.
Elise is an arts worker who ardently believes that shared storytelling and creative experiences are important ways of sharing knowledge, ideas, building empathy and self-understanding. She is passionate about social justice and public health, particularly when it comes to access to affirming, inclusive sex and mental health education, and owes a great deal of this passion to her finding Scarleteen during her first year of university. In her free time, she can be found crafting/making (whilst listening to podcasts), running (whilst listening to podcasts) or taking a deep-dive on her latest topic of interest (probably by listening to a podcast). Elise volunteers from the lands of the the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, and acknowledges their Elders; past, present and emerging. This always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.
Emily first learned about Scarleteen through Instagram last summer. While she wishes she found Scarleteen earlier in her life, she’s excited to be a part of the team now! She is currently a student in Boston, and passionate about health in all of its forms, and the role of primary care in facilitating health. In her free time, she loves exploring new dessert recipes and rollerblading.
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.
Scarleteen Team Camp, 2016: left to right, back row: Al, Karyn, Sam, Mo, Casey; middle: s.e., Isabella, Jenn, Heather, Ashleah; front: Jacob.
Jacob has been with Scarleteen since 2007 and they were a teen. They are based in Leeds in the UK and are a youth worker, with additional geeky powers who works in community sexual health, and have another job in digital healthcare. They support young people on the message boards, especially on issues of relationships, abuse and queer identity. They contribute written content, occasional graphics and frequent bad puns to the website. They do in-person outreach for Scarleteen in the UK. Also, they talk to cats, ride a pink bicycle and love making stuff.
Karishma runs an Instagram page (@talkyounevergot) and is a sexual health advocate and educator from India. She earned her undergraduate degree in geology-biology from Brown University, while volunteering with Planned Parenthood to teach sex-Ed to high-schoolers in the U.S. She has also conducted workshops and online webinars with top educational institutions and student groups across India. She is currently working as an analyst at a global development consulting firm. When not working, she enjoys acting for theatre, trying to train her dog and writing poetry.
Marisha hadn't officially decided to seek the path of sexuality education as a primary career goal until later in college, but she's been wading in the waters of body & sex positivy for years. Longtime Scarleteen lurker and former Planned Parenthood volunteer, she is ecstactic to be a part of the team! When she's not on the site, she enjoys watching Youtube videos and playing video games (ask her about her favorite queer dating sims).
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.
Ruby decided when they were in middle school they'd be a sex educator (and was ruthlessly made fun of for it). They persisted, moving on to be part of a Teen Council through Planned Parenthood where she met Heather and found Scarleteen. Ruby is a student trying to figure out how to merge their interests of psychology, Deaf culture, sex education, and social justice. Ruby is mainly a chat volunteer, and occasionally does outreach with Heather and intends on developing a translation of Scarleteen's comprehensive curriculum to American Sign Language. In her free time, Ruby enjoys walking, warm drinks, learning, laughing, and hanging out with her snake, Lulu.
Siân is a self-confessed sex nerd who is brimming with curiosity and way too excited about sharing whatever she's learnt about today with whoever will listen. She came to Scarleteen by searching "how to be a sex educator" after a gentle nudge from a friend. Since then she has kept on learning and found a love of supporting our users on the boards, especially if she can talk to them about being guided by pleasure - not whatever they're "supposed" to want. She's particularly excited share her skills and help new volunteers find their feet. When she's not nerding out here at Scarleteen or studying to become a sex therapist, Siân dances, takes her van out into the mountains, dances, and runs a sex and stuff book club so she can nerd out some more.
Sofia decided she wanted to be a sex educator many years ago, before being lucky enough to be a Scarleteen intern. She grew up in Costa Rica but studied Gender and Sexuality Studies at the Univeristy of Maryland. One of her main goals is to be a sex therapist one day. On her free time she likes to hang with her cats, make press-on nails, and window shop for apartments outside her budget.
Urna is a philosophy student from India. She found Scarleteen during a minor medical freak-out, and was instantly soothed by the site’s “that’s totally normal!” approach to sex ed questions. As a volunteer, she hopes to support other young people with their problems in this field, while also figuring out how best to marry her academic interests in feminist and queer theory with sex education and social justice. When she’s not volunteering on here, Urna loves danmei, learning languages, and mooning over lipstick shades that are guaranteed to wash her out.
Valerie is nerd who is super stoked to be on the Scarleteen crew! They have a passion for social justice, wellness, health, and ability, science fiction (especially speculative fiction), being gay, friendship and platonic intimacy, and learning! When they are not on Scarleteen, they can be found starting their masters in social work, watching anime or single-handedly keeping the CW tv channel in business through show watching, writing fan fiction or cosplaying, belting musical theater in their car, talking about how much they love their disability community and mutual aid, or napping. They hope to continue learning and growing as an educator and hope to be able to incorporate their own experiences as a disabled trans fat person into their approach to sexual wellness. They currently reside outside Chicago on land stolen from Kickapoo, Peoria, Potawatomi, Miami, and Sioux peoples.
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.
Our Writing Team
Our director and several other members of our general staff have created our written content, but we have also benefitted from a fantastic freelance team. Some of our most recent content is due to the talents of:
- Liz Duck-Chong: Liz is a writer, sexual health nerd and photographer who has had articles, interviews and reviews for a range of publications. She co-hosts wholesome sex ed show @letsdoitpodcast, which carefully signposts which episodes are and aren’t 18+.
- Andrew Gurza: Andrew is a disability consultant, writer, and podcaster who has been widely featured on the internet. He travels all over the world talking about what it means to be a “queer cripple” and exploring the intersectionality of queerness and disability. You can follow his work on Twitter @andrewgurza and can hire him at www.andrewgurza.com.
- Manola Secaira: Manola is a writer with special interest in Latinx and environmental justice. She’s based in Seattle, Washington, and has written for sites like Grist and Seattle Met. You can also find her on Twitter…a lot.
- Alaina Leary: Alaina Leary is an editor, social media manager, and activist living in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a social media assistant for We Need Diverse Books. Her work has been published in Washington Post, Boston Globe Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, Chicago Tribune, Seventeen, Marie Claire, and more. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @alainaskeys.
- Bex Shea: Bex writes articles about trans and queer life, media reviews, and social justice issues. They also write fiction about science and magic. When not writing or reading, Bex enjoys roleplaying games, road trips, and paying tribute to their feline overlord.
- Emily Joy: Emily Joy Allison-Hearn is a bisexual married polyamorous poet and yoga teacher who also happens to have a degree in theology and apologetics from Moody Bible Institute. Emily works and writes at the intersection of faith, sexuality and religious trauma, and her passion is to help people break free from purity culture and empower them to embrace sex-positivity in their everyday lives. She tweets too much at @emilyjoypoetry and her other work can be found at www.emilyjoypoetry.com.
- Hannah Boning: Hannah Boning is a queer theologian-poet, cat mom, and recent graduate of Duke Divinity School. She is passionate about making space for shame-free discussion about healthy sexuality for people who were raised in faith-based sex-negative communities. You can find her on Twitter yelling about social justice and the church at @hannahboning and yelling about sex and the church with Emily Joy at @impurityculture.
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 list of some of the individuals we'd like to recognize and acknowledge for their ongoing availability to give us help and advice:
- Aspen Baker, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Exhale
- Hanne Blank, Author Big, Big Love and Virgin: The Untouched History
- Becky Cavender, Cedar River Clinics
- Laurel Chance
- Ronete Cohen, psychologist, The Rainbow Couch
- Sarah Dopp, Genderfork
- Ann Douglas, parenting expert and author, The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Mother of All Parenting Books
- Dr. Jessica Fields, Associate Professor of Sociology at San Francisco State University and Senior Researcher at the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality
- Rev. Debra Haffner, Director, The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing
- Dr. Marty Klein, therapist and author
- Elizabeth Rae Larson, MS, DHS, LMHC, FAACS, Director, Seattle Institute for Sex Therapy, Education & Research
- Dr. Logan Levkoff, Sexologist and Author
- Dr. Ruth Neustifter, relationship coach and sexuality educator
- Amie Newman, Managing Editor, RH Reality Check
- Judy Norsigian, Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves
- Dr. Deborah Oyer, Medical Director, Aurora Medical Services
- Dr. Carol Queen, Center for Sex and Culture
- Audacia Ray, Program Officer for Online Communications and Campaigns, the International Women’s Health Coalition and co-founder of Sex Work Awareness
- Cory Silverberg, About.Com Sexuality Guide
- Rev. Leela Sinha
- s.e. smith
- Audra Williams, Lefty Lucy Communications
- Ben Wizner, ACLU Attorney (for identification purposes only)
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 in the early years, when we had fewer ways to give all the props, include Hanne Blank, 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 first Drupal version of Scarleteen, which was a Herculean task. The current version of Scarleteen is still fueled by the open source platform Drupal.
Illustrations of Heather, Sam (with Troublepants) and Rachel are © Isabella Rotman!