The Scarleteen Staff & Volunteers
Heather Corinna: Founder and Co-Director (they/them)
Heather is an activist, writer, artist, teacher and community organizer. Heather has been widely recognized as a pioneer of queer, women's and young adult sexuality information and education online, having brought inclusive, feminist, original and comprehensive sexuality content to the web and beyond since 1997. Heather is the author of 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 What Fresh Hell Is This? Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities and You -- A Guide (Hachette, 2021). Heather is also a founding and current sexuality chair at Our Bodies, Ourselves Today.
Heather has 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 served 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.
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 many articles about sexuality, appeared on radio shows, and has lectured and given workshops and trainings at many youth and adult conferences, colleges, schools, clinics, bookstores and other community gatherings.
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. 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 an early childhood classroom educator, 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, then later studied at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center. Heather is also trained as a facilitator for Teen Talking Circles.
Heather is navigating middle age with as much grace as they can muster (not 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 partners, friends and other chosen family and crafting tasty vegetarian delights while crooning tunes from 70's AM gold.
You can view a very dusty version of Heather's CV here, should you be so inclined.
Sam Wall: Co-Director (she/her)
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.
Jacob Mirzaian: Co-Director (they/them)
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.
Amanda is a lifelong sexuality and reproductive health and rights advocate who is thrilled to work as a Scarleteen volunteer. She earned her Masters of Education in Human Sexuality and Masters of Public Administration in pursuit of a career promoting comprehensive sex education nationwide. In her free time, Amanda appreciates trying new recipes, exploring the outdoors, and enjoying live music.
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.
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.
Nicole is excited to be working at Scarleteen as the Administrative Assistant and is a Counseling Psychology MA student. She is passionate about mental health, sex education, human sexuality, queer history, and pop culture. She takes pride in her first-generation American identity and is of Ukrainian Jewish heritage. In her free time, she enjoys listening to an array of genres of music and spending time with friends.
Scarleteen Team Camp, 2016: left to right, back row: Al, Karyn, Sam, Mo, Casey; middle: s.e., Isabella, Jenn, Heather, Ashleah; front: Jacob.
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.
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!