It feels a fitting start to open this by telling you that in the most 2020 way possible, we -- including me, the founder of this place, who first launched it frozen in my basement apartment with the entirely unuseful radiator in the ceiling -- forgot our 22nd anniversary earlier this month.
This is a deeply lousy year for Halloween shenanigans. You can't shake candy out of a Zoom meeting, go to a haunted house unless your house is itself haunted, and it's really hard to drum up enthusiasm for a virtual party of any kind right now when we're all sick of the spaces we've been stuck in for months on end, when so many are ill, hurting or both, and, for those of us stateside, when election anxiety has our stomachs and hearts in a vice-grip.
This is also a lousy year for organizations and projects who need donations to keep the lights on and do all the things that they do, Scarleteen very much included. Based on how things have been the last eight months and how we suspect they'll still be for a while, unless something changes, we'll have about $10,000 less to work with this year than we did last year. We’re asking for your help.
I know you'll be flooded this week with people asking for money from you. If your inbox has been anything like mine, you've already suffered through a solid week of targeted marketing landmines and nonstop sparkly coercions to spend money buying everything and anything on earth, no less.
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.
What's that shiny graphic there? Why, that's just a lovely little commemorative doodle we asked artist-in-residence Isabella Rotman to do for our TWENTIETH FREAKING ANNIVERSARY. For real, we turn 20 on Saturday. TWENTY.This queer, scrappy, irreverent little sex education engine that (sometimes barely, but still) could...well, somehow actually did.
One of my projects over the last year has been a full content review of Scarleteen. I have now literally read every blog, every article, every advice column we have ever published. Besides our director and founder Heather Corinna, I don't think anyone else on earth has read as much of Scarleteen as I have.
This summer, Arianna, who is one of our readers, wrote and produced a play at her college about sexuality which also included a fundraising ask for Scarleteen.
This month, Marlena, another Scarleteen user, surprised us with this incredible video she made as part of Project for Awesome, to do what she could to help support what we do and express her experience of what Scarleteen can offer to young people, particularly in a world which is so often unsupportive not just of youth sexuality, but of youth as a whole.