Feb 072011
 

For those who do not know, many sex educators, myself included, were recently attacked in a post/report that claimed that our education on the Brown University campus was a direct correlation of the recent four new cases of HIV within the student population. It stated that people such as myself (a “sex toy representative”) did not have the education to provide sex ed to students, to handle the emotional side of things, etc (of course, they neglected to mention my Master’s in Human Sexuality Education, which provided me with exactly those aforementioned skills). It also insinuated that I was a prostitute, that other educators are connected with obscenity charges and that some educators are contributing to STI transmission by discussion topics such as polyamory (multiple loves) and anal sex, despite our conversations about barrier methods, testing, and intimacy without exchanging bodily fluids.

I have always had a strong commitment to educating individuals and groups about safer sex, including but not limited to STI prevention, pregnancy prevention, consensual activities and emotional safety. As I continue to educate people about the spectrum of sexuality, I will keep including discussions about safer sex practices (including barriers and transmission prevention) for people of all genders and orientations, and also continue my commitment to distribute dams and gloves in addition to the more traditional condoms and lube freebies often provided. Please read and re-post/forward/desseminate the below press release if you believe the positive aspects of sex education, and refuse to condone the slanderous accusations put forth towards us.

-Shanna Katz, M.Ed

For Immediate Release
Sexuality educators set the record straight: “Talking about sexuality does not increase sexually transmitted infections” despite what non-experts report.

Contact: ?Megan Andelloux
HiOhMegan@gmail.com
401-345-8685

Contact: Aida Manduley
Aida_manduley@brown.edu
787-233-0025

In yet another attempt to shut down access to quality sex education, South-Eastern New England conservative advocates hit the sex panic button in a multi-state, email and phone campaign to colleges all over New England last week.

On February 3rd and 4th , certified sexuality educator and sexologist Megan Andelloux (AASECT, ACS) received word that numerous colleges and university faculty received a document stating that colleges who brought sex educators such as Ms. Andelloux onto their campuses were linked to the increasing rate of transmission of HIV in RI. Furthermore, among other misleading “facts” that were “cited,” the author of this bulletin claimed that Brown University was facing an HIV crisis, which is false.

Citizens Against Trafficking, the face behind the fear-mongering, spammed numerous local institutions from a University of Rhode Island account with its latest malicious missive that targeted specific individuals as well as Brown University. The author of the letter, Margaret Brooks, an Economics Professor at Bridgewater State, suggested that colleges and universities that host sexuality speakers, including those who are professionally accredited, are partly to blame for the four new cases of HIV which have been diagnosed amongst RI college students this year.

Ms. Andelloux states: “My heart goes out to those students who have recently tested positive for HIV. However, there is no evidence of any link between campus presentations on sexual issues and the spike in HIV cases. Rather, I would suggest that this demonstrates a need for more high-quality sex education to college students.“ It is unclear why people at URI or Citizens Against Trafficking, a coalition to combat all forms of human trafficking, is attempting to stop adults from accessing sexual information from qualified, trained educators. What is certain however, is that this Professor of Economics miscalculated her suggestion that a correlation exists between increased HIV rates in Rhode Island and the type of sex education these speakers provided at Brown University: one that emphasized accurate information, risk-reduction, pleasure, and health.

Barrier methods have been shown by the CDC to reduce the transmission of HIV and other STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Research has shown that when individuals have access to medically accurate information, are aware of sexual risk reduction methods, and have access to learn about sexual health, the number of infections and transmission of STIs decreases, pain during sex decreases, and condom use increases. The CAT circulated bulletin is blatantly misleading about many issues, and often omits information that is crucial to understanding the full picture of sex education at Brown and in Rhode Island.

When individuals who do not hold any background in sexuality education speak out in opposition because of their fear or prejudice, society becomes rooted in outdated beliefs and pseudo-science that do injustice to people everywhere. Furthermore, when those individuals personally and publicly attack those devoted to providing sex education with false and misinformed accusations, it not only hurts those who are defamed, but also the community at large.

We ask for an immediate retraction of the vilifying and inaccurate statements made by Ms. Margaret Brooks and Citizens Against Trafficking in their latest newsletter. We also ask that esteemed local universities such as URI and Bridgewater State continue to hold their employees to ethical standards of normal scientific inquiry and require that their faculty hold some modicum of expertise in a field of education before raising the public level of panic over it.

Megan Andelloux is available to answer any questions the press, Margaret Brooks, University of Rhode Island or Citizens Against Trafficking holds. Aida Manduley, the Chair of Brown University’s Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council and Brown University’s is available to discuss the upcoming Sex Week and sexuality workshops held at Brown University.

Signed,
Megan Andelloux, AASECT, ACS
Shanna Katz, M.Ed
Reid Mihalko
Aida Manduley

Apr 122010
 

This is cross posted from my other blog, but I feel that it is incredibly important for people every where to read things like this, and to stand up against hate, against stigmatism, against the ridiculous accusations and name call that is loaded onto us by people who claim to be “academics.” It is high time that we stand up against this, that we stand together as a sex positive, inclusive, caring community, and show them that their taunts, their accusations, their hate mongering and their anger have no place here.

One of our “own,” a fierce warrior of sex positivity and transparency, has been attacked by Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks. Maymay, a sex blogger/educator/geek/rockstar/podcaster/etc has come under fire from two people who have also attached Kink for All Providence, the lovely Oh Megan, and many more. I will not link to their original bulletin (which they sent forth to hundreds if not thousands of people), but you can read what Maymay said about the attack here, and about furthering dialogue instead of just throwing stones and insults at each other.

We must stand up for ourselves, and for each other every single day. I lovingly and jokingly (sometimes) refer to myself as a professional pervert, but while I have reclaimed that word, many of us (people who work towards sex positivity; bloggers, educators, authors, etc) have it hurled at us in a negative context on a very regular basis. Whether we teach online, at Planned Parenthood, in a public school, a private school, workshops, through hosing unconferences, etc, we have to fight for the right to be seen as true educators, people teaching a needed or even just “legit” subject.

So when one of us is attacked, whether it is online or in real life, whether we’re being called a pervert or a pedophile or a whore or the anti-christ, we are all being attacked. We are being told that sexuality education is harmful, that we are wrong to want people to be educated and open and have happy sex lives (whether vanilla or kinky, monogamous or not). We are ALL being attacked.

Ergo, I stand up for sexuality education, I stand up for sex positivity, I stand up for the free discussion of sexuality amoungst all people. I am not a pedophile or the anti-christ. I am just someone that believes in equal rights and understanding and education regarding healthy sexuality for ALL people. I stand against the creepy pervert stigma. I stand here, wearing my leopard print and polka dots, taking sexuality OUT of the dark, OUT for the closet, putting it forth for people to see, discuss, talk about, question, understand and more.

I stand in solidarity with Maymay, and with all the other sex positive people who have been stigmatize, and persecuted, and hated on just for wanted to bring open-ness and discussion regarding healthy sexuality to all people.

Stand up against stigma. Speak out. The more we bring forth sexuality in a positive light, and stand together in solidarity, the less slander, libel, hated, threats, name calling and more can affect us.

My name is Shanna Katz. I am a proptent of sex positivity and accessible sexuality education for all. Do not think to shame me. I support others like me, and those I disagree with as well. I support the freedom of speech and the freedom of sex educaton. I stand up for sexuality.

Also, Viviane wrote an excellent post on this as well over at the Sex Carnival. Aida Manduley, the student at Brown who was instrumental in organizing Kink for All Providence also wrote a piece here about the event and speaking up for herself and sexuality.