Reaching #SquadGoals with The CSPH
When I left Providence last summer after a summer interning at The CSPH, the staff told me there was no reason to feel any sense of loss. “No one ever really leaves,” they assured me. “You’re a part of The CSPH family.”
A few months later, I received an envelope in the mail. I opened it up to find a sex-positive Candyland-themed poster from the CSPH staff. The cartoon versions of the sex toys that live on the Center’s shelves and the brightly-colored Candyland-inspired path immediately transported me to the CSPH. I remembered sitting on the blue couches in the Center’s library while I packed safer sex packages for RI Pride, wrote sex toy buying guides, talked through my sex educator hopes and dreams with Erin and Kira. My winter afternoon suddenly seemed a little less lonely with a “hello” from my CSPH family.
The CSPH is never far, even if you don’t live in Rhode Island. I’ve been in a long-distance love affair with the CSPH for years. Since I first saw Megan speak as part of the Study Sex College Tour, I became a frequent visitor of the CSPH’s website. It was my go-to source to look up all my sex questions, where I sent friends who had questions I didn’t know how to answer. More importantly, it was a reminder that people like me existed, that I was not a freak for being interested in sex. I loved knowing that there was a place where a fascination with sex was not only celebrated, but being used to make a change in the world.
The CSPH reminds me every day that my choice to be a sex educator is not only valid, but also necessary. We all encounter hundreds of sex negative messages on a daily basis. The CSPH battles these messages and piles of misinformation about sex every day — whether it’s sorting through stacks of questions from college students at the Study Sex College Tour, or assuring a visitor that they don’t have to be embarrassed to ask about the sex toys on the shelves. Eliminating sexual shame is not a quick or easy job. It requires working against years of silence about a topic we have all been told not to discuss in public. This kind of work can’t be done alone; you need a squad.
The CSPH is built by community. It’s a network as strong as a latex condom, composed of staff, interns, and volunteers, visitors to the Center, that person who attended Sex Trivia a few times, the Sticky Stories performer, the Study Sex College Tour student who decided she wanted to grow up to be just like The CSPH’s founder, Megan Andelloux (oh, hello!). The more people the CSPH can reach, the more the community grows.
Why Join the #SexEdSquad
Back in my kitchen while I was sitting with my sex-positive Candyland poster, I had a moment of connection with the Center, even from miles away. Sitting in my kitchen in the middle of suburbia, I wondered what would happen if more people could feel this same connection as powerfully as I did.
I signed up to be a monthly donor and member of the Sex Ed Squad right then and there. Without my team at the CSPH, I wouldn’t even know where to start on how to live a sex-positive life, let alone teach that to others. What if the CSPH could pay interns, so more people would have access to the sexuality educator mentorship that I did? What if the CSPH could reach more colleges in their Study Sex College Tour? What if the CSPH had the resources to attend more conferences and collaborate with sex educators across the country? I wish this could all just happen with some fairy dust, but those opportunities require funds. If my monthly donation can help pay the travel costs for one more college visit, one more conference, and give the amazing educators at the CSPH the opportunity to meet and inspire another hundred people, then I have played a small part in creating a more sex-positive world. Even from my kitchen in the middle of suburbia.
My squad is powerful, strong, intelligent, and fierce. My squad sends me safer sex supplies and stickers. My squad fights for my right to have a happy and healthy sex life. My squad, the Sex Ed Squad, is the definition of #SquadGoals.
Gwendolyn Rosen is a proud former intern of The CSPH and misses Bisquit every single day. She currently works in public relations, focusing on non-profit and education clients. Find her on the Internet at gwendolynrosen.com and on Twitter @gwen_rosen.