Igniting Change: Shaping Public Discourse on Sexuality, by Summer Starling
Feminist poet and activist Audre Lorde relayed advice she got while preparing her 1977 speech “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”: Her daughter simply said that you’re never really a whole person if you remain silent. Silence is oppression.
A culture of voicelessness around sex - from slut-shaming to parental discomfort to counter-productive sex education policies on down - makes it that much harder to truly understand disparities in STD rates, choices young people make about condoms and how they communicate about sex. Fighting sexual health disparities begins with authentic voices.
Training to become a research scientist to address adolescent sexual health is allowing me to refine my voice in public discourse about sexuality from an informed place. I see this as my biggest personal triumph and the way I’m most suited to help make a difference. I hope my work helps girls in some small way to actualize and voice what matters most to them for their (sex) lives. Isn’t that what feminism is all about?