Queer Doc (they/them): Here we go. Hi everyone. Welcome back to the queercene podcast. I am super excited to be hosting Heather today. Who is the founder and creator of Scarlettin. One of my favorite resources to share with my young trans patients looking for sexual health education. Heather would you like to introduce yourself?
Heather Corinna: Sure. Hi. I'm glad that you that you have me here yet. We're at it's almost it'll be at the end of this year. It'll be 25 years of Scarlettanian. So, yeah, I've found it scarlettina. I've been the director of Scarlettine for 25 years. Just feels bananas. I write books also. You know, I'm kind of an education theory dork. I've been that way. My whole life. I'm also one of these people. I always, like learning new things, which makes working in sexuality perfect because You literally can never know anything. It changes all the time. There's always more information. Yeah, and I'm talking today from a blue Chicago, winter day.
Queer Doc (they/them): Um and I I I'm super excited to dive into some of what you do but we usually try to have people start with like sharing their identity and their pronouns. And specifically my work is focused on transhealth education. And I'm a community member and we work pretty hard to like raise up other voices in the community. So if you're comfortable sharing those things, I'd appreciate it.
Heather Corinna: Absolutely. I'm a queer, a gender person and I use They/them, one of these people that I pronouns Eric may no matter what but They/them is the is the best I'm gonna get, right?
Queer Doc (they/them): right, I like on many of my walks around Seattle, like drafts new pronouns in my head trying to find The the one, right? And I think my idea the other day was on, like, how, like I was trying to come up with a pronoun that would allow me to refer to someone when I don't know their gender, right? Which I feel like a lot of times, I default. So They/them. And for some people,…
Heather Corinna: Sure.
Queer Doc (they/them): like They/them doesn't like it's not their pronoun. Right? And so, I was like, Is there like at a pronoun? That's like unknown. That isn't also a pronoun. Other people claim. You know.
Heather Corinna: Maybe should be no. um,
Queer Doc (they/them): Ma right? So I was like I was like, Yeah and I'm going to the store, you know, unless they're purse like I was. Anyways look my brain on a Seattle rainy.
Heather Corinna: there. Sure.
Queer Doc (they/them): Walk. And lovely. And then yeah, tell us a little bit more about how Scarlettique well like what you do at Scarlettine and how it fits into like kind of the trans healthcare and space.
Heather Corinna: Sure, you know, when being having been around for as long as we've been around, you know, when we kind of first came into things, we my background, when it comes to educational theory is very Big and Montessori. And so, you know, to me, It.
Heather Corinna: Has kind of always been the way to teach to like someone asks you for a thing and you feel what that need is and so you know, and in some cases that's for better or for worse because with scarlettine when we first started it was just letters from young women and girls right? Like a various orientations but cisgender young women and girls and so that's who I made content for because that's who was talking to us and then you know, some cis guys filtered it so we kind of added there and then, you know,
Heather Corinna: I'm queer, right? Like I mean it's one of those things. It's always so funny when people ask if it's inclusive it's like well of what of who. Right? Like that person. I'm I'm right here. I can't not include myself. Like it's just it's a thing. But you know, I think that fairly early on in like Internet Sex Ed History. We had transgender nonconforming users that we were working with and starting to provide content with. But in terms of the need, I would say it was late in the game, right? Like not late on the bell curve but the bell curve. We had a really low slow bar.
Queer Doc (they/them): A little behind.
Heather Corinna: And so you know, again just like that once as our audience has kind of diversified, you know, the the way that we've come at things is that someone asks us for a thing and we do the best that we can to fill. that need and scarlettine started with people writing letters and and so there's always been a vehicle for finding out what the people that we're working with actually want to need rather than say for instance you know you get A National Institutes of Health grant and it tells you that everyone needs to know how to prevent Chlamydia. So, in order to get paid this amount of money, what you're going to do is make a thing that's about now, never mind. If no one I'm working with is asking me about this, right? Remind if no one I'm working with is asking for something else entirely. I can't go back to them and be like but actually that's not the Amy because that's not how any of this works.
Queer Doc (they/them): Right? And I love that, you're emphasizing rate. That Scarlettin is driven by what your readers are asking for, and what they need because I find similarly, like, I just did a lecture for providers about transsexual health that had nothing to do with STIs because you can hear the STI lecture from 40 other teachers and right. Like we've Nailed that coffin or whatever? Something,…
Heather Corinna: Yeah.
Queer Doc (they/them): I don't know, there's an expression for that but and definitely the way I use your website all the time. And with my like, young transfusions is like patients asking me like How do I have anal sex? Like, How do I prep for anal receptor practices? Like My parents? Don't know how to talk about this? I don't know what to do. You know, like How do I know, like, how to talk about consent? Like, You know, all of these kind of more practical things about sex and interpersonal, relationships and pleasure. And so, that's definitely. I have like a few of your blogs that are on my like pick lists that I just send as resources to patients and I would love also you to like explain the scarlettine, like set up in world because it's it's a big website with a lot of pages and so maybe giving clinicians like an overview of what they'll see when they go there so they kind of know where to head would be amazing.
Heather Corinna: You sure. Yes, so that piece I'm talking about how we still use, you know, reader slash user input, to figure out what we want to do. There's, you know, at the very start of things with scarlettine, there were questions and there were answers but really quickly because the Internet was new. We could have a message board, we still have a message board. We actually had to retire. The original one, I don't know, five or six years ago, it was very sad. We kept it as an archive for a while but
Heather Corinna: Um, and users can come there to talk to us directly. Now, we also have, we've had for a long time. It's, it's been over a decade an SMS text line that you can do that there. And then we also have a live chat and when you go to the website, whether you're going on a phone or you're you're going on a lap, you know, on your desktop computer, you'll see like a really clear thing that says Do you need help, right. Right. And some of that is, It is a big website. There is a lot in it. And if somebody for instance, is in something, especially time sense, if right? Like, I've just been assaulted, I don't know what to do. I think I might need emergency contraception. Do I don't die, right? I need an abortion, right? And how many weeks along you know my we don't want anybody to get frustrated by trying to find what it is. We baking come to us and when they come to us we can do a few different
Heather Corinna: Things we can go ahead and just give them the information they want in the conversation we have or we can refer that we can say You know here is this information. This information, this information on the site often We'll do both right. Here's some links to this but we're right here and you're right here so you can read them and then come back you could talk to us now and hit those up later whatever.
Queer Doc (they/them): Is that is that stuff 24 hours?
Heather Corinna: So, it's staffed when we can staff it.
Queer Doc (they/them): Okay.
Heather Corinna: You know, our our team of volunteers is all over the place which is nice. Right? Like we all work remotely so we can cover a bunch of different time zones and that's just really what it comes down to it. And we're not a huge team, so some days yes, other days. No. But, you know, I always have my eye on it, somebody out where, you know, we're alone.
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah.
Heather Corinna: Maybe a little over dedicated sometimes. It's also not uncommon that a text will see a text coming on my phone and I'm off but I'm not take the text anyway, especially if it looks, you know, somebody's not in a good way like they don't look like they can just go take care of themselves.
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah.
Heather Corinna: So you'll you know, that's kind of front and center when you come. But so also are you know usually kind of our most recent static articles or featured articles and you know what that is? Really runs a very wide gamut, you know, and it's the kinds of things that you're talking about everything from anatomy to relationship skills to again, you know, sexual health stuff, sexual healthcare abortion, pregnancy parenting. I mean, like it's It's pretty big.
Heather Corinna: At this stage of things. So those articles will be there. You'll see, also the advice columns and answers, You know, that's another. Again, a really big way that directly somebody comes. They ask us, we answer that. And usually in those answers, you'll see again, somebody, you know, who's written a bunch directly to this person, but then says, There are these five core pieces.
Heather Corinna: You can look at those for this, I mean, I think one big thing to bear in mind is that we we take our time, putting new pieces out,…
Queer Doc (they/them): You.
Heather Corinna: because we really want everything, we're doing to be as evergreen as possible, and there's some stuff that we've had to update it. Over the years we've had to go in because, I mean, especially in anything sexual or gender identity language changes, all of the time accessed things, unfortunately, and every direction changes all of the time. But we really try and build things that especially like, you know, someone like yourself a provider, will have seen it and two or three years from. Now, if they send it to somebody again, it's it's still good. I mean, this is kind of the beauty of working on the Internet also, right? Is that I do. I do a book that I've made second edition so but inevitably because it's health information.
Heather Corinna: A minute that it's hitting the process that we sum, and I'll be like, darn it right? Like, it's always like, because it changes all the time, or even, you know, you'll see parents or other providers, who really, really loved a sex education book when they were younger. And so, they suggest the same book with that book hasn't been updated, right? So in that book,…
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah.
Heather Corinna: it'll be like Preventing each other like presenting HIV. Is a death sentence or No everything is hyperbinary or I mean like it's just it's like Yeah was great for you with the time but they it's that's literally that same book and like what the world has.
Queer Doc (they/them): The world moved on. Yeah.
Heather Corinna: So it's, I mean, it is really one of the best things with the medium that we're in, is that?
Heather Corinna: We can always update everything. Now, keeping track of everything to know what to update. Like we everything we have a different process,…
Queer Doc (they/them): Oh my God.
Heather Corinna: we try and run it all through. It's a lot.
Queer Doc (they/them): I can I can only imagine because I know how big my website is and how hard it is. When I change something to remember all the places, I need to change it in my website is like, you know probably a tenth of the size of yours.
Heather Corinna: But there's like 10,000 pages like What,…
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah.
Heather Corinna: right? Like not if you printed it at pages, I don't even want to think about it but there.
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah.
Heather Corinna: Yeah. And we don't, you know, the advice columns because the letters like have a certain date. Those we usually don't update every now and then if we think something will steer, somebody really wrong will like, leave a little comment to be like this was 2002, It's not anymore and we do we're kind of in the middle right now of
Heather Corinna: Doing some major changes to our UX to just upgrade it on. We've we are pretty decided on that we're going to create an archive where there's some stuff where like we hate to see it go and it's like but you know what, we can put it there and there everything will have something over it to be like We don't update this anymore. This is just here…
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah.
Heather Corinna: because it's historically important to us or maybe you find it interesting to see this older.
Queer Doc (they/them): Probably. Yeah, yeah. So I think and like, it's scarlettina such an amazing resource and you know, like I said, I primarily use it to give specific references to my young patients, looking for information on like in our personal relationships and and more around you, and you have plenty of, STI, education stuff and safer sex education stuff on there. And but like again, so many of the kids I work with are actually more interested in the like mechanics of how things work, right? Because no one. No one is teaching trans kids.
Queer Doc (they/them): Sex. Ed that actually helps them queer kids. I mean, we hardly teach cis kids, like sex, Ed. That is actually about like how things work, right? And we're really great at teaching kids. If they're lucky in a good school system like about seis and about pregnancy, but we're not really good about teaching them about pleasure and consent and, you know, safety and relationships, and all of those things. And so, I definitely use your website for that. I have not recommended the like live chat, the SMS text, or the message boards which I think those are phenomenal resources that I will definitely add to my toolbox to share with patients.
Heather Corinna: and I, Yeah I think it's a nice thing to say to them two when you're sending them to the site or to the article to say If when you read any of this you have any questions about it or you don't like you feel like you almost found the information you're looking for but it either like wasn't exactly for you or whatever like you need to tailor it or you're having a hard time finding what you need. That's you can use those.
Queer Doc (they/them): And that would be great for our providers to like like clinicians. If you have a young person or or an an older person like you're content is not exclusive to teenagers. It's just written in a way that teenagers came comprehend and and looking for specific information and you can't find it on the web on the Scarletty website. You could just pop into that message board or chat and say, Hey I'm looking for some recommendations for a patient of mine on this. Like Can you pull together some of your resources for me?
Heather Corinna: and the text service and the text service because of how all this works with cell providers can only be within the United States but for people within the United States, it's Perfect for that because then you just put the number in your phone and then you can just hit it up right there.
Queer Doc (they/them): Love it. I love that.
Heather Corinna: Yeah.
Queer Doc (they/them): And then, Out.
Queer Doc (they/them): I think some of the other things we talked, we kind of landed on inclusive video. Um, you know, and one of the one of the reasons Scarletten is one of the websites. I pick working with my patients is a lot of times. A lot of the content language is gender-neutral and a lot of the and again the letters that Heather's talking about because they're coming from readers won't always be but a lot of the content that Scarlettin is creating is general neutral and and we'll talk about anatomy not gender when we're talking about sex education, which I really appreciate. And all of my patients. Really appreciate. And so like I love that part. I think one of the things I'm working towards in my own work is as an educator is making my inclusivity, integrated throughout my teaching, as opposed to being, like a highlights real on a slide deck, which is where I feel like it is right now. So I'm definitely thinking in my own work. Like how is the content I'm creating?
Queer Doc (they/them): Like you know, how is it supporting like health at every size? Like where is your work? Kind of intersecting with that population as well.
Heather Corinna: Sure, I mean, really from the very, very beginning being very body positive and not all, I mean, back at the time. When all we really knew to say was like, Love your body, we did plenty of this. We are now Okay, on innocent of being a good work, you know, we're no more enlightened at times than anybody else. But, you know, always making sure that we're including fat people, right? And not doing it in a way that's like, or, you know, or even kind of
Heather Corinna: Trying to think of the best way to put this. There's there's a way especially with young people. We're so often people will kind of comfort them in a like this too shall pass. And it's like a fat person is always going to be a fat person, you know, a person who's larger on the bottom, and they are on the top probably is always going to be that way, because that's their genetics, right? So, it's not even like, Oh, this will get, it's like they're fine. Everybody's fine, everybody's fine, right? Where everybody is and so, you know, we have we have a bunch of kind of anti diet information that's on there. We have a lot of kind of, What can you do? That is it dieting? But also would probably be more effective at helping you accept your body and like yourself better than dieting would even if it works. You know, and I put that in air quotes because what is that? Even mean? You know, we definitely in our direct services,
Heather Corinna: You know what? When people talk to you of every age but young people included, you know, they'll be telling you about one thing. But then they include other things. You know, that in telling asking you for a question about one thing, they usually tell you some other things about themselves and there's a lot of things that we kind of
Heather Corinna: Track when they happen, consent is a really big one and that's an especially big one that we have to check with a lot of like feminine identifying people because they'll just kind of roll over it. Like it's no big deal when it comes to them getting consent. And another really big one is, people trashing their bodies, people talking about their bodies as if they were home improvement projects. You know, people sometimes when you have people come in even and they say that they're missing periods, you know, one of the first things that we're usually asking about is dieting because it's still, you know, in 2023 really chronic,…
Queer Doc (they/them): If?
Heather Corinna: you know, a huge industry.
Queer Doc (they/them): Billion dollar industry.
Heather Corinna: Absolutely. And there's still a very long-standing pattern as they're always have, been of parents taking their own body shed and putting it on kids and the younger, the younger, right? That it is that it's kids have been put on diets. So, you know, we you always kind of know with anybody any of these things, right? Whether we're talking about,
Heather Corinna: You know, negative body image, whether we're talking about racism,…
Queer Doc (they/them): It.
Heather Corinna: whether we're talking about ableism, you know, this stuff runs in the background for everybody. So when it shows up We try to not just kind of move on, and you often will answer a question and then be like just while we're here. You said X back. Do you know why?
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah, yeah. And of your team members like how many of your team members like, have lived experiences and these different identities, like, in the context because we're talking about fat disabled race, like, because I feel like you have a fairly diverse team working with you.
Heather Corinna: We have a really diverse team and we have a really diverse user base. Like we haven't kind of done, a full full demographic study in a long time. And that's complicated, especially one. You want to catch the numbers of the kind of people who have every reason to be super nervous about demographics. but, You know, from everything we can tell with who we talk to people are all over the world, You know? I mean it's still we have some things translated but it is still almost entirely English-speaking and so in that way, We can only be so inclusive.
Queer Doc (they/them): If?
Heather Corinna: You know when we have staff that do have more than one language will usually kind of try and make notes of that in our services or get some things translated but you know, I mean, it's
Heather Corinna: I feel like we have a really unique mix, especially around race, and gender identity, and sexual orientation. And I think that, It's up. One of the things that's interesting to me over the years about people are sometimes not sure if we're inclusive in those ways are not because it's not like,
Heather Corinna: Plastered all over the place because it's really meant to be for everybody and one of my favorite things that happens because of that is that, you know, a lot of like sis hat, white able youth. That if they saw a site that was like, everybody queer is here, you know, I mean, we are still pretty loud about it but it's not, you know, it's advertised as for everybody might not interact and read the kind of content that we have, but because it's just, you know, it's really it's really woven in and it's so widely inclusive. We can have a straight person who might never have read. I mean, for instance, what you're saying? And anatomy explained in a way that doesn't assign gender, and they might not have gotten that experience somewhere else, because they might not go expressly and purposely to a queer site. That's meant for queer people because they're gonna be like,
Heather Corinna: That's not for me even though you know it's just for everybody really.
Queer Doc (they/them): Everyone's a little bit queer. They just haven't figured it out yet.
Queer Doc (they/them): I really love like a lot of the content you'll have up and available and I love that and You're working to make it accessible to everyone for, for like readers with, like visual impairment or anything like that. Do you have resources for them? Do you have accessibility tools on the website? How does that work?
Heather Corinna: So we we've always worked really hard to make it as accessible as possible. And then a few years ago, we hired somebody and did. I mean with a lot of websites when you kind of run it through the standard accessibility audit? It's not, it's just not a lot, you know. It's such such basic things so we've the whole site's been run through. It works for people with screen readers. We've had staff that were blind and used Screen readers and did just fine, you know, it's one of these things too. We're also, that's another thing where we were always like, have an eye towards user input, you know, maybe about 10 years ago we you know I'm on top of everything else, I'm a design person so you know I like I like graphic design on things but we had somebody
Heather Corinna: Make a complaint about how it was really hard for their learning style, and they would really love a text only version and so we made a text only version. And so it's things like that too where it's that's everybody to the front,…
Queer Doc (they/them): and, Yeah,…
Heather Corinna: you know. So if somebody comes to us, who's in any way marginalized and there's stuff, we want to know what the stuff is, and then that's not it's on our list.
Queer Doc (they/them): I love it and and FYI healthcare clinicians who are listening to us right now. And if you are in a smaller practice or private, practice and accessibility tools on websites that are healthcare related are required by law. So if you don't have that on here website, yet definitely talk to your websigner or whoever is helping you with your site and because we are required to have those things and yeah back. So like clinicians what would you like? And what would you kind of wish? Clinicians who focus on trans health care. And prescribing gender affirming care like knew about your work, like what would be the thing that you feel like? They don't know about sex education that they should?
Heather Corinna: Sure. I mean, well, one thing is, is that, you know, because we have those direct services, we can be emotional and community support. And that doesn't have to be, and hopefully, isn't instead of a therapist or instead of a supportive family or instead of an in-person community, it can just be one more thing that somebody has. But we, you know, we've definitely had users that it's the thing that they have, especially, you know, while they're still miners and Their ability to find other supports isn't so big. I mean, I think another thing too, is that a lot of
Heather Corinna: You know, so much of sex education can be done without even talking about sex at all. You know often when I'm talking to people with younger kids and parents are nervous and how they talk to them about the stuff. A lot of it is like, well hopefully let's say they're seven or eight, you already have because the conversations are things like who gets to touch you, what gets to happen for you to touch you, who gets to touch somebody else? How are we kind to people? How are we polite and respecting people's privacy and the questions that we ask about them? How are we a good friend to somebody? I mean, all of this stuff and…
Queer Doc (they/them): It.
Heather Corinna: then even things, like, You know, how do we get okay with our bodies? How do we figure out? Well, we're comfortable doing with our bodies. Do you want our shorts that day? Or do you want to wear pants? You know, like, I think that people don't understand that so much of this stuff, if you're doing other stuff,
Heather Corinna: Is part of this, but the problem is a lot of people are not doing that other stuff and they'll kind of make it like, Oh you're leaving out sex,…
Queer Doc (they/them): Okay.
Heather Corinna: Ed. It's like, Well, this is stuff that's foundational. The sex side but it's a lot more than sex that is being left out. And so I think that for a lot of people, I mean gosh especially when you're talking about trans youth. You know, if somebody hasn't ever talked to trans, he's before about what writes they have about things. Like showing people their bodies or same, what kind of bodies they have, are talking to them about it. It's not like that's easy for anybody else, but it's specially hard and tricky when you have, you know what, like, 10 kids coming up at you on math somewhere, right? If you don't know,…
Queer Doc (they/them): Yep.
Heather Corinna: you have any rights, this is terrible situation.
Heather Corinna: I know. And so I think some of it is too some of that basic stuff and when somebody's marginalized, sometimes you need to re-up that like they might have learned that but they might really have the idea that that's for everybody else, right? That's not. That's not for them. And so sometimes with us, even with young people that do have some information and have had some education, we have to kind of circle back to the beginning and be like, this is also about you. I mean, another big one is also just correcting. so many things that either are, you know,
Queer Doc (they/them): It.
Heather Corinna: Only false just about like, you know, I don't know how bodies work or how contraception works or, I mean, heck, how hormones work? That's a big conversation that we have all the time. It's even kind of talking about how you can seek out, gender, affirming medical therapy, but that still doesn't make hormones have gender, right? Because when you have the idea that hormones have gender, it can really mess with your head when you're having gender issues.
Queer Doc (they/them): Oh my gosh. You are like On the hill, I will die on as a physician right now. So, one of my big big educational moments with other clinicians. Is that treatments? Do not have gender people do. So there is no such thing as feminizing surgery. There is no such thing as masculating surgery. There's no such thing as feminizing hormone therapy, right? There's estrogen therapy. There's progesterone therapy, and there's anti-androgens. There is a vulva vaginoplasty there is,…
Heather Corinna: I love.
Queer Doc (they/them): you know, gender affirming. Facial surgeries, there is chestnut and there is trust reconstruction surgery. Like these are the terms that we should be using and there's so many reasons for this. Like one we're clinicians. We should be using objective clinical language. That actually tells people what we're doing, doesn't rely on a social construct of gender that is interpreted individually across the societies it also. You know, and calling something, feminizing hormone therapy, may very well be misgendering, your patient who is using it, who does not identify as feminine, and right? And so you're like on the hill, I will like
Heather Corinna: Is that that I think it comes up of the time, is for trans men on t when you're trying to talk about dryness, right? Genital dryness and that topical estrogen is the right answer, but that's like hitting a brick wall because how has this been presented, right? And it's not their fault for being like being like, no, right? Because that's this thing, but it's a lot to be like you get to think what you think about it and feel how you feel about it but factually, No, it's not right? Like it's it's
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah, estrogen. Does that make you a woman, right? And that doesn't mean like estrogen. Is going to be the answer you want for your body, but it's definitely one of the options that like, that is worth considering and like, you should get some counseling around. Right? And I think, you know, same is true. Like I love that. You're working to educate people around like what hormones do and don't do. Because I think one of the misconceptions, even a lot of prescribing clinicians, have who is that? Once someone's menstrual cycle, stop on testosterone. They no longer need contraception, right? Which is patently fault. If y'all are just listening and not watching, you can see Heather's face. But I'm right.
Heather Corinna: I'm one of those fit poker would not be my game.
Queer Doc (they/them): And so, Yeah I think and what Heather is getting at right for you. Prescribing and referring clinicians, is that and sexual health educators, don't just talk about like how to f***, right? They they're really sexual health. Education is about bodily, autonomy consent safety and pleasure and like I'm sure things I am missing but like it's so much broader and…
Heather Corinna: Yeah.
Queer Doc (they/them): and Heather's team. And any like, you know, good sexual health educators are really good at like keeping
Queer Doc (they/them): Pulling apart exactly what you're saying, like What is the kids saying? But what are all the unsaid things are need to be addressed as well, and here. And so these are all like amazing resources for our young patients and…
Heather Corinna: Well.
Queer Doc (they/them): older patients, who need support in these areas, right? Because a lot of us, I mean, my generation did not, you know, my sex Ed was about, you know, I I would it wasn't completely absent space which is amazing, considering that I grew up in North Florida but but you know, no one taught me like how like about consent. No one talk to me. Talk to me about this like my bodily autonomy or my pleasure or my safety ever, right ever. Those were all things I learned from like personal experience and unfortunately like there are a lot of
Queer Doc (they/them): Unsafe and ungrate lessons and that right? Like I learned a lot of the ways that I do things now from doing them wrong. All right, well, maybe runs the wrong, not the right term. I want gosh, I can't get away from that word and, you know, in a less safe way and or in a way that didn't honor my bodily autonomy or, you know, my safety and so I think those things are so important in particularly, when people worry about someone's ability to have age appropriate conversations, right? Like that is such an important point to make to clinicians like, And when you're
Queer Doc (they/them): Working with good sexual health educators. They have the ability to, you know, move between these spaces with age, appropriate content and ages, just a number. And so, some kids who are younger are gonna need some of this content. That is actually what we think of very often, as quote, unquote, more adults. And, but they'll be developmentally appropriate content, right? And so, um, when I teach like sex Ed for younger patients, you know, because we have like a kind of have like a seven, like a seven to 10 year old section and then I 10 to 13 year old section and then 13. to 15 and then 15 plus, and
Queer Doc (they/them): You know the younger classes were all. That's all we're talking about exactly what Heather said like about like, um, barley autonomy, consent and safety, like, you know, who and and then puberty like what changes are gonna happen in my body. What changes do we want to happen in my body? And so again, we're not talking about like,
Queer Doc (they/them): How like the mechanics of sex like when my 15 year, olds ask me like how to prep for anal receptor practices. I'm not teaching that to a nine year old right and and so I really good sexual health educators like Heather and their team are going to be able to meet your patients where they're at. And which I think is like a key component of what you have to offer and is a really important part of of this work. And and you have, I know, we'll just will promote we'll promote plug your books, because I have both of them that way. So, um, there's a why wait, which is, um, for younger kiddos and then there's and the yellow one. The second what's the title? It's sex. Something
Heather Corinna: Assi x. And then it's a very long subtitle.
Queer Doc (they/them): Okay, that's why I only remember the sex part.
Heather Corinna: Okay, there's the menopause book now too, which is also inclusive.
Queer Doc (they/them): I don't have that one yet and…
Heather Corinna: Pick up.
Queer Doc (they/them): but yeah. And so Scx is like young adult targeted and it's like
Queer Doc (they/them): Comprehensive, I would say.
Heather Corinna: I know it. A lot of what you're talking about, as you were talking, I was thinking whether it's a book, right? Or it's a website, like we've definitely had people be like, they're not going to read all of that. And I'm thinking, okay. Like for plenty of people, that's absolutely true. And what they'll do whether it's on the website or the book is, they'll look up the pieces that they need, and those are the pieces that they'll read and on the website again. You know, we have a search function, we have tags, like It's no one is obligated to read everything. I think that's one of the things that kind of happens with sex at, I mean, even sometimes in some kind of comprehensive sex, Ed, is this idea that everybody has to have all of these pieces or they don't have a thing? And there's, you know, there's certainly some things that we know are kind of
Heather Corinna: You know, pillars of healthy, sexual development, and we want to do those but this idea that everyone needs the same things, everyone's ready for the same things at the same time, especially when sex that in schools is so often like two weeks in one year, right? So that's a lot of Simultaneous readiness with apparently all wanting the same information right? Like you know like Wow how like it's it's rough whereas you know when we're also working in direct services or we you know we sometimes do in person outreach and we go somewhere in person. You This is also the beauty of
Heather Corinna: Each learner-led education, right? Is by my simply observing someone and really listening to them. They tell me what they want to meet. They give me a pretty good idea of what they are and aren't ready for like, you know, if somebody asks us a question, they're ready for us to give us an answer to that question. And like you said, you might not, you know,…
Queer Doc (they/them): If?
Heather Corinna: so maybe the seven year old question is, Do people do people. What do people do with their butts, right? And you're not gonna answer it this way. That you are to somebody 17, because they'll freak us seven year old out, you're like, Oh, you may be making but jokes, but it's, you know, it's especially here in America and the West weird about it. So that's you know, that's the other thing. And it's, you know, the tricky thing with that is that you can't
Heather Corinna: You can't really do that simultaneously for 50 people at once, but you can set things up and set up services so that people can do it by themselves on their own pace.
Queer Doc (they/them): Right.
Heather Corinna: One at a time. However, they want they can visit and revisit they can take as long trying to figure out one really specific thing out as they want. You know, they want to do for a year. Cool, it's fine.
Queer Doc (they/them): Right? And I feel like,…
Heather Corinna: Right.
Queer Doc (they/them): you know, one of the like Right? Like, I feel like Montessori tools and like, like, because we're there, and like that reflective listening, right? And clinicians is when the seven year, Alaska question like that, the follow-up is, What do you think people do with their butts? Right? Because that gives us like, more information. About what what is the unsaid question that hasn't been asked, right? Like, and for clinicians like, you know, if we're starting to get concerned about trauma or or abuse like really exploring what the seven year old already knows about it. Gives us a good starting point to like Where is this a seven year old, who heard a butt joke at school and we're not worried about it or is this a seven year old? Who someone is assaulting right? And in starting that conversation, that is learner driven, right? That is question, ask for driven and creating that space is like,
Queer Doc (they/them): And a really important component of what y'all do and what we, as clinicians need to do as well, instead of, right? Like like you just said, so many clinicians, right? And research shows were really, like a conservative bunch and physicians, especially nurse like research shows nurse practitioners and PAs. Actually do a better job of this than physicians. Do physicians really. Have a hard time talking about sex stuff.
Heather Corinna: Well, I think people always forget, you know, when I first came into this like,…
Queer Doc (they/them): and,
Heather Corinna: you know, one brand of nays, there would be like, You're not a doctor and I'd be like, I don't know what you think, doctors are learning in medical school, but the idea that I mean it's like it's nothing, right? So if again, if you haven't had a good education leading up to your medical practice, you're not gonna get it. If you are your maybe gonna get a couple of weeks, you know? And so it's I think that's a tricky thing too,…
Queer Doc (they/them): It.
Heather Corinna: right? Is that so often and you don't know how, right? Like a lot of people still have this idea that the place to talk to somebody about it is from your personal sexual experience. And so, and that's like, one of the biggest sources of misinformation will get from young people and it's not coming from malicious adults or adults with some kind of ill intent. It's coming from adults who just don't realize that oh, my personal sexual experiences.
Heather Corinna: Are not actually universal because I haven't had studied sexuality enough to understand that, you know, five people even the 50 people that I slept with does not. Give me some idea of how sexuality goes for everyone. Over.
Queer Doc (they/them): Right. And I think, right? And I think, you know what you're saying is so true. We get, you know, the sexual health education. We get is STI related, That's it, right? Like we don't talk about pleasure. We don't talk about how people have sex. We don't talk about consent, we do, you know, we do talk some about intimate, partner violence, obviously. And, but again, like a lot of the training out I got on intimate partner. Violence is like Is really about the debate on screening for it because we don't have like necessarily very effective interventions. And as a field as like a field medicine says, Don't screen for things that you can't actually intervene on. So right like there's a lot of A lot of information there too. And so I think it's just like such a and and,
Queer Doc (they/them): Under a like finish. Physicians, are under educated in this area by far. And so relying on really phenomenal, sexual health, educators, who are much better educated than we are it
Heather Corinna: Nobody can do everything right, like, nobody can do everything, nobody can be the best of everything. There's nothing wrong, and everything, right? With outsourcing to write,…
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah. Yeah.
Heather Corinna: like, you know, I mean,
Queer Doc (they/them): a great and Scarlett team is a great place to outsource and to I is definitely a resource, I use all the time and I think
Queer Doc (they/them): and, As far as.
Queer Doc (they/them): I will tell us one story about positions and sexual authentication. So one of my residency mates, like when I was in residency, it came to me she had a patient. Who had some kind of anal pain. I can't remember like the whole story and you know, and so we were like going back and forth about like you know I was trying to get more of the story to see like what would be on my differential, right? Because when we're learned while we still make differentials but definitely back then and I was like I was like Well are they putting anything in their butt? And she just looked at me like aghast and confused and so like she just had no idea that anyone ever put anything in their butt. Like that was just like Completely foreign concept to her, it had never come up in her life and, you know, and here we are like, we're residents. We're technically physicians at this point, responsible for healthcare of someone and
Heather Corinna: Right. But if how much you study, you know, I mean and it's like I mean, look again, you know I I was in this a little bit, just a smidge of time before I started scarlettine. It's for sex. Educator. You know, been teaching since I was 19 I'm teaching for a really long time. and,
Heather Corinna: Earth as I sang, Oh, you know, every year I'm, I'm learning more and more, and more, and more, and more, and more and more, right? But the, you know, the big thing is, and this is just everybody doesn't know that. I mean, I don't know how many times in a day we have to try and undo for people, like there's not
Heather Corinna: A normal. I can't tell you if it's normal or not normal, I can tell you with something with some things. I don't know if it's more common or not common, I can tell you with some things who does a thing more not or who enjoys the thing, more or less, right. But I keep this idea that there's and there's a normal and with with queer and trans youth. I think this also feels especially pressureful right with with trans youth…
Queer Doc (they/them): You.
Heather Corinna: who want to kind of meet you know the binary expectations of their gender and then also are trying to meet the expectations of heterosexuality. What's normal or not? Normal is
Heather Corinna: Critically can feel critically important in terms of figuring out. Are you safe, right? Because you're going to worry that. If you do the not normal thing, then you're giving something away. And you might not be safe with…
Queer Doc (they/them): Right.
Heather Corinna: who you're with, or maybe just you, you don't want to deal with yet one more thing where you feel different and you have to different with other people.
Queer Doc (they/them): Other. Yeah.
Heather Corinna: But you know, this is really the biggest one is to be like anybody who thinks that they know everything everybody does, or likes is telling you that they are not at all well educated.
Queer Doc (they/them): Okay. I,
Heather Corinna: it's just one of the most basic things is that like your mind would spin if you knew all the different ways that people can be sexual and all the things that people like
Queer Doc (they/them): Right? We were, I think like gosh, like, you're on like another hill. I will die on and the term. Normal is a term that like is tossed around a medicine. All of the time, right? Like labs are within normal limits or, you know,…
Heather Corinna: Right.
Queer Doc (they/them): a normal weight on normal BMI was in a lot of the articles. I was reading today and and I like that word needs to go away, and right? And similarly to you, I will say right. I will say, you know, averages or expected limits, right? When I'm talking about labs. And and so, I think, Oh gosh, you know, I I'm there with you on that one, I definitely work to like, reframe that one and talk about, talk about it in a different way.
Heather Corinna: Right.
Queer Doc (they/them): And and then I think, you know,
Queer Doc (they/them): And oh gosh, hold on. There was one other thing. You said that I was like, yes and We were talking about Trans youth Owen feeling safe, and I think. And feeling other and I think that concept of like helping them understand like this is more common or this is last common, but like remote. And that the term passing, right? Is a term that we talk about in our community that is like really loaded, right? And for so many people passing is about like their physical safety and it can also be someone's goal, if that is what they want and passing is so tied to these white, endosys heteronormative ideal standards of beauty, right? It's like such a complex issue. And so many of us who are like like entrenched and queer culture, like talk about not owing anyone passing. And yet like,
Queer Doc (they/them): And that is true. And like, I have the privilege of being in urban Seattle, right. One, I also have the privilege of walking around and no one knowing my gender rate and assuming like, I'm cis and to Um, I have a privilege of like, living immersed in queer culture where like my safety isn't questioned because of like my presentation, or my gender. And so it is such a like Nuanced and complex conversation. And so it's trying to pull some of that language out because our words are so important. I love that like you've reframed it and that like, this is more common or This is less common or this like you know you see this often in this group or see it often the screw way. I love that. And
Heather Corinna: And we'll try and do it. Pat, you know that you you know when you interact with people, there are some people that it's it's going to be okay and they're not going to be reactive if you're like, you know, you just said that thing. That thing's wrong. There are other people where you're gonna do a lot better simply using your own language, just modeling the thing without necessarily saying anything about it. We do this about like names for body parts, all the time when people call the vagina, the vulva, you know, we're not gonna be like, How do you not know, right? We're just gonna say what it is and again, every now and then we'll be like what that part is actually this thing, right? And this being like Look Moodle,…
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah. Yeah. Right also clinicians.
Heather Corinna: um, I don't know.
Queer Doc (they/them): When you call a vaginoplasty of vaginoplasty, usually what you mean as a vulva vaginoplasty I will die on that hill as well. And don't get me started on zero death Vaginoplasties because I will like, we'll have a whole other hour here about that and depth has nothing to do with making you a woman and we'll stop there. But, um, yeah I think, um, you know, the other thing you brought up to is that like
Queer Doc (they/them): There is no way to know all the things that people consider part of their sexuality or their sex life or their sexual pleasure. I'm creating a lecture right now, that's like, King 101 for medical providers, right? And I was talking with one of my really good friends were both kinky. We're both physicians. I was like, I'm trying to come up with, like, like organizational framework. That's just like, general buckets of like all the kinks and fetishes like kind of so I can just give like a broad overview and, and she was like, it doesn't exist. I was like, I know, I know she was like, because like, it's like everything. She's like, what you need to say is like Anything and everything can be sexualized and for the right person at the right time and
Heather Corinna: And, and everything could be kinky or not kinky. That's one of the things that I'm like, Okay, we need a new framework for this because this or we just need to talk about it in a different way that, you know at at 2023 with us knowing the diversity of sexual behavior including for one person, right? Like I think it makes sense to talk about having kind of a You know, an identity as a kinky person right to talk about it as an identity issue but to try and be like. So this sexual thing is this and this sexual thing is that especially like I'm like I'm sorry for who in what context what do you talk? Do they call it that. What do they call? I mean especially to me from where I'm sitting like the most hetera normative sex ever is really kinky, you know what I mean, right? That is the hard is hardcore, dia stuff.
Queer Doc (they/them): oh,
Heather Corinna: Oh okay, right I'm like
Heather Corinna: It's just, it's like, it's like a circle, right? That starts in the place and ends in the same place.
Queer Doc (they/them): Right. I think it's like it is such an interesting and world to dive into. Do you have like for like physicians who maybe or clinicians and prescribing providers, who are, like I would like to know more about sexual health education. Do you have a place? Obviously, I feel like your site is great for like the actual educating, but if they want to learn more about the field, is there a place you would recommend
Heather Corinna: Oh gosh. You know again everybody's so diversified and so I mean to me when I'm looking for something like that, I really kind of I get a specific as I can about the thing that I'm looking for and then I go from there. So I mean, I will say also right now that a colleague of mine who's genius Doctor, Lex is the head of asac which is Ah, if there's more than one, but it's a sexuality kind of professionals organization and it is one good place to start. If you are again looking for specific people and specific things. I mean, this is also another one where when somebody is like You know, we love a research project that's
Heather Corinna: Probably more than we should. And when I say we are really also, meaning me, but like, it's, that's another one we're writing us in or using our direct services to ask for that to be like, right? Like, Here's what I have, I have, you know, this person and it can be again, really specific, You know, you can say, I have a spastic person who is just really needing to know how this can work with sex and sexuality. Who would I send them to, right?
Queer Doc (they/them): Yeah. Yeah. And Asech for any of you listeners who don't know is the American Association of Mmm. It's Sexuality, educators counselors and therapists asac.
Heather Corinna: I have.
Queer Doc (they/them): Yes. And then there's that. Is it that International. For like healthcare like for prescribing folks. There's Something something, sexual medicine and it's an eye, it starts with an I and
Heather Corinna: Oh, is it swish? I think it's
Queer Doc (they/them): it's like I so, um, I know.
Heather Corinna: Freaking acronyms.
Queer Doc (they/them): And it will, it will be in one of my lectures. If I can't find it for the links at the bottom of this podcast, but there is like an actual foundation for clinicians. Like more interested in diving into the kind of the medicine behind and sexual pleasure. And which is again, not something we're taught when also like right. Like like so many things in the world, people are taught how to prescribe Viagra and but taught and whole about sexual pleasure. And so, yeah, thank you so much for coming on and sending some time with me today and for the amazing resource you've built
Heather Corinna: Oh, my pleasure.
Queer Doc (they/them): Yes. Um, and um, we mentioned scarlettine, you can find the website at scarletteens.com and the books are. If you have people still like paper books, the paper books are available there and so there's one for your kids, one for young, adults. And apparently now there is one about menopause that is like a newer title release and so very exciting.
Heather Corinna: Can I tell you my favorite things about that one is that is at the end of that one,…
Queer Doc (they/them): Oh yeah.
Heather Corinna: There is an appendix written by a trans woman about the kinds of menopause, The trans women can experience especially from estrogen withdrawal. Which I think, you know, having the, the lack of inclusivity and menopause is really bad like not menopause as a thing that happens to people. But menopause as a thing, that people work in, and when I even try and start about this, people will only always assume that I'm talking about including transmasculine people,…
Queer Doc (they/them): Everyone.
Heather Corinna: which I am but I'm like, okay, literally It like a side of somebody who just was not like either built with any of these parts or not taking estrogen. It can be anyone, it could be everyone, but I think that having that piece in there, it's kind of it's
Queer Doc (they/them): Phenomenal. Yeah.
Heather Corinna: Like it makes me very happy and I did not write it Joanne. Mason an older trans woman who is unfortunately Ben's room and pause several times at this point in her life wrote it.
Queer Doc (they/them): Of God. Yes, I well I'll have to check that out.
Heather Corinna: So she
Queer Doc (they/them): Like I literally have your other books on my bookshelf here.
Heather Corinna: Course, Mmm. It's a beautiful cherno that cat grass.
Queer Doc (they/them): Thank you. Look at, look at me. Yeah so um I think you so much for coming on, I appreciate it and I am look forward to sharing this episode with folks and I hope you have a fabulous day.