Talking to children about consent

Hi Readers!

Do you like fries? I love fries! I promise this is relevant. Today we are going to talk about consent; more specifically, why it’s important to teach children about consent from a young age. I will give you some tips on how to do it.

Consent is when someone is explicitly agreeing (by choice) to an experience, whether it is sexual, touching, kissing or hugging. Every person has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

So… going back to my F-R-I-E-S.1Consent has to be:

F reely given (the person doesn’t feel pressured, coerced or obliged to say yes);

R eversible (the person can change their mind in the middle of the experience and that doing so is their right);

I nformed (knowing all of the facts before agreeing to something);

E nthusiastic (the person is happy to say yes, there is no confusion or doubt);

S pecific (the person is agreeing to something specific; if there is something else involved they must explicitly agree to that, too).  

Now that you know how important consent is, you should think about this framework every time you give consent and feel confident and enthusiastic about saying yes. But, if you have answered no to any of the statements above you should not be giving your consent as you probably don’t know enough about the situation or don’t feel comfortable.

Clearly, explaining F-R-I-E-S to toddlers and very young children may not be that easy. I suggest you try explaining it to them as simply as possible; you know your child, children or your classroom best. Kids also learn through experience, so giving examples and going through this more than once will be beneficial.

Respect a child’s wishes when it comes to hugging, kissing, cuddling and tickling. The only exceptions are in matters of safety; for example, if a child needs to be restrained from hurting themselves or others. The big example here is ensuring that they are not forced to hug or kiss anyone, even grandma.

Children need to choose their level of contact based on their level of comfort. While this may sound outrageous to some, as we usually greet people (especially grandma) with a hug and/or a kiss, why should we force children to say hello in this way or do anything else if they do not feel comfortable?

To do so is to teach a child that a familiar person can touch them even if they don’t want them to and could lead to a child being unsure of what to do in an inappropriate situation. This completely goes against the F-R-I-E-S concept and the definition of consent.

If a child doesn’t want to greet someone with a kiss or a hug, teach them to ask for a high-five or a fist bump. And if that still makes them feel uncomfortable, a wave and a smile is perfectly fine, too! As long as your children are respectful and kind to others, does it really matter?

It is normal for children to want their own space sometimes and children are also allowed to set their own boundaries.

It is important to teach children the correct language for their body parts. I know it can feel embarrassing but using code words with you child (usually said in a lower voice) will in turn make you child feel embarrassed about using the appropriate words.

We should be breaking the stigmas surrounding body parts by using their actual names. This also avoids any misunderstandings, especially if they need to tell an adult that something happened to them.

It is important to teach children that their bodies are their own and that no one has the right to touch them unless they ask for help. For example while toilet training, children may need help wiping their bum. It is important to start a habit of asking the child “would you like some help?” Look, I get it, most of the time it’s easier for an adult to clean up as the child may make more of a “mess” but this is how we learn, right?

Even if it is something as simple as adjusting a piece of clothing or cleaning their face because they have something on it, ask them first! Empower your child to make that choice. Obviously if they are harming themselves or someone else, you need to act fast! Use common sense.

Even though you shouldn’t have to, as a parent, you may find yourself having to explain to your friends and family that you are teaching your child about boundaries and consent if your child chooses to greets them with a high five. Might I suggest you send them this post and I’ll explain it to them for you.

Teaching the importance of reporting

You must teach your children that if someone violates their body, touches them inappropriately or crosses their boundaries, it is not their fault and that they need to tell an adult. Explain why it is important by going through the F-R-I-E-S concept.

These are lessons and reminders that need to be given often, consent is not a one-and-done concept. Many children know that they should immediately report to an adult they trust. That being said, it is important to continue having these discussions with your older children and teens as they may need reminding about what is not okay and who they can speak to about a violation of their privacy, body and boundaries.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video about consent for kids (and here’s one for adults too) and share it with your kids, family and friends. It is very easy for kids to understand this video but they may have some questions or you may wish to quiz them to make sure they understood what all this means.

If you have any more questions please contact me via email at depetrillojulia@gmail.com

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

 

 

 

1Planned Parenthood https://www.plannedparenthood.org/

Asexuality

Hi Readers!

Today’s blog post is about a specific sexual orientation: asexuality. Yes, asexuality is a sexual orientation just like homosexuality, bisexuality, heterosexuality, etc. You may have heard people talk about someone being asexual or someone telling you that they are asexual and not knowing how to react, or not knowing what it means or maybe you had never heard the word before.

First, it’s okay not to know something – we learn something everyday. It’s okay to ask someone to explain it to you (just ask respectfully, please!).

Second, if you were too shy to ask for an explanation – do not fear, I am here! This post will explain what asexuality means. I would also like to refer you to a book I read a few years ago called  The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker. You can by it on Amazon or in your favourite bookstores. It is a really great book for those of you who are interested in knowing more. The author explains it through her experiences but also presents the facts about asexuality. I though it was a great book to give you… wait for it… as an introduction to asexuality! 

Approximately 1% of the population is asexual, though many experts think that the number may be higher.

Asexuality is defined as limited or no sexual attraction, interest or desire. An asexual person is someone who is not sexually attracted to anyone. This does not mean that asexual people are not romantic, do not fall in love or do not want to be touched. Asexuals can be romantically attracted to other people, be in relationships, be intimate with someone or be intimate with themselves and/or want to masturbate. Asexuals may be in a relationship and may not ask or want to have a sexual relationship, but they may chose to do so in order to please their partner. Just like sexual people, asexual people are all different; they have their likes and dislikes and have their own levels of comfort.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness concerning asexuality and this has an effect on asexual people as they may feel left out, misunderstood and hurt. Bottom line, be kind to one another, do your research, all the information is at the tip of your fingers.

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

“Sexologist? Ooohh what’s that?”

Hi Readers!

So, you might have heard loads of myths about Sexologists, what we do, what we studied, where we work, how can we help, etc. 

This blog post is to help you better understand our educational background, where we work and what our ‘actual’ job is. The following explanation is mostly based on what I have learnt, my experiences, people I have studied with or have met along the way. If you have read my bio or visited my LinkedIn profile, you know that I am from Quebec, Canada and studied at the only university (UQAM) that offers this specific bachelor’s degree in North America. The Province of Quebec even has a professional order for Sexologists. If you are interested, and can read French, you can check out their website (https://opsq.org/).

Please read this post to learn more about my profession as I try to demystify some of the commonly held misconceptions about what we do. #knowledgeispower

What is a Sexologist?

A sexologist is a trained professional with either a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD in Sexology. Our education focuses on understanding a person’s sexual behaviour, development, and well-being to maintain, improve or restore sexual health whether they be an individual, a couple, a family, a group or a community. Sexual health is a state of physical, mental, and social well-being; as such, Sexology is an interdisciplinary subject. As Sexologists, we are trained to implement educational and preventative programmes across several sexual health themes. During our studies, we learn about the history of sexology, contraception, pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STI), HIV/AIDS, human anatomy, sexual dysfunctions, creation and evaluation of educational and preventative programmes, theoretical and practical courses on sexual health counselling and coaching. These are the subjects that help shape a Sexologist as a professional, which in turn gives us the tools to help individuals and society with sexual health issues. 

The sexologist role is to improve, maintain and restore people’s sexual health and may include the determination of an intervention plan that is implemented alone or as part of a multidisciplinary team, or in collaboration with other partners.

Where to find us

Sexologists can work in private practice, in health and social services institutions, in schools, in correctional facilities or in community settings and so many more.

So, there you have it readers! I hope this has helped you understand a little more about what a Sexologist is.

If you would like to improve, maintain, or restore your sexual health you can contact me for more details.

Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Influential LGBTQ+ individuals throughout history

Hi Readers!

As you know, it’s pride month! I think it is important to take this opportunity to look back at just a handful of the individuals who have spoken up in defense of or who were activists for the LGBTQ+ community. Each person on this list played an important role in the progression of the LGBTQ+ community. I urge you to do some of your own research to learn more.

Alexya Salvador

Salvador made history when she held Cuba’s first ever LGBTQ+ friendly mass in May 2017 where she was accompanied by other trans* pastors to preach about God’s love and acceptance of the very community that is usually ostracised by religious organisations. She is vice president of the Brazilian Association of Homotransaffective Families (ABRAFH) and became the first trans* person to adopt a child in Brazil.

Alice Nkom

Nkom is a Cameroonian lawyer well known for her advocacy of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Cameroon. She studied law in Toulouse and has been a lawyer in Douala since 1969. At the age of 24, she was the first Black French-speaking woman called to the bar in Cameroon. Alice became best known for her defence of people accused of homosexuality (which is a crime in Cameroon). In 2003 she founded the Association for the Defence of Homosexuality. For her achievements in the fight against an “anti-gay crackdown”, she was listed number two in The New Yorker‘s “The Eight Most Fascinating Africans of 2012” ranking.

Arsham Parsi

Iranian LGBTQ+ human rights activist, founder and head of the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees. In 2001, Parsi formed a small LGBT group online called Rangin Kaman (Rainbow Group), which was renamed the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO) in 2004. As the PGLO would not be recognized in Iran, a friend of Parsi’s officially registered PGLO in Norway. The PGLO later became the foundation for Parsi’s Toronto-based Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO) in 2006. Parsi later left IRQO and founded the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees in 2008. The organization’s headquarters are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and they provide services to all self-identified Iranian LGBTQ+ people worldwide.

Audre Lorde

Audre describes herself as a “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” She has dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism and homophobia. Lorde is an activist in the second-wave feminism, civil rights and Black cultural movements and has fought for GLBQT equality. Lorde’s poetry is known for the power of its call for social and racial justice, as well as its depictions of queer experience and sexuality.

Barbara Gittings

American activist for LGBTQ+ equality. In the 1970s, Gittings was most involved in the American Library Association in order to promote positive literature about homosexuality in libraries. She was a part of the movement to get the American Psychiatric Association to drop homosexuality as a mental illness in 1972. Her self-described life mission was to tear down the stigma related to homosexuality, which had been associated with crime and mental illness.

Bayard Rustin

American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence and gay rights. He also testified on behalf of New York State’s Gay Rights Bill. Rustin did not engage in any gay rights activism until the 1980s when he was urged to do so by his partner Walter Naegle.

Brenda Howard

American bisexual rights activist, sex-positive feminist and polyamorist. Howard was an important figure in the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. She is known as the “Mother of Pride”. Brenda coordinated the first LGBT Pride March in 1970. A fixture in New York City’s LGBTQ+ Community, Howard was active in the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights which helped guide New York City’s Gay rights law through the City Council in 1986 as well as ACT UP and Queer Nation.

Christine Jorgensen

American transgender woman who was the first person to become widely known in the United States for having sex reassignment surgery. Shortly after graduating from high school in 1945, she was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II. After her military service, she attended several schools and worked; it is during this time she learned about sex reassignment surgery. Jorgensen traveled to Europe and while in Copenhagen, Denmark obtained special permission to undergo a series of operations beginning in 1952. She returned to the United States in the early 1950s and her transition was the subject of a New York Daily News front-page story. She became an instant celebrity, and used the platform to advocate for trans* people.

Edith Windsor

American LGBTQ+ rights activist and a technology manager at IBM. She was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 Supreme Court of the United States case United States v. Windsor, which overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and was considered a landmark legal victory for the same-sex marriage movement in the United States. The Obama Administration and federal agencies extended rights, privileges and benefits to married same-sex couples because of the decision. She volunteered for many LGBTQ+ organizations and served on the board of Service & Advocacy for GLBT Elders between 1986 and 1988 and between 2005 and 2007. In 2011, Edith Windsor helped Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Jerrold Nadler introduce the Respect for Marriage Act at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

Gilbert Baker

Gilbert Baker was an American artist, gay rights activist and the designer of the Rainbow Flag that debuted back in 1978. He refused to trademark it saying it was a symbol for everyone.

Harvey Milk

American politician and the first openly gay elected official in California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Although he was the most pro-LGBTQ+ politician in the United States at the time, politics and activism were not his early interests; he was neither open about his sexuality nor civically active until he was 40.

In 2008, Milk, a documentary/drama about the story of his life was released starring Sean Penn.

James Baldwin

American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet and activist. His creations intertwine the themes of masculinity, sexuality, race and class to create intricate narratives that run parallel to some of the major political movements for social change in mid-twentieth-century America such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Gay Liberation Movement. Baldwin’s protagonists are often, but not exclusively, African American, while gay and bisexual men also frequently feature as protagonists in his literature. These characters often face internal and external obstacles in their search for social and self-acceptance. Such dynamics are prominent in Baldwin’s second novel, Giovanni’s Room, written in 1956, well before the Gay Liberation Movement.

Johanna Sigurdardottir

Iceland’s first female Prime Minister and the world’s first openly LGBTQ+ head of government. Forbes listed her among the 100 most powerful women in the world. In 2010, Johanna and her then partner got married and became the first same-sex couples in Iceland.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

German lawyer, journalist and author who today is seen as a pioneer of the modern gay rights movement. In August 1867, Ulrichs became the first homosexual to speak out publicly in defence of homosexuality when he pleaded at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of anti-homosexual laws.

Laverne Cox

American actress and LGBTQ+ advocate. She rose to prominence with her role as Sophia Burset in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, becoming the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category. Her impact and prominence in the media has led to a growing conversation about transgender culture, specifically transgender women, and how being transgender intersects with one’s race. In May 2016, Cox was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School in New York City for her progressive work in the fight for gender equality.

Michael Sam

American former professional football player. Sam played college football for the Missouri Tigers and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League (NFL) in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft. He played one season for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. Sam is the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL.

Magnus Hirschfeld

German physician and sexologist educated primarily in Germany; he based his practice in Berlin-Charlottenburg during the Weimar period. An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee. Historian Dustin Goltz characterized this group as having carried out “the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights”. Hirschfeld was targeted by Nazis for being Jewish and gay.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Often referred to as Miss Major, she is a trans woman activist and community leader for transgender rights. She served as the original Executive Director for the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, which aims to assist transgender people, as they are disproportionately incarcerated under the prison-industrial complex. Griffin-Gracy has participated in activism for a wide range of causes throughout her lifetime, including the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City.

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transgender woman and a LGBTQ+ activist and advocate. Johnson spearheaded the Stonewall uprising in 1969. The are numerous movies & books that celebrate her life and accomplishments. There is a documentary called “The Death and Life of Marsha P.Johnson” on Netflix.

RuPaul Charles

Since 2009, he has produced and hosted the reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race, for which he has received six Primetime Emmy Awards, in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. RuPaul is considered to be the most commercially successful drag queen in the United States. In 2017, he was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In 2019, Fortune noted RuPaul is “easily the world’s most famous” drag queen.

Stormé DeLarverie

She is remembered as a gay civil rights icon and entertainer who performed and hosted at the Apollo Theater and Radio City Music Hall. She worked for much of her life as an MC, singer, bouncer, bodyguard and volunteer street patrol worker, often called the “guardian of lesbians in the Village.” She is also known as “the Rosa Parks of the gay community.”

Sylvia Rivera

Latina American gay liberation and transgender rights activist, prominent as an activist and community worker in New York. Rivera, who identified as a drag queen, participated in demonstrations with the Gay Liberation Front. With close friend Marsha P. Johnson, Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, gay youth, and trans women.

Zanele Muholi

Muholi has produced a number of photographic series investigating the severe disconnect that exists in post-apartheid South Africa between the equality promoted by its 1996 Constitution and the ongoing bigotry and violent acts targeting individuals within the LGBTQ+ community. As an ensemble, Muholi’s images display the depth and diversity of this group in South Africa and in various countries that the artist has visited. There is an exhibition of Zanele Muholi’s work at the Tate Modern until 18 October 2020

I hope you learnt something new and that reading about these amazing people has inspired you to further your knowledge about the some of the most influential individuals of the LGBTQ+ community.

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist

Inclusive reads for children

Hi Readers!

I have put together a list of books covering the topics of diversity, sexuality, and inclusiveness that I think are great introductions and conversation starters. They make for great gifts for your children, nieces, nephews, students, neighbors, friends or grandchildren. And for you teachers out there, why not add these to your classroom library! If you are the person who is reading the book to the child, you will also get the benefit of learning something new and if you are just buying it for someone, maybe sneak in a cheeky read before you gift it!

The list contains 17 books about diversity, inclusivity & LGBTQ+ with a link to my affiliate amazon page. This means if you buy the book with this link, I will receive a small percentage. (No extra cost to you) This is but a small list of all the books that are out there. A lot of these books are also available on Kindle.

Ballerina Dreams by Michaela DePrince

King of the Classroom by Derrick Barnes

Wilma Rudolph: My First Wilma Rudolph by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Rosa Parks: My First Rosa Parks by Frances Lincoln

We are all welcome by Alexandra Penfold

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Martin Luther King Jr. by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Diwali (celebrate the world) by Hannah Eliot

I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

– Nelson Mandela
Here is another blog post on diversity and media

Knowledge is power. Be kind to one another!

Julia, Sexologist

Do you live in Lambeth, Southwark or Lewisham? Take this Sexual Health Survey and enter to win £50!

Hi Readers!

There is currently a survey going around for residents of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. Join the conversation by participating in this survey.

We are conducting research on sexual health in Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. The answers to this confidential Survey will better inform a new sexual health promotion service in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham led by Brook and in partnership with Naz, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and Shape History

At the end of the survey you can enter to win £50! Hurry!! the survey end next Friday (12 June 2020)

Be a part of this research! https://sexualhealthsurvey.typeform.com/to/zhsJGg

You can also follow Brook, NAZ, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and Shape History on social media.

Julia, Sexologist

Welcome

Hi Readers!

Welcome to the blog section of Julia, Sexologist. This section will be devoted to all things Love, Sex & Health.

Whether you are yet to discover your sexuality or you are looking to learn more about it, this platform will give you the tools and information you need.

Your sexuality belongs to you and you choose how, and with whom, you want to experience it and share it with.

This blog will be educational and fun and it is my hope that it will pique your curiosity!

If there are certain themes or subjects you would like me to blog about, or you just want to ask a question, please send an email to depetrillojulia@gmail.com.