Guess Who? Heather Corinna of Scarleteen


Heather Corinna, fearless founder of Scarleteen (nee: Scarlet Letters) has an almost endless CV. Trained as an educator, Ms. Corinna taught alternative pre-K classes in the Montessori method from 1992-1996. She then continued her education in literature, erotic spirituality and sociology . . . and shifted careers.

Heather Corinna has been a sexuality, contraception, and abortion educator and counselor for the Cedar River Clinics/Feminist Women’s Health Center, and the director of the CONNECT teen outreach and education program in Seattle which serves transient/homeless youth, reproductive health patients, and high school and college students.

Also an accomplished writer, Corrina has an even longer list of publications in which her sexuality advice has been published and syndicated. Some of her most prestigious contributions include her additions to the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, her work on the editorial board for the American Journal of Sexuality Education, and her 2007 full-length book, S.E.X.: the All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College.

scarleteen-sex-edAnd then we have Scarleteen. is a website for teens and 20-somethings that provides advice, information, and support on issues of sexuality, sexual health, and relationships.

Founded in 1998 as a direct response to the burgeoning “abstinence-only” movement in public schools, the content on Scarleteen is user-driven but also in alignment with the most up-to-date sexual education theory – including the guidelines released by UNESCO and the new American School Health Association’s National Sexuality Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, K-12.

There are message boards, an SMS service for the site’s United States visitors, a live chat feature, and an advice column that accepts submissions from registered users over age 13. Likewise, there are permanent blog posts to browse on topics ranging from “Lube 101: A Slick Little Primer” to “Driver’s Ed For The Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent.”scarleteen-consent

Did I mention Scarleteen receives no federal or state grants? No corporate sponsorship? Depending solely on individual contributions, and throwing her own money into Scarleteen on the reg, Heather manages the site with the help of 14 volunteers – who receive no wages, but rather only a small stipend at the end of each year.

Which brings us to the May Day strike.

We need a stable, sustained increase in donations by at least 50%. That means we need at least an extra $3,000 a month, every month. We need to see that change no later than May 1st.

With only $3,000 each month to work with, that means shutting down all our direct services — our active, moderated message boards, SMS service and our live chat, as well as the advice columns –and halting the creation and release of any new content. We will need to stop doing or scheduling any in-person outreach which we would normally provide for free or at very low cost. Our social media, save that pertaining to the strike, will also go dark. The amount of funding we have to work presently, should nothing change, only really allows us to maintain our small office and what we’ve already created in the past online, allows only the level of traffic we have now to access it, to troubleshoot and fix any minor tech issues that arise, and to make updates to existing content to keep it current and correct, and only allows for a fair wage for just one employee, part-time.

Even when you love something – even when you’re committed to it with all you have (financially, emotionally, and spiritually) – without someone to respond to your call in the darkness, you eventually hit a breaking point. And, sometimes, without realizing it, we end up taking advantage of people like this . . . like Heather Corinna. The new normal becomes getting something for nothing and we’re grateful, but we don’t remember to show our gratitude.

So donate now, or reblog this post and/or this donation link to show that you’re grateful for Scarleteen and the safe haven it provides for everyone starting to navigate the scary, silly, fun, confusing, and all-around complicated world of sexuality.


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