From the President's Desk - August 2017

Dear AASECT Family: 

Like many of you, I watched the events in Charlottesville unfold with sadness, pain, and outrage – only to be followed by even more intense feelings at the lack of an appropriate response from U.S. leaders - a response that would have unequivocally denounced racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and misogyny. As sexuality educators, counselors, and therapists (as well as human beings who simply care about other people) we recognize the impacts of hateful actions – and non-responses – on our students, patients, and clients. Many of us feel the impacts personally in our own families and friend circles as well as individually, in our own hearts. For all of these reasons, the AASECT Board of Directors and our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee drafted and approved a statement related to the events in Charlottesville and our organizational perspective. We shared this with members shortly after approval and you should feel free to circulate it widely. If you haven’t yet read it, I hope that you will. 

AASECT is not a perfect organization but we continue to make efforts to examine our own work and how we can improve ourselves to include more diverse voices on our Board, in committee work, and in representation at our annual conference and Institutes. We talk with one another about issues related to race, religion, gender, feminism, (dis)abilities, and finances. We grapple with issues of affordability when it comes to conferences, membership, and certification. Members of previous Boards set positive examples and continue to nudge current AASECT leadership in important directions; in fact, it was outgoing Board members who encouraged me and others to form the DEI committee in the first place and, with support from the present Board, we did just that. Decades-long members as well as new members make sure their voices are heard, too. All of this is important. We don’t always communicate easily or without friction, but we stay in conversation with one another. That’s what we'd ask of our students, patients, and clients – and it’s what I see in ourselves. For that, I thank each of you. 

We recently had a fantastic Summer Institute regarding supervision – I’ve heard excellent feedback from members and we are already looking toward possible themes for future Institutes. We also have an exciting conference planned for 2018, thanks to conference co-chairs Jayleen Galarza and Juan Camarena. They will continue to update us as our final plenary speakers are confirmed. I encourage each of you to be on the lookout for our Call for Abstracts and I hope that you will submit your most compelling work for next year’s meeting. 

Here in Bloomington, our students have returned to campus, some maple trees are beginning to turn yellow and red, and it’s a time of new beginnings. For those of you who teach in college or high school classrooms, you might enjoy the poem, titled “Did I Miss Anything?”that  I often share with my own students at the start of the semester.  As for books, I highly recommend (and am recently re-reading) Nobody Told Me by Hollie McNish – a first person account of pregnancy and infancy/toddlerhood, told with rare honesty, that tackles issues related to age, sexuality, mothering, fathering, race, income, breastfeeding/pumping/formula/weaning, being a working parent, and the joys and struggles of growing a small human. There's always more to learn.

All the best wishes, 

Debby Herbenick

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