A Washington state school board principal said she would host events at an “identity-inclusive” and “not scary” adult store she owns and discuss topics such as “sexual anatomy for fun” and “safer sex practices” with children as young as nine.
Bellingham Public Schools School Board Principal Jenn Mason announces a sex education summer program called “Uncrige Academy”. The stated goal of the program, according to the online ad, is to help “young people feel comfortable about these topics so they can be advocates for their own bodies, health and well-being.”
Mason offers two “two-day, empowerment-based” workshops, one for kids ages 9-12 and another for teens ages 13-17. Workshops will cover topics such as ‘gender and sexual identities’, ‘sexual anatomy for pleasure and reproduction’, ‘types of solo and partnered sexual activity’, ‘safer sex practices for all kinds of sexual activity” and “the ethics and realities of sexualized media and pornography.
“Workshops are divided by age and presentation of topics will vary based on developmental relevance,” according to the announcement. Tickets are sold at prices ranging from $5 to $50.
The events are set to take place in August at WinkWink, an adult store that describes itself as a “woman-owned and identity-inclusive sex shop in Bellingham” that offers “non-toxic sex toys, lingerie, books, articles related to menstruation, and educational classes.
Mason faced criticism on social media after Seattle-area radio show host Jason Rantz reported on a ‘queer youth’ event Mason hosted earlier this this month for young children in the adult store. Rantz called the event “inappropriately inclusive” and “extremely creepy”, arguing that “having kids present in a sex shop is pretty weird”.
“It’s hard to explain who has more questionable judgment: Mason or any parent who brings a child to this event,” Rantz said.
Mason defended his workshop in a letter to Rantz, saying “safe sex practices” are “generally not covered as a main topic of this course, except as it pertains to consent, communication and safety” for the group. 9 to 12 years old.
“The course for 9 to 12 year olds is an introduction to topics related to relationships, puberty, the body and sexuality. We focus on what makes friendships and romantic relationships healthy or unhealthy, the science of how puberty works, consent and personal boundaries, the definition of “sex” and discussion of why people may or may not choose to engage in sexual activity,” she told Rantz. . “This course includes understanding the basics of sexual anatomy, including the names and function of body parts related to reproduction and pleasure. We also cover the basics of biological sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
In response, Rantz said he thought Mason was “well-meaning” but “going too far”, adding that he still found it inappropriate to teach pre-pubescent children about sexual pleasure or to “confuse them on the gender identity”.
The workshops Mason is advertising will be held in a personal capacity as a business owner, not as a Bellingham school district principal, Rantz was told. They are not endorsed by or associated with the school district.