This month we are excited to highlight one of our Austin, TX facilitators, Ryan! Ryan is also the coauthor of An Introduction to Sexuality Education: A Handbook for Mental Health Practitioners and has a virtual training on this handbook coming up in July.
What initially drew you to working with UN|HUSHED?
I met Karen, the executive Director of UN|HUSHED, while I was working as an event planner for a different organization in Austin. The other org had Karen and Sam Killerman in to do their educational/comedy show “Have you seen S.E.X.?”. Even though I didn’t meet Karen the night of her performance I did get an email from her asking if I would like to get coffee.
During that first meeting I was intimated, empowered, and inspired all within two hours. I also left with a job as the newest educator for UN|HUSHED. That was back in 2015 and I have loved every minute of my time with this organization since.
How is sex and sexuality education typically regarded in your line of work and/or local community?
As a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Texas, sex education can be appear to be highly regarded. However, it is common to find professionals who have never thought about it before and/or are uncomfortable with the topic. Sex education is extremely important for mental health practitioners because we end up discussing sex with our clients in some capacity or another. For many people, it is an uncomfortable and vulnerable topic. This is why mental health practitioners need to be prepared to address sex without their own discomforts interfering with the process.
What skill sets or projects are you currently working with UN|HUSHED?
I am currently focused on completing multiple classes with middle schoolers, which have been shifted online due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. It is a humbling experience to take, what I consider, a well-oiled machine online with little notice. Thankfully, the team at UN|HUSHED immediately dedicated our efforts to being a leading organization for online sex education. Once my current classes are completed at the end of May, I look forward to spending the summer going through the curriculum and further adapting the in person activities to fit an online setting.
What project would you dream to work on for UN|HUSHED?
A dream project of mine is collecting and editing a book of letters written by adults from different backgrounds and professions. The letters would discuss what they wish they had learned about sex, and when that would have served them in their lives. I believe that a book like this would have a positive impact on youth, and even adults who share similar experiences.