On Feb. 19, Amy Robles hosted the second of a four-part event designed to teach sexual education through a series of seminars named Sexpertise. Robles is a Bellevue College graduate who is planning on attending the University of Washington and obtaining a degree in psychology to become a sexologist in the future.
Her authority comes from a past of immersing herself in topics related to sexual health as well as having run a sexual education blog since 2012. She has been a volunteer sex educator and has worked at a summer camp for LGBTQ youth. According to her, “though this doesn’t make me an automatic expert on all LGBTQ issues, it does give me a unique perspective on many of them.” In her seminars she sources “widely trusted institutions” for her facts.
Robles said that she founded Sexpertise three years ago “as a result of my own and others’ frustration with the state of public sex education.” She was a Running Start student who based her knowledge off of sex education that was incorrect and noted that with other Running Start students, “unless their elementary or middle school elected to teach some form of sex education, they may have been taught no sex ed. at all.”
She also stated that “I and many others I spoke with through my own friend groups and the LGBTQ Resource Center were also deeply dissatisfied with the lack of inclusion of LGBTQ people in sex education.” She proposed the idea of hosting open-access sex ed. seminars that would be “frank, accurate, and inclusive” to the center director at the time. From there, “he then proposed I provide the content and present to him if it was my idea and I had such knowledge of the topics at hand, and things went from there.”
Dr. Craig Hurd-McKenney, an English instructor and assistant to the LGBTQ Resource Center, spoke on the value of these seminars. He stated that “very often, sexuality is something that is culturally shamed, and the impetus for this conversation is to shift perception around sexuality.” He also said it is about providing good, true information in contrast to relying on rumors or bad advice.
According to the LGBTQ Resource Center Facebook page, the seminar addressed “issues of consent, substance use, communicating in relationships and with partners on a variety of topics such as comfort levels, getting tested and safe words.” Robles added that this was to help people form a consent culture and healthy relationships. There were interactive lessons involved as well as an open question and answer session where attendees could submit questions anonymously as well.
The next seminar is to be held on March 4 and its topic is going to be on safety with sex toys. The one after that is the final seminar and will be held as an open forum on sex and disability. Each year, the Sexpertise topics change but each one leads with the general sex ed. 101 seminar. Each year, Robles collaborates with the new center director to put on the seminars, and “it wouldn’t happen without the consistent excellent leadership at the LGBTQ Resource Center.”