Heather is the founder and executive director of Scarleteen, the premier international online destination since 1998 for sexuality education, information and support for young people.
Heather was the winner of The Champions of Sexual Literacy Award for Grassroots Activism from the National Sexuality Resource Center/SFSU in 2007; in 2009 the winner of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Western Region’s Public Service Award and the Our Bodies, Ourselves’ Women’s Health Heroes Award. In 2012, she won the Joan Helmich Educator of the Year award, and in 2013, The Woodhull Foundation’s Vicki Award, for affirming sexual freedom as a fundamental human right. In 2015, Heather also received the Steinem-Waters Award, given to a movement leader over 30 who has exhibited a consistent investment in developing young people in the field of reproductive justice. They were also a lead plaintiff in the ACLU vs. Gonzales case, arguing against the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which could have removed young adults’ access to needed sexuality information, and her work with Scarleteen — and the import of our service — helped secure an important win for the case.
Heather has also been a sexuality, contraception and abortion educator and counselor for the Cedar River Clinics/Feminist Women’s Health Center, and directs the CONNECT teen outreach and education program in Seattle which primarily serves transient/homeless youth and other young people in King County. She was an editorial board member of the American Journal of Sexuality Education, a writer and contributing editor for the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, and a member of the Board of Directors for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.
Their work at Scarleteen and in sexuality education and activism has hailed acclaim or attention from numerous publications, including The Utne Reader, The City Pages, Alternet, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Siren, The Industry Standard, The Chicago Tribune, CNN, The Chicago Tribune’s RedEye, The Nation, Feministing, The Minnesota Women’s Press, The Boston Phoenix, Ms. Magazine, The New York Times, HipMama, Bust, Bitch, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Oxygen Network, Estronet, Yahoo!, Lavender Magazine, and The Woman’s Guide to Sex on the Web. Heather has been quoted in numerous articles about sexuality, appeared on many radio shows, and has lectured and given workshops and trainings at many youth and adult conferences, colleges, schools, clinics, bookstores and other community gatherings.
Her popular book, S.E.X.:the All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College, a comprehensive and fully inclusive young adult sexuality, sexual health and relationships guide will be released as an updated, second edition in 2016. Heather’s essays, fiction, poetry and artwork have appeared in online publications such as The Guardian (UK), Issues Magazine, PIF Magazine, Maxi Magazine, CleanSheets, LeisureSuit.Net, Other Rooms, Cherrybomb, Sexilicious, Blood Moon, BAACHOR Magazine (in which her essay “The Door Into One Moment, Eternal,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize) and Batteries Not Included. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have also appeared in the anthologies Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape,Viscera, The Adventures of Food, Aqua Erotica, Zaftig: Well-Rounded Erotica, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 1 & 2, Shameless: An Intimate Erotica and Penthouse. Heather’s photography and visual art have been shown at/in 555 Gallery, Sex Worker Visions (New York), Babes in Toyland, Jane’s Guide, Michelle 7, On Our Backs, the Bryant-Lake Bowl, Trixx (to benefit the GLBT youth center, District 202), The Independent, The Mammoth Book of Erotic Women, SEAF 2004 and other venues. Heather has been quoted in other sexuality books, such as The Whole Lesbian Sex Book and The Mother’s Guide to Sex, and her work has been used in a number of university, school and clinic curricula.
A strong proponent of alternative education and unschooling, which inform all of Scarleteen, Heather was previously a classroom educator and taught in the Montessori method (AMS), and created and ran an independent alternative preschool from 1992 – 1996. A graduate with honors of The Chicago Academy for the Arts, Heather continued their education at Shimer College, studying literature, erotic spirituality and sociology, then later at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center.
Heather is entering middle age with as much grace as they can muster, and currently lives and works on a rural island outside Seattle, Washington. When not working themselves into an early grave, they can be found owning the cliché and playing with their dogs, practicing yoga, getting lost on purpose in the forest, jangling about with instruments, dreaming up art, and crafting vegan delights in a kitchen Heather’s partner calls their “favorite restaurant” while loudly crooning tunes from 70’s AM radio, all of which the people who love them graciously tolerate without making too many jokes at their expense.