Tsk Tsk: Stigma, Shame and Sexuality

Over at Gender Across Borders today we are kicking off our three-day series on stigma, shame and sexuality. The series is cross-posted with RH Reality Check and in partnership with Ipas.

I am proud, excited, nervous and touched to be introducing to you 18 poignant and provocative pieces about an issue that eludes definition: stigma.

The vision for this blog series came out of a number of discussions I had with colleagues at Ipas, a fierce and visionary global reproductive rights organization. Despite the progress that reproductive health advocates are making worldwide, stigma seems to serve as a constant, omnipresent stumbling block.

The bulk of the series focuses on abortion, but there are pieces on sex work, queerness, sluttiness and more. An overwhelming number of submissions on a range of topics poured in from around the world.

I was, and remain, immensely moved by the courage of individuals to tell their stories and examine taboo subjects. Stigma survives, in large part, on silence, and this is a collective effort to undo that.

The critical point is that none of us are immune to being stigmatized or perpetrating stigma against others. We put forth this series as a diving board from which to jump into critical analysis and self reflection. We hope you enjoy, ponder, share widely and feel slightly uncomfortable.

Follow the series over the next few days by visiting the GAB homepage, or accessing the catalog of series posts here.

Illustration by Andrea Bailey. All rights reserved.


  1. I love this idea! Thank you!

    • Jessica Mack says:

      Thanks so much, Cassie! We are so happy to be able to do this. Hope you enjoy today’s posts, and tomorrow’s, and the next day’s… 🙂

  2. Individuals with disabilities are forced to deal with stigma all the time, especially in the area of sexuality. I have had a severe physical disability since I was born and I use an electric wheelchair for mobility. I attended a Disability and Sexuality training in the early 80s and it was the only time that I entered a room and it was assumed that I was a sexual human being. I feel like wearing a button that says, “I have a Masters degree, I own my own home and I fuck.” The stigma that people with disabilities have to deal with every day and sometimes overwhelming and keeps people from engaging in all the activities that life has to offer. If people want to start a blog about Disability and Discrimination, please write me at: Career_Coach_Pamela@yahoo.com

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