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.


Jessica is a global women's rights advocate and writer. She is a global contributor for RH Reality Check and you can also sometimes find her writing at AlterNet and Feministe. She currently lives in Seattle and enjoys bhangra dancing, Kanye West, and all types of cheese.