From: Tess Benser
Date: December 4, 2020
Subject: Center For Women & Gender Equity Newsletter - December 2020

Hello Rams!

We've made it to the end of the semester! Congratulations!

It cannot be said enough: 2020 has been a year that has presented many hardships and challenges. The world as we know it now is very different from the one we left in 2019, but many of the issues impacting our lives are hardly brand new. The outbreak of the pandemic has highlighted many systemic issues that were already rampant. Working toward social change, justice, and equality has always been a struggle, but this year it has been happening in the middle of an ongoing crisis. 

I want to offer a moment to honor that struggle. To grieve the losses, of opportunities, of connection, of lives, to feel accutely the pain of ambigous loss because what was once normal cannot be anymore. 

And then I want to congratulate you for being here. I want to commend you all for your hard work, not simply for striving to stay afloat in this pandemic, but in everything you have done in the name of joy, hope, and care for one another. This year has been unbearably challenging at times, but it has also brought so much evidence that there is hope to be ignited, joy to be shared, and care to be found. 

I invite you to take a moment in the coming weeks before the year ends to take a moment to celebrate all of the triumphs in your life from this past year, no matter how small they seem. Because you have triumphed. Just by being here, you have triumphed.

There is so much work still to be done, yes, but I offer this space to reflect on the work already done. We need everyone to make this work possible.We look forward to continuing that work together in the Spring. 

Wishing you joy, health, and safety as we finish out the year.

Mx. Tess Benser
Assistant Director of Outreach & Engagement

Sex Education: How to Use A Dam

Here is a quick guide on how to use a dam for oral sex! Dams are one of the best ways to prevent the transmission of STIs during oral sex on butts and vulvas. Click the link below for a short video on the subject featuring sex educator Nadine Thornhill!

How To Use a Dental Dam on the Vulva 
  1. Check the expiration date and the packaging for rips or damage 
  2. If the dam is flavored, take this time to pick out a flavor you’ll like! 
  3. Open the dental dam and unfold it – check again for any holes or tears you might have missed 
  4. Lay the dam across the vulva & vaginal opening 
    • Adding lube can help keep the dam in place and increase sensation! 
  5. Place the dam over the vulva.
  6. Eat out! Muff munch! Give head! Whatever you call it, now’s when you do it.  
  7. Gently pull the dam off of the vulva and throw it in the trash. Do not flush it down the toilet.  

How To Use a Dental Dam on the Anus 

  1. Check the expiration date and the packaging for rips or damage 
  2. If the dam is flavored, take this time to pick out a flavor you’ll like 
  3. Open the dental dam and unfold it – check again for any holes or tears you might have missed 
  4. Lay the dam across the anus 
    • Adding lube can keep the dam in place and increase sensation 
  5. Rim job! Eat out! Toss their salad! Whatever you call it, now’s when you do it! 
  6. Gently pull the dam off of the anus and throw it in the trash. Do not flush it down the toilet. 
Dr. Nadine Thornhill, How to Use A Dental Dam

Rams Step Up Skill Building: Direct with Family and Friends

The holidays are coming up, which for many folks means reuniting (physically and virtually) with family and old friends. This can also mean some challenging conversations are coming up around the dinner table or the Zoom call. Below you will find some guides and tips for navigating uncomfortable conversations that you can take to directly intervene if you believe someone is vulnerable to harm. 

Planned Parenthood Action: 5 Conversation Tips (Reproductive Justice)

Why You Need To Stop Saying All Lives Matter by Rachel Cargle

Interrupting Bias: Calling In vs Calling Out

Basic Trans Ettiquette 

Newcombe Scholar Spotlight: Alyssa Scanlon

Alyssa Scanlon is a WCU Senior Nutrition and Sustainable Food Systems Management Major, graduating in December. As a non-traditional student, Alyssa has found her passion for advocating for a better food system a little later in life but is incredibly excited to embark on her new journey of food system and environmental activism. Post-baccalaureate, Alyssa aspires to work for programs like Farm to School, and create positive change in food policy at the local, regional and federal levels, to bring food, farm and nutrition education into public schools. Alyssa’s ultimate goal is to help positively change the food system by helping children and families reconnect with where their food comes from, while giving them the tools to live sustainable, nourishing, healthy lives through better food access and education. Alyssa is incredibly passionate about the environment and has hopes to change current, conventional agricultural practices to work with the Earth rather than against it. More sustainable agricultural practices can improve biodiversity and soil health to fight climate change and give all living beings a chance to thrive in a healthier world. Alyssa is 32 years old and a Montgomery County native.


Advocacy In Action: Community Care & Covid-19

In the last week or so, we have seen numbers begin to climb in reported positive cases of Covid-19. It is likely that this is due to many Americans chosing to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, despite many warnings not to do that. Pandemic fatigue is certainly real, and being unable to gather with loved ones during the winter holidays can be heartbreaking. But social distancing is not something that merely keeps us safe as individuals. It's something protects our communities, families, and loved ones too. 

Here are the CDC guidelines regarding holiday travel and gatherings. 

During this break, please do your best to follow recommended safety guidelines for your region. Here is a link to the Pennsylvania Department of Health page for Coronavirus. 

Be safe for yourselves and for each other.