Thursday, 9 April 2009

Amazing people and those who oppose talk of the clitoris

Over the last two months I have been visiting Brook Centres across the country talking about our new strategic framework (, our licence agreement that governs the relationship between Brook Centres and the review of our organisational design and governance structure (  

Today I spent the day in Manchester at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation with people who work at Brook in Oldham, Blackburn, Salford, Wirral and Manchester and tonight over a delicious curry at Cafe Zia (on the Wandsworth Road) I have been telling my partner how inspiring it is spending time with people who work at Brook - today I was told the most exciting thing about working at Brook is 'making a massive difference to young people's lives' and the concern that staff have is 'pressure to see all young people and the fear that if you don't see everyone something will happen to them'.

We talked about opposition to Brook's work and a real minority of people's negative perceptions about what we do.   There was a general agreement that opposition to our clinical work has reduced over the last decade.  One worker talked about how as we push the boundaries more, there will be more complaints.  She described some concerns about education sessions from a couple of parents where there was discussion of the clitoris.  She then said as she talked to the parents they generally came 'on side' after discussion about her work.  I am so so pleased that people at Brook talk about the clitoris in their education work.  

A few years ago a very dear friend and colleague was described in the Guardian as an evangelist for the clitoris. We need some more of those - when I talk to young women they still tell me they are having sex they don't want, they are still subject to gender stereotypes and limitations and that pleasure is a distant hope. 

So as high profile people in public office continue to vilify young people, vilify sex and relationships education in school and youth clubs and sexual health services, and vilify condom and pregnancy service advertising, lets become evangelists for the clitoris, evangelists for women, evangelists for good relationships and evangelists for equality.


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