Washington School Board Director to Teach Children ‘Safer Sex Practices’ at Her Adult Store

Washington School Board Director to Teach Children ‘Safer Sex Practices’ at Her Adult Store
A file photo showing male and female gender icons. (Shutterstock)
Bill Pan

A school board director in Washington state says she will host events at an “identity-inclusive” and “not creepy” adult store she owns and discuss topics such as “sexual anatomy for pleasure” and “safer sex practices” with children as young as nine.

Jenn Mason, the school board director for Bellingham Public Schools, is advertising a sex education summer program called “Uncringe Academy.” The stated purpose of the program, according to the online advertisement, is to help “young people to feel comfortable around these topics so that they can advocate for their own bodies, health, and well-being.”

Mason is offering two “two-day, empowerment-based” workshops—one for 9- to 12-year-old children and another for 13- to 17-year-old teenagers. The workshops will cover topics such as “gender and sexual identities,” “sexual anatomy for pleasure and reproduction,” “kinds of solo and partnered sexual activities,” “safer sex practices for all kinds of sexual activities,” and “the ethics and realities of sexualized media and pornography.”

“Workshops are divided by age and presentation of topics will vary for developmental appropriateness,” according to the ad. Tickets are sold at prices ranging from $5 to $50.

The events are set to take place in August at WinkWink, an adult store that describes itself as a “woman-owned, identity-inclusive sex shop in Bellingham” that offers “non-toxic sex toys, lingerie, books, menstrual-related goods, and educational classes.”

Mason has been facing criticism on social media after Seattle-area radio show host Jason Rantz reported on a “queer youth” event that Mason hosted earlier this month for young children at the adult store. Rantz called the event “inappropriately inclusive” and “extremely creepy,” arguing that “having kids present in a sex shop is bizarre enough.”

“It’s hard to explain who has more questionable judgment: Mason or any parent who brings a child to this event,” Rantz said.

Mason defended her workshop in a letter to Rantz, saying that “safe sex practices” is “not generally covered as a main topic in this course except as it relates to consent, communication, and safety” for the 9-12 age group.

“The class for 9- to 12-year-olds is an introduction to topics related to relationships, puberty, bodies, and sexuality. We focus on what makes healthy vs. unhealthy friendships and romantic relationships, the science of how puberty works, consent and personal boundaries, defining ’sex,' and discussing why people may or may not choose to engage in sexual activities,” she told Rantz. “This course includes understanding the basics of sexual anatomy, including the names and function of body parts related to reproduction and pleasure. We also cover the basics of biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”

In response, Rantz said he thinks Mason is “well-intentioned” but “goes too far,” adding that he still finds it inappropriate to teach pre-pubescent children about sexual pleasure or “confuse them on gender identity.”

The workshops Mason is advertising will be held in her personal capacity as a business owner, and not as the director for the Bellingham School District, Rantz was told. They are not endorsed by or associated with the school district.