Published Author Category Frontier RTP, RTP180

What topics do you consider to be taboo in our society? Topics that we shy away from may actually be the most important to discuss. On July 16th, we brought in five experts from different fields to talk about their “taboo” subject on the virtual RTP180 stage.

First up, Amy Morrow from RTI International explained The Genderbread Person. According to Amy, “Straight people have a bit of catching up to do.” What is The Genderbread Person? In short, they define sex from not at all female to all female, and not at all male, to all male. “Gender expression is a powerful tool that can help us find our identity. Expressing is incredibly affirming,” says Amy. Find out about some tools that can be used in the school system to talk about gender by checking out her talk here.

Next we had Kyesha Jennings from NC State University talk to us about healing through hip hop. Kyesha said we’re all working from home in a double pandemic: “The ills of COVID-19, and the social and institutional ills of racism.” Continuing on that sentiment she said, “thankfully Black people have a level of resilience that is unmatched. We are able to provide access of healing to others.” This healing can come from hip hop, which encompasses music, dance, visual arts, and fashion as well. Want to learn more about the history of Black music and its relation to hip hop and fighting for racial justice in America? Check out her talk here

Next, Chris Budnick from Healing Transitions took us through a heart-wrenching presentation about the children of the opioid epidemic. He started by showing an image of a child in the backseat of a car with two family members who had overdosed on drugs. He wanted the audience to consider what happens to the kids that grow up after these experiences, and ask ourselves: at what point do we stop having compassion, and start having judgment? Chris talked about how there are many ways we can engage with people in recovery and become an ally. Check out his chat to discover resources to seek out non-exploitative stories, learn about recovery, and know who to contact in the community. According to Chris, “Recovery is possible. And it’s something we should advocate for.” 

Next, Heather Hill from Renaissance Funeral Homes talked about death. To start off, Heather began by saying that we all need a wake up call, and death is the most profound way to give that to us. Once we learn more about death and learn to accept it, we connect with different feelings that we can harness to provide us a temporary understanding of our lives. Why do we consider death to be taboo? Well, she thinks the medicalization of death might have something to do with it, because it doesn’t always feel natural to us. Heather also hosts a group called Death Cafe, where folks get together to talk openly about death. Interested in learning more? Check out the video to learn how to talk about death more openly.

To finish things off, Leslie Massicotte of the Compass Center came to talk about sex. When it comes to sexual anatomy, data shows we don’t always know what we’re talking about. Why is knowing these terms important? Leslie gives three main reasons: To improve sexual health outcomes, create greater pleasure, and to prevent and identify child sexual abuse.  As Leslie says, “Know your body parts, name your body parts, and teach others.” She is adamant about giving shame free sex education to both kids and adult, and teaching consent. Check out the video to learn more about these reasons and why she’s encouraging us to embrace our body parts, loud and proud!

Ready for more #RTP180? Our next topic is The Next Generation—be sure to register for the August 20 event!