Issues

Library’s sex ed workshop causes controversy requiring extra security

photo via Flick

A recent teen sex education program ignited controversy in southern Maryland when the Lexington Park Library in St. Mary’s County hosted a workshop open only to teenagers, no parents allowed, on May 21, 2017. Critics say the sex ed class was an exercise in perversion and sexual deviance by a presenter with ties to abortion.

The class was fraught with controversy even prior to its debut. The Bay Net, the local newspaper, reported that the library was planning extra security. Part of the issue was the teacher of the workshop. The newspaper reported:

There are some disgruntled members of the community who are upset over plans for the Southern Maryland Area Secular Humanists (SMASH) to host certified sex educator, Bianca Palmisano. ‘My talks are largely focused on clinical education and giving teens a safe space to ask questions without the watchful eye of parents,’ she stated.

The watchdog website Creepy Library reported that Palmisano isn’t safe for kids at all:

Under the guise of ‘sex-ed,’ sexual experimentation was encouraged and ‘bunches’ of lubrication were distributed at the sex workshop only for minors.

A March 6th Periscope video of this class–which she dedicated to all SOMD county citizens—serves as evidence that sexual experimentation was encouraged: ‘anus is where fingers and penis potentially go in’, and ‘water-based lube is best for sex toys and anal play.’  https://twitter.com/Fun_Size_SexEd/status/838887340089061376

Why were parents blocked? According to the instructor in an April 14th interview with the Enterprise, “children may ask questions or see things their parents may not approve of.” http://www.somdnews.com/enterprise/news/local/teen-sex-ed-class-is-back-on/article_0006424e-e711-5826-b4e9-7c06f3db28fd.html

On April 17 the instructor confirmed on her blog: ‘I do talk about anal sex and porn [pornography is entertainment] and lube because I believe in teaching young people to have agency over their bodies.’ https://blog.intimatehealthconsulting.com/2017/04/17/the-small-town-sex-ed-tour-that-wasnt/

Indeed, the woman who describes herself as a “Healthcare Trainer” fills her Twitter page with sex-based articles and ideas, and even abortion.


Palmisano also describes herself on her consulting website this way:

I trained as a professional pole dancer for 3 years, and it helped me survive periods of crippling depression. I do advocate for the decriminalization of sex work, and make a yearly donation to HIPS, an organization that supports sex workers to live full and healthy lives. I do wear the title slut proudly… (emphasis added)

Palmisano’s website, Intimate Health Consulting, reveals a wealth of sex-oriented topics, including things such as “BDSM and kink culture.” Meanwhile, Palmisano’s organization’s Facebook page is a mix of sex ed articles and abortion advocacy.

Thus, it’s clear that the issue at hand is not, as Palmisano asserts throughout Twitter, the need for honest sex education discussions. Palmisano praised the students she taught at the workshop, yet she noted the “hate and bigotry” of those opposed to her sexual agenda. She wrote a series of tweets after her workshop:

What Palmisano describes as hate, parents and community members described as love for their children. TheBayNet.com reported:

[…] opposition members were out in protest of the content being discussed in the workshop. ‘I’m taken back that someone would want to teach these things to our kids and any review of her [Palmisano] website would reveal some of the perverse things she’s talking about and that’s just not appropriate for this age,’ said Chris Massetti, of Great Mills, a member of Truth Bible Church. ‘She’s celebrating perversions. The fact that it’s at a publicly funded library is wrong. We just wanted to stand and pray to give testimony to onlookers that we do not support that and teaching that to our kids.’

An article meant to profile Palmisano positively, also notes the opposition:

Classes on sex education are controversial enough, but Palmisano is a self-described ‘vivacious queer, feminist, dancer’ who supports sex workers, works with PFLAG, and has presented on topics like BDSM. The free classes themselves were sponsored by ‘Good Clean Love,’ a lubrication company. (They didn’t pay for anything, but they gave Palmisano lube samples to hand out along with the condoms she made available for attendees.)

The Library Board of Trustees originally canceled the class after public outcry due to what they called “inappropriate” content in a March 22, 2017, press release. However, SMASH then rented a room at the library and the class was back on.

Concerned parent Greg Sauter told The Enterprise that parents had not been able to review the materials that would be presented in the class. “Closing the doors to parents during the event with the presenter left as the only adult in the room is not safe. We owe our children a safe library environment,” he said.

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