Melanie Perry: Northern Michigan Outreach Team Member

What does mean to you?
To me, means bringing reliable, relatable, and factual information to individuals of all backgrounds and sexual orientation so they can make knowledgeable choices when it comes to their sexual health. also helps individuals plan for their future family with pre-conception health information and the “are you ready tool,” which asks a range of questions from health, emotional wellness, and finances to help individuals focus on what’s important before becoming a parent.

How did you get involved in
I am lucky to work alongside Katie J., who is driven and passionate about bring sexual health information to rural Northern Michigan, and had the genius idea to tailor to our region. Katie asked me to be on the outreach team because of my experience with sexual health (I previously worked at Planned Parenthood), social media, marketing, and my personal experience as a younger mother.

What is your favorite ad and why?
My favorite ad is, “Safe is sexy.” I love this ad because it’s simple, but empowers sexually active people to be safe in a world where sexual activity is often portrayed in an unsafe light. How often did you see Christian Grey put on a condom in the movie,” Fifty Shades of Grey?” Beyond that, it empowers individuals who choose NOT to be sexually active and sends the message that abstinence is sexy, too.

What is your favorite outreach item and why?
I LOVE the stickers and pins for a variety of reasons! Who doesn’t love to slap a good, “That’s what she said” sticker on their planner or a pin showing your love for IUDs on their backpack? Not only are they fun, but they help continue to spread the message for as long as they are visible.

Has impacted you in any way and how?
Of course! It has empowered and equipped me with a very powerful, creative, relatable tool that helps me spread the message about sexual and preconception health. It takes a topic that is typically taboo and turns it into a more relaxed conversation with the potential to truly impact a person’s sexual health and future.

What have you learned since being involved with
I have learned a lot! First, there is no tool like this in our area and those working in sexual health are extremely excited to use it. Second, the conversation about sexual health doesn’t have to be awkward. In fact, it doesn’t have to focus on sex at all…many people are not sexually active, but can still use to read about healthy relationships, sexual orientation, and, if planning for the future, preconception health. It’s a tool that is useable and reliable regardless of where a person is with their sexuality.