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It’s funny how really great collaborations and projects can happen sometimes – almost by accident, or at least not by design.
SEXtember is an example of this sort of partnership. No great planning went into it, just the enthusiasm of two organisations who both recognised a gap in the community.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The story of SEXtember goes back to the start of the year when Red Aware hung out at the Lord Mayors International Student Welcome, an event where the city of Melbourne says hi to the many international students that call it home for the duration of their studies. It was here that the YEAH team met Meld Magazine, a non-profit online mag aimed at providing content to Melbourne’s international student community. Fast forward to August and I’ve just had a bit of random meeting in a coffee shop with some of the Meld contributors. I went in thinking maybe it’d be cool to have an article on sexual health.
I left that meeting a little bit blown away. The Meld guys were super into the idea of talking to international students about sexual health, and it was something they’d been vaguely kicking around for a while. So they thought that a feature month, with heaps of articles and original videos would be a better idea than a single article (and who was I to argue). A few days later they blew me away even more, they’d come up with some unique SEXtember site branding, gone out and filmed a SEXtember intro video and come up with a broad range of articles and topics to cover.
The best thing about SEXtember is that I didn’t have to push it as a concept, or drive the content. The stories are all conceived, researched and written by international students, they’re writing about what sort of sexual health and sexuality information is important and appropriate for their own contexts and communities. All that YEAH is doing is providing a bit of support, linking reporters up with people and providing some very general advice and guidance. For me this is great safe sex and sexuality promotion; driven by the people it’s aiming at, and for me, that’s what a good partnership is all about.
If SEXtember serves as a great way for international students in Melbourne (and wherever else they might read Meld) to start having conversations about sexual health and sexuality, and gives them some places to go and continue that conversation – I think that’s a great result.
By Felix Scholz, YEAH’s Resources Manager