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Natalie Blanton, Director, Sexual Health Advocate

Natalie Blanton is an activist and doctoral student within Environmental Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah. She works, researches, and teaches within the veins of social, environmental, and reproductive justice. Natalie understands our world-society to be built upon the backs of oppressed communities and actively seeks to advocate, educate, and rabble-rouse to overturn that norm. Natalie is a community educator and curriculum consultant for the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, and teaches the Sociology of Sex and Gender at the university level. When she is not being her restless activist-academic self, Natalie eats too many vegetables, works at an independent bookstore, gets lost/hikes/rock climbs the local mountains and wild spaces of the West with her hound dog, Ida.

When was a time you needed assistance with something that seemed unmentionable at the time? A situation that you would not have been able to get through without tangible support?

Growing up in the conservative Intermountain-West region of the US, I began questioning the dominant religion and culture I was raised within, as a teenager, and immediately came across judgement and unsettling marginalization. I found myself ostracized as I formed these new identities and discovered new communities that would welcome me in. Due to lack of comprehensive sex education, and a pervasive [rape] culture of shame, I found myself in a horrifying date rape situation. I needed help, and I didn’t feel like I could tell most of my rural friends or family what had happened. It was at this point, that I drove to the nearest city center and found myself in a Planned Parenthood clinic. I received prompt, shame-free care, help, and support for all that I needed. Planned Parenthood was there for me when no one else was. That unfortunate season of life catalyzed my efforts to continually show up for this movement, of shame-free sexuality, reproductive justice, and autonomy/healthy relationships for all, that so clearly showed up for me, in my darkest hour. On a global scale, the work that The Unmentionables is doing is VITAL for EVERYONE.