#WishIdLearned: Sex and Emotional Literacy Educator Karen B.K. Chan

karenbkchanThe first time I saw Karen B.K. Chan’s wildly popular YouTube video “Jam,” I cried. It remains to be some of the most powerful sex ed I’ve ever seen – especially in under six minutes.

Years later, I was speaking at Playground conference and low and behold, Karen was also speaking. I sent her the fangirl-iest email I’ve ever sent and we made plans to have dinner during my visit.

Over Ethiopian food, we geeked out about sex ed and empathy. Like me, she describes herself as “a sex and feelings person.”

I feel honored to call her a friend.

Here’s what she wishes she’s learned earlier about sex and relationships:

“I wish I’d learned earlier in life there were all different ways to be attractive. As an androgynous girl who wished more than anything to be a boy, as a youngster falling in love all over the place without any reciprocation, and as a weird immigrant kid who was always on the outside, I couldn’t imagine how I could ever be attractive to anyone.

I wish I’d known that desire is actually wide-open, and that I could imagine new ones. That I could coax them from in-between places. That I could inspire them in others through my mere strange being.”

Karen B. K. Chan is a sex and emotional literacy educator, speaker, and author in Toronto, Canada. She is dedicated to teaching sex and feelings in ways that are plainly spoken, emotionally honest, and grounded in justice. Her 5-minute YouTube video “Jam” has received over 75,000 hits and is used as a teaching resource internationally. Karen (aka BK) can be found at FluidExchange.org.


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