Stigma Shakers

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  • 2. At What Point Do You Question Your Own Mortality?: The Stigma of Too Young to Die with Lucy Younger

    Lucy Younger is a 23-year-old young women’s health advocate and writer. After finishing her second year of university, she was diagnosed with a rare low grade brain tumour which required a craniotomy to treat. Post surgery and recovery, Lucy went on to graduate with an English degree, phenomenally followed by a Master's Degree, however similarly to her undergraduate experience, she was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer at the end of her master’s, which led her to start her blog and page “Living low grade”. This traumatic experience inspired Lucy to create an uplifting blog to raise awareness about low grade tumours, and cancer for young people who have just started their lives and courageously, learning to live with low grade tumours and a cancer diagnosis. As an admired social media advocate and influencer, Lucy’s TikToks have been featured in the New York post. These posts exist so that other young people in a similar position to Lucy, can watch and follow her journey. Now, Lucy raises awareness and advocates for both the Brain Tumour Charity and The British Thyroid Foundation along with writing a blog that has featured in regional newspapers to raise awareness for misdiagnosis of low-grade tumours of young people. Description: Receiving a cancer diagnosis is possibly one of the hardest and most confronting realities a person can face. Cancer remains devastatingly unbiased of who it targets, disrupting the lives of those diagnosed and the people around them. Tragically, the conversations around cancer and mortality are heavily weighted in fear and palpable overwhelm, altering the trajectory of a person’s life in a single heartbeat. One of the most confronting topics we face as a society and individually, is death. Yet, there is a marker when it comes to mortality; illness, age, and well… illness and age. There is a confronting stigma surrounding young people and death and a reluctance in talking about it. While some may look upon death as a natural stage of life, others may find the prospect of dying too terrifying to contemplate. So perhaps, let’s soften into the hard conversations and do mortality, meaning, and death differently.In this episode, Ally and Lucy discuss: How we can best listen, learn and support young people with cancerWhy talking about the value of life, mortality and death are not mutually exclusive How life can change in an instant, at any age Why death is as relevant a conversation as life is How seeking a diagnosis for health issues can be challenging for young people.Navigating mortality and an uncertain futureFollow: You can find Lucy via IG: @Lucy.younger, and livinglowgradee If you love this episode, please share and leave a review — let’s smoke out stigma and make truth-telling the next biggest trend.

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  • 1. "The 237 Reasons Humans Have Sex": The Stigma of Sexual Hang-Ups

    Kate Moyle is a Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist, Certified Psycho-Sexologist, host of The Sexual Wellness Sessions Podcast and author of The Science Of Sex. In her psychotherapy practice she works with people to help them understand the challenges and difficulties that they are having in their sex lives and relationships, what's maintaining them and how they can get to a place of improved sexual wellbeing. She is a regular media contributor and expert on the topic of sexual wellbeing, and has been a guest on podcasts such as Diary Of A CEO hosted by Simon Barlett, Giovanna Fletcher's Happy Mum, Happy Baby, Grace Beverley's Working Hard, Hardly working and A Millennial Mind. She also consults for brands in the sexual wellness space and has worked with brands such as Headspace, This Works and Boots to launch products and ranges, and is UK expert for world-leading luxury pleasure brand Lelo.Description: Oh yes… sex and life is a complex duo! In this candid conversation, Ally and Kate discuss the importance of taking “sex talk” outside of the bedroom, leading to happier and healthier relationships. In this stigma shaking exposé, Ally and Kate Moyle discuss various aspects of sexual stigmas and how, when it comes to sex, society continues to raise its eyebrows in less than helpful ways. To normalise sex means to talk about sex, and the impact that sexual well-being has on our mental health. The topic of sex remains hugely taboo, with societal judgements sustaining unnecessary shame. Together, Ally and Kate tackle online censorship, the orgasm gap (including faking faux pas), the knock-on effect of stigma on women’s health, sex and disability, how sex is a skill that can be learned, and how everyone can be part of the hard conversations. This liberating episode exposes the sex topics unturned and most importantly, why sex is not a dirty word. Topics:In this episode, Ally and Kate discuss:The struggles we have with sex and communicationThe word ‘Vagina’ and the ongoing “ick” factor?How to introduce sexual boundariesHow to talk about sex outside of the bedroom Why sex is not a numbers game How to kick-start a stagnant sex life How to discover satisfaction, pleasure, and adaptability in a relationshipOnline censorship of sexual contentThe moral dilemmas when it comes to solo-play and porn The ordeals behind the orgasm gapWhy sex is nothing like the movies! Follow Kate:  Kate Moyle Image Credit: © copyright Matt WrittleInstagram: @KateMoyleTherapyBook: 
  • 9. Putting Shame to Bed: The Stigma of the ‘V’ Word with Dr Aziza Sesay

    Dr. Aziza Sesay is an NHS General Practitioner, GP educator, Honorary Senior Clinical lecturer, host, speaker and health content creator. She has a strong passion for health education, awareness, advocacy and empowerment. She channels this through her platform ‘Talks with Dr. Sesay’ where she shares short informative videos, infographics, live discussions and tips on a variety of topics with a particular emphasis on women’s and gynaecological health, cancer awareness, mental health and health inequity. Dr. Sesay is the creative director of Black Female Doctors UK organisation, Charity fundraising lead for Keep it Fax charity, one of the Board of Directors of Prevention First Initiative, Ambassador for the Eve Appeal charity; and was a UN Women UK delegate for CSW 67 (volunteer role).She’s been featured on BBC News, Guardian, Metro News, Women’s health UK and many more. She’s a true believer in collaboration and has worked with many different organisations including NHS England, DHSC, CoppaFeel!, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Black Women Rising UK, PANDAS foundation. In addition, she has also supported several national public health campaigns.DescriptionWe are living in a digital era where we hold little back. Sex educators, influencers, activists and content creators are championing body parts by tackling taboo head on. Health practitioners and medical experts are taking to the virtual stage to normalise women’s health, in particular all things “down there”. But - this is being met with differing opinions. Not only do we need to understand our anatomy, but we need to be empowered by it. For many, shame is a familiar feeling when it comes to discussing medical conditions, so instead of muting our stories, it’s time we put shame to bed once and for all. And it starts here - by exposing the stigma of saying the word ‘vagina’, with the incredible Dr Aziza Sesay. Topics: In this episode, Ally and Aziza discuss:Dr Aziza Sesay's experience as an online medical influencer, and the challenges she faces!How can we tackle taboo online? Why we need to normalise body parts AKA, ‘vagina’How we can empower women to champion their health (and bodies!)The damaging side-effects of shadow-banning vital content What can we do as a community to combat censorship?Why are we so afraid to talk openly about women's health and 'things down there'?Follow: You can find Dr Aziza Sesay on Instagram @talkswithdrsesay @ via her website talkswithdrsesay.comIf you love this episode, please share and leave a review — let’s smoke out stigma and make truth-telling the next biggest trend. 
  • 8. "You're Going Crazy!": The Stigma of Gendered Health with Sarah Graham

    Sarah Graham is an award-winning freelance health journalist and founder of the Hysterical Women blog, specialising in health, gender and feminism. She has written extensively on these subjects for the i newspaper, Refinery29, the Telegraph, Grazia, Guardian, the BMJ and many others. She was a finalist in the 2021 Medical Journalists’ Association Awards. In Rebel Bodies, my guest award-winning health journalist and founder of the Hysterical Women blog ,Sarah Graham, investigates what it will take to bridge the gender health gap, shining a light on the prevalence of the daily and dangerous disparities in the medical help women and men receive. With a focus on the voices of real patients as well as the history and research on medical sexism, Rebel Bodies is a must read for anyone, of any gender, who believes in equality.Episode Description: As women and minority groups speak out about their experiences of gaslighting and misdiagnosis, my guest today, health journalist Sarah Graham and author of, ‘Rebel Bodies: A guide to the gender health gap revolution’, intelligently offers an empowering manifesto for change in women's healthcare. This is the book that every classroom needs to shelve. On the surface, the healthcare services are evolving and progressing, however the gender health care gap is moving too fast for society to keep up with. As polite patients, in this episode we uncover the staggering statistics holding us back, how we can become advocates for our health, and why Sarah is pairing her revolution up as a revolution for us all! And of course, why we need to collectively rebel against the powers that be, because EVERY BODY deserves a REBELLIOUS voice and EVERY BODY is no less. Topics:In this episode, Ally and Sarah discuss:What exactly is gendered health? Pointing fingers: The transgender community needs our help more than ever!How can we lessen the gender pain gap?The stigma around treating the LGBTI community “Shit my doctor says”: trusting the system or not understanding it?Why advocating for your body is a must! Bridging the gap between education, doctors, living, and recovery Follow: You can find Sarah on Instagram @sarahgraham7writer via her website  If you love this episode, please share and leave a review — let’s smoke out stigma and make truth-telling the next biggest trend. 
  • 7. “Grief Isn't Like the Movies”: The Stigma of Grief with Lissie Harper MBE

    Lissie Harper began a campaign after her husband, who she had married just four weeks earlier, was killed on duty in Berkshire in August 2019. Three people were convicted of manslaughter but cleared of murder. Lissie used her profound grief and determination for justice and campaigned for legal changes – named Harper’s Law. With the support of the UK Government and Police Federation, Harpers Law was passed, which legislates the extension of mandatory life sentences to anyone who commits the manslaughter of an emergency worker, and unlawful killing of those on duty. In recognition of her efforts in introducing Harper’s Law, Lissie has been awarded an MBE, in the King’s New Year’s Honours List. Now, Lissie is moving forward with her life away from her public profile as a formidable campaigner. And notably, Lissie is an inspirational role model, on how our darkest days can become the incentive to live life to the fullest. With her love of nature, Lissie is an avid artist producing beautiful pieces as the creator of her business, The Print Bee. And notably, Lissie is an inspirational role model for anyone on how pain can be repurposed, and as my dear friend, I am in awe of her daily. Episode DescriptionGrief is something we all fear. We cannot prepare for grief; the unravelling of loss, trauma, or how to co-exist with grief to ultimately “move on”. Understandably, death will impact us all and whilst we can comprehend the practicalities involved with the grieving process, as a society, we remain so reluctant to openly talk about it. In this episode, we delve into the day where Lissie heard the words she never wanted to hear, how grief remains so “hush hush, what the power of grief can do to fuel positive change, and why re-finding love as a widow or widower can be the fairest gift of them all. Topics: In this episode, Ally and Lissie discuss:The moment Lissie discovered that the love of her life had been killedHow a wrongful verdict triggered her to change the UK lawManoeuvring her grief to fit societal idealsWhy searching for love is not a betrayalThe ways we can hold grief kindly, without judgement or weirdnessThe art of reinvention through loss, grief, and hope Why the power of truth can prevent pain, no matter what Why ‘grief tourists’ need to check in with themselves!Follow:You can find Lissie on Instagram @lissieharpermbe via her website The Print Bee. If you love this episode, please share and leave a review — let’s smoke out stigma and make truth-telling the next biggest trend. 
  • 6. Leaning into Loneliness: The Stigma of Loneliness with Michelle Ahern

    Michelle Ahern is an Australian-born writer, comedian and communications specialist. From poetry to blogs to her latest foray into the world of stand-up comedy, Michelle’s writing and performing always hones in on the guts of life. From the true story of loss that gave way to a new lease on life she has recently moved to Barcelona, Spain where she is starting over, in her 40s. Where there used to be a husband, a family, a home, a dog and a job … she now has a stage and a microphone where she thrives on telling stories of exploring new countries, making new friends and life inside a threesome.Description Research shows loneliness is as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes per day and that people who are lonely are 50% more likely to die at a premature age. So, where do we even start? Loneliness, especially after any form of breakup can be complex, stigmatised and hugely taboo. Sometimes, we don’t even admit to ourselves that we are feeling the waves of chronic loneliness, let alone to anyone else. Why? Because revealing how lonely we are might suggest that we are not likeable, or worthy of companionship, friendship, or love. In some ways, we believe our loneliness is embarrassing - that something within has failed at making meaningful connections. So, we hide it. We run from it, numb it, and scroll for the next social fix, hoping that validation might come in the form of a stranger. In this episode, we reveal how to lean into loneliness: the good, the bad, and the honking hilarious moments in life! Topics: In this episode, Ally and Michelle discuss:“If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry”: The relationship between laughing and lonelinessHow loneliness makes us question our lovability Was becoming a 'throuple' the ultimate cure for Michelle’s lonelier days?Starting life over in her 40s: Should we all be on the hunt for a book club?Learning to feel the difference between alone and lonely Discovering the ways we lean into loneliness: Dating apps, voice-notes, and everything in between!The peace in saying, “I’m lonely”Follow: You can find Michelle on Instagram: @michelleaherncomedy or via her website www.agentblonde.comIf you love this episode, please share and leave a review — let’s smoke out stigma and make truth-telling the next biggest trend!
  • 5. Don’t Mind If I do!: The Stigma of Masturbation with Ellamae Fullalove

    Ellamae Fullalove, founder of @vavawomb_ and @mindovermkh, is a community and events founder, advocate, speaker, podcast host, workshop facilitator, poet and all round creative. Ellamae curated the stigma shaking community brand  @vavawomb_ which provides educational, scroll-stopping content on gender equality, intersectional feminism, pleasure, infertility, health and well-being. She co-founded The Vagina Festival event using performing arts, story telling, workshops and poetry as a catalyst for change.She designs and delivers workshops to untangle shame, to self explore and to tap into your sexual mental health, as well as for mindfulness using art therapy as a method of reflection. She founded the worldwide MRKH Podcast, events, creative awareness and resource platform @mindovermrkh (which you can find via the Va Va Womb website) to support those with MRKH, DSDs and other relatable experiences through amplifying stories from around the world, hosting creative writing clubs during lockdown and running social events in London. By day, Ellamae works in Social Housing, all of her evening and weekend work supporting those with MRKH has come from a place of wanting to be the woman she needed when she was a girl, because no person with MRKH should ever feel alone.DescriptionWith sexual censorship on the rise, our social media influencers need a societal shift more than ever! Let’s face it - both masturbation and pleasure remains one of the most taboo topics out there. Yet, aren’t we all doing it? Maybe, maybe not. Sure, bedroom antics and sexual pleasure is a personal choice - however, are we robbing ourselves of a world of exploration when it comes to “things down there”? In this episode, I chat with friend, advocate, and creative activist, Ellamae, to chat about vagina symbolism, “ridding the rap” when it comes to lube, the benefits of solo-play, and why our sexual freedom rests in the hands of an algorithm. Topics: In this episode, Ally and Ellamae discuss:Why Vagina is not a dirty word: Removing the stigma once and for allThe medical diagnosis, MRKH, that both Ally and Ellamae bonded overWhy masturbation, self-pleasure and exploring happiness became Ellamae’s “why” How faking orgasms can be a bump-starter, benefit or betrayal Sex, social media and censorship: Battling Metadata and the algorithm “Gods”Aeroplanes, fruit, and road-signs: Vagina symbolism in all its forms. Follow: You can find Ellamae on Instagram @vavawomb, and via her website . If you love this episode, please share and leave a review — let’s smoke out stigma and make truth-telling the next biggest trend!