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Thoughts at puberty”

Thoughts may come and go,
And minds made decisive,
Mates may stay to cuddle,
And tears cease to stop,

http://reverbednothesblog.wordpress.com/category/poetry-sex-ed/

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promswag4-up-M

Prom season is in full swing! Students across the country are reserving limos, renting tuxes, and posing for those classically awkward photos for their parents. But while we’re enjoying the glamour, let’s not forget safety! It’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #promswag!

Share on FacebookIt’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #PromSwag. http://bit.ly/PromSwag

tweet-now-toutProtect yourself and your partner while getting your #PromSwag on http://bit.ly/PromSwag #safersex

abstinence #promswag
condoms #promswag
condoms #promswag
patch #promswag
pill #promswag
#promswag

Show your love for contraception methods, while getting your prom glam on.

Share on FacebookIt’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #PromSwag. http://bit.ly/PromSwag

tweet-now-toutProtect yourself and your partner while getting your #PromSwag on http://bit.ly/PromSwag #safersex

Keep calm, and Prom on.

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I have seen people change and at the same vein witnessed a retrograde in youths. I have been around areas where there\’s no hope for light and peace, but in this same situation some people still survive.

I have been around youths – Boys and Girls, that have made life difficult for themselves due to lack of knowledge. And my countenance has dwindled, because I have witnessed a holocaust of ruined lives in the past, even now.

I love peace and the prospect it brings. I love sanctuary – a foundation laid on the rocks of simplicity and the Arm of Justice.
I stand against the illegal acts displayed by the so-called Governmental body. I stand against rape, child abuse and its associated acts. I stand against the malfunctioning of child rights and value – I stand for a change, as an \”Advocate\”.

I stand as a Youth, Not a man, alone. But with men – the colony of change.
\”A man cannot be a faculty, men can. The necessity of change begins with not one man, but with the uniformity of all\”.
(Victor Omovbude Brown)

I stand against – Child punishment, Tribalism, criticism, Discrimination, and Queer visions. I stand for change, which is my first goal. As a youth, I stand for Unity, Peace and Progress.

I stand for a free and transparent Health service attributed to (children,youths and adults) – I stand against unequal rights and segregation in roles.
I stand for Quality Education – Void of preferential treatment, equal for all.
I stand against poor governance.

I am an \”Advocate For Youth\”.

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I have seen people change and at the same vein witnessed a retrograde in youths. I have been around areas where there’s no hope for light and peace, but in this same situation some people still survive.

I have been around youths – Boys and Girls, that have made life difficult for themselves due to lack of knowledge. And my countenance has dwindled, because I have witnessed a holocaust of ruined lives in the past, even now.

I love peace and the prospect it brings. I love sanctuary – a foundation laid on the rocks of simplicity and the Arm of Justice.
I stand against the illegal acts displayed by the so-called Governmental body. I stand against rape, child abuse and its associated acts. I stand against the malfunctioning of child rights and value – I stand for a change, as an “Advocate”.

I stand as a Youth, Not a man, alone. But with men – the colony of change.
“A man cannot be a faculty, men can. The necessity of change begins with not one man, but with the uniformity of all”.
(Victor Omovbude Brown)

I stand against – Child punishment, Tribalism, criticism, Discrimination, and Queer visions. I stand for change, which is my first goal. As a youth, I stand for Unity, Peace and Progress.

I stand for a free and transparent Health service attributed to (children,youths and adults) – I stand against unequal rights and segregation in roles.
I stand for Quality Education – Void of preferential treatment, equal for all.
I stand against poor governance.

I am an “Advocate For Youth”.

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By: Sarah Bradley ’17

On April 5, I and another freshmen member of Students for Sexual Health attended the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts conference for campus organizers, alongside representatives from UMASS-Amherst, Boston University, Tufts University, Northeastern University, Smith College, and Wellesley College. It was a day of instruction and reflection on how to improve our campus outreach programs, strengthen our campaigns, recruit new members, and facilitate those difficult conversations concerning reproductive social justice. Discussions were encouraged as we exchanged ideas and strategies. Representing Boston College—a school where we as a student group have no support from the administration and literally stand on non-BC property sidewalks to distribute condoms—we represented a unique situation within the group.

It was both frustrating and incredibly exciting to hear what other schools were doing, to hear about their incredibly fun and innovative events and creative campus outreach programs. When we explained our situation as an unrecognized sexual health group at a Catholic college, the other representatives were shocked. They were quick to suggest different ways to rally support and to promote our cause, regardless of our campus situation. And they had some great ideas.

Taking the train home, I found myself wishing I attended a more liberal college where our student group could have more freedom with our outreach programs. Then I realized: as great as it is that these other Massachusetts schools have the ability to rally on campus and receive administrative support, the fact remains that this is not the situation we face at Boston College—at least, not now.

I’m a freshman. That means that I have three more years to continue working with Students for Sexual Health here at BC. If I had attended a more progressive college, maybe sexual health would have just been another cause among the lineup of tables at the club fair. But attending a conservative college, as frustrating as it may be, is an important push that maybe I would not have experienced otherwise. It’s not about sulking over the lack of administrative support; it’s about taking it as a challenge.

Personally, I know that I have three more years ahead of me of standing on the sidewalk passing out condoms, holding events off campus, and doing our best even as an unofficial group to educate our peers. And while it may not happen during my time here as a student, SSH will be an official group someday—but even then, Students for Sexual Health will continue to advocate for our cause and for our right to educate our peers here at BC.

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SexEdMaps1_2

Check out the link below to see more maps that show which states do not require certain issues to be covered in sex ed.

These Maps Show Where Kids in America Get Terrifying Sex Ed

via the Huffington Post and the Guttmacher Institute

Categories: Sex Education
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Many a time, I have tried to survey and parry the questioning effect on sex and its constituent. I believe it is a redefined commitment entitled to both parties ( man & woman ) on a divine standard.
The world we live in today define sex as a ‘social commitment’, which is a taboo to fundamental notions displayed from old.
Afore, Sex, occurs after a marriage right is fulfilled – which connects a man and a woman together perfectly. Today, sex, is now seen as an avenue to satisfy common urge.

* some say we should have sex to satisfy ourselves and set our burdens at ease.
* others say, when you feel the urge get someone to have sex with. And a girlfriend should serve as a friend with benefits.

Notion :
Sex is good and fun in the making, not to be confused with a Mutual Engagement between a male and a female. There are so many medical attributes linked to sex – one dominant property I know of is a reduction in emotional pressure or tension, resulting from ‘Anxiety’.

If we define sex on the basics of mutual engagement, then it is the right for every one (Adolescence,Teen,Youth and Adult), to have sex.
We have a situation where a boy of 16, gets a girl pregnant,at the expense of the so-called love. And the girl demands for an abortion or decides to conceive the child due to having sex at the wrong time.

Note :
There’s an increase in Abortion, Unwanted pregnancy and a retardation in fundamental growth of boys and girls. Most people who see sex as a social commitment end up having a bad experience, because they capitalise on the lust of satisfaction, instead of seeking to understand the reason for IT.

In most homes where a man considers sex more than his wife, there’s a high tendency for an upheaval of distrust to occur – which will massively dwindle their growth. Most who youths originated from these homes have become the heir of most illegal acts displayed in the world.
There’s an increase in divorce rate,children from this background become prone to harsh circumstance etc.

Youths who lack parental care and control end up doing irrational things, having unprotected and unwanted sex and other juvenile act.

I believe that if a minimum of 15% of youths are taught :

* Pre-sex affair and its influence.
* The fundamentals of sex education,
* Health education and its relation to sexuality.

Then change can commence.

My question :

* How do we educate boys and girls in : Developing and under-developed countries on sex education.

Proposed Query :

80% of youths living in these areas, constitute to the progression of illegal sex and the un-demanded notion it dictates.

Proposed Answer :

* I believe that changing the dialogue of sex affair is on great step .

Educating Youths on :
- what sex is ?
- why is sex needed ?
- what are the effects of sex on life ?
- who are the right persons to have sex ?
- And the required age for sex ?

* A notion I surveyed recently is doing a Poetry on sex-education : which will play a huge role in schools ( High school mostly, in rural and localised areas ).

In localised areas where there’s a gargantuan growth in sex rate, only few schools teach Sex education and a handful of these schools practise it.
- At locations where there are no computers for learning, no Adverts on sex-Ed, no Online orientation, and no seminars and outlets for diverse learning , an introduction to a reformed part of learning on sex education will help.

If we have a preamble poetry on sex education, health and orientation in under-developed areas, then we can help shape most of the questioning we have.

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Sometimes I ask myself questions : questions which are ever aching and proving stubborn to define or understand. I can’t recall the last time; a friend ,organization or social community discussed the affair of Youth Development via Sex Education and the threat it poses to Humanity and its affair.

In America there’s a flexible, progressive link for Sex development. Although not perfect but better than what we have here in Nigeria. At most case I have wondered why we are still in the loop hole ; a pit filled with ill-fated people who only acknowledge the receipt of their welfare.

The role of sex Education , is to foster a spontaneous change in : Sexuality, Heterosexual-conscience,Attitude and also promote a Beneficial role in Moral and Value. Youths , (especially boys), will massively grow in self esteem as it will tremendously shape Thoughts and increase a positive intake in Sex orientation and Education.

Educating people on Pre-sex Affair which is the Basics for a good foundation on Youth sexuality, will change lives. What we fail to understand is our, ” inability to Define what Sex Education and the Orientation it has on Youths”.

Sex education is instruction on issues
relating to human sexuality, including
human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, and birth control. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns.

sex education is defined as a vital public health strategy – which will play a role in the Reduction of STDs : By initializing Health centers, Health tips, Options (Gadget) and Orientation. And will also diminish an increase in Abnormal Behaviors displayed by Youths (Boys mostly) ; which are ,Bullying, Coercion and Discrimination). If Every youth know the basics (i.e, its preventive methods (Abstinence), techniques, and Healthy tips) then we can have a possible outbreak of change in Heterosexuality.

I believe that when people become enormously aware of their Sexuality and how it tends to : Affect, Diminish and Increase STATUS’, we will begin to see change – Fundamentally, Socially and Mentally in schools, society, Environment and the world at large.

Starting with schools – which is a great idea, is one profound step. Advocating Sex-ed in public places, outlets like Seminars, NGO programs and other governmental aids will contribute too.

We need to spread the word which is a,”PROMOTION ON SEX-ED” in schools, outlets, Rural and Urban sphere and other geographical locations.

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Sometimes I ask myself questions : questions which are ever aching and proving stubborn to define or understand. I can’t recall the last time; a friend ,organization or social community discussed the affair of Youth Development via Sex Education and the threat it poses to Humanity and its affair.

In America there’s a flexible, progressive link for Sex development. Although not perfect but better than what we have here in Nigeria. At most case I have wondered why we are still in the loop hole ; a pit filled with ill-fated people who only acknowledge the receipt of their welfare.

The role of sex Education , is to foster a spontaneous change in : Sexuality, Heterosexual-conscience,Attitude and also promote a Beneficial role in Moral and Value. Youths , (especially boys), will massively grow in self esteem as it will tremendously shape Thoughts and increase a positive intake in Sex orientation and Education.

Educating people on Pre-sex Affair which is the Basics for a good foundation on Youth sexuality, will change lives. What we fail to understand is our, ” inability to Define what Sex Education and the Orientation it has on Youths”.

Sex education is instruction on issues
relating to human sexuality, including
human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, and birth control. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns.

sex education is defined as a vital public health strategy – which will play a role in the Reduction of STDs : By initializing Health centers, Health tips, Options (Gadget) and Orientation. And will also diminish an increase in Abnormal Behaviors displayed by Youths (Boys mostly) ; which are ,Bullying, Coercion and Discrimination). If Every youth know the basics (i.e, its preventive methods (Abstinence), techniques, and Healthy tips) then we can have a possible outbreak of change in Heterosexuality.

I believe that when people become enormously aware of their Sexuality and how it tends to : Affect, Diminish and Increase STATUS’, we will begin to see change – Fundamentally, Socially and Mentally in schools, society, Environment and the world at large.

Starting with schools – which is a great idea, is one profound step. Advocating Sex-ed in public places, outlets like Seminars, NGO programs and other governmental aids will contribute too.

We need to spread the word which is a,”PROMOTION ON SEX-ED” in schools, outlets, Rural and Urban sphere and other geographical locations.

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The American porn industry: a world of opportunity for both actors and consumers. Everyone wins, right? Actors and actresses with “desired features” have sex and get paid for their performances; meanwhile, consumers happily perpetuate a market with an estimated value of between $10 and $13 billion, which boosts our nation’s economy. By virtue of increased access to pornographic content through the Internet, the industry has permeated American culture so much that the average person views their first pornographic image at the age of 11. Moreover, by 2006, pornographic videos were released on an average of one every half hour.

This is how capitalists would describe the porn industry. They love it because it’s profitable… and it’s also seemingly becoming more “normal.” But while it can be easy to “normalize” the porn industry in light of statistics like the ones above, the porn industry is far from normal. Notably, the actors and actresses who star in pornographic films are subject to abnormal, oftentimes degrading treatment by the same people who consume their products. This fact may not be readily apparent for most of us – how many pornographic actors do we know personally? More than likely, we know none. Porn actors per capita in an arguably moral nation like the U.S. are few; moreover, those who do star in pornography use stage names – most of the time to protect their anonymity. However, for one freshman at Duke University, the struggle to function in society while performing in pornographic films took a serious turn when her anonymity as a porn star was stripped away from her.

Most of America knows her by her stage name, “Belle Knox.”  Her real name is Miriam Weeks, but she has only recently divulged her birth name – out of fear. This 18 year-old Duke University freshman has starred in over 30 pornographic films. Weeks has claimed that starring in pornography brings her both confidence and economic stability. On the one hand, Weeks says that as a degree-seeking 18 year-old, no other job could provide her with enough income to pay for her education – a hefty $50,000 per year bill. On the other hand, Weeks states that freely doing pornography is a part of her agenda as a person – she confidently approaches the adult film industry as a way for her to express herself as a woman and to take a stand against the way sex workers are ostracized.

However, after a fellow Duke student “outed” her name to her classmates, Weeks’ struggle as a pornographic actress trying to live a normal life has spiraled. Her ideals and her dignity have been shattered by threats of rape and death, opinions of her perceived economic freedom, critiques of her morality, and objectifications of her body above consideration of her personal ideals. Intense public scrutiny of her aspirations of becoming a respected member of society while working in the porn industry have done an injustice to the human worth of Miriam Weeks and highlight several important problems with the way this country treats sex workers.

By virtue of our technological society, it is much harder for sex workers to remain anonymous. And when these workers are put in the spotlight, our culture’s perpetual stigmatization of their profession leads to many negative, unwarranted responses on a large scale. Disagreeing with sex work is one matter. However, “slut shaming,” often in the form of death threats, rape threats, belittling, bullying, and objectification are unwarranted but present byproducts of being “outed” as a sex worker in our morally conscious culture. While it can be easy for us to think that sex workers have the ability to shrug off degrading comments because of their knowledge of how many people perceive their work, studies have proven otherwise: Extensive literature on the psychological state of sex workers has shown that the suicide rate among sex workers is six times that of the rest of the population. Clearly, these degrading comments are unsurprisingly degrading the mental and emotional state of sex workers at an unconscionable rate.

A second issue at stake for men and women like Miriam Weeks is society’s perception of the true freedom of sex workers. In Weeks’ case, many have argued that the pressure of paying for college has “coerced” the Duke freshman to seek sex work as a means to survive in a country that often prioritizes the value of an education. This is simply not true, according to Weeks, who claims that the money is only one of several reasons why she loves staring in adult films. However, although Weeks has asserted that she feels completely free to choose to do porn, it is not fair to say that all sex workers engage in their work purely out of their own free will. Sometimes, we hear stories of men and women in disparaging economic circumstances, who resort to sex work as a means to stay alive.

But why do some of us instantly typify Miriam Weeks as one of these people who do sex work as a “last resort” – a way to survive economically? Maybe its because when it comes to sex work, many of us are sharply divided on the issue, even though all of us are trained by society to find compassion for others, especially the “marginalized” members of our community (e.g., sex workers, as you probably guessed.) It’s not necessarily our fault: as soon as a conversation about porn starts, so starts the stigma, and instead of believing the possibility that a human being could ever want to do sex work, some of us tell ourselves that the person is just short on money. They’re just getting by until some other opportunity comes up. We excuse them for making the decision to sell their bodies. But when we perceive sex workers collectively as un-free workers, we all too often put words in their mouths. We rob them collectively of the value of their ability to choose. We rob them of their dignity as a rational human being.

Dignity: a word normally not associated with sex workers. But is there any inherent dignity working as a porn star? Miriam Weeks argues that this question is perceived with great bias by a majority of our society. I couldn’t agree more. There is an inherent dichotomy in the ways in which our society thinks about pornography. Although roughly 50% of American citizens freely admit to watching porn regularly, Weeks thinks that society at large has a tendency to shame pornographic actors and actresses publically and professionally while they cannot get enough of it privately. I cannot help but agree with Weeks that this enigma is one of the great plagues of our society. We jerk off with one hand, and we point our fingers with the other.

Breaking down this dichotomy will be a fundamentally challenging but necessary step to search for justice in the many issues surrounding our perception of sex workers. But the struggle for fair treatment of sex workers only begins there. We as a society also need to stop slut shaming as a means of expressing our discontent with someone’s profession. We need to realize that nobody likes being degraded; even if we consider someone derogatory, they are still a human, equally deserving of dignity and respect. Moreover, we need to give back the freedom of choice that we oftentimes take away from sex workers. Instead of being content with telling ourselves that sex workers as a whole are economically disabled, we should work to ensure that all sex workers are economically enabled. We should help those who are not as fortunate as Miriam Weeks and are struggling economically to be able to choose a career just like everyone else.

In closing, I’d like to address that I say “we” throughout this article because this issue affects all of us. Even if you have never watched pornography (I will be a little skeptical of that, but I will take your word for it) or you have not engaged in sex work, I’m sure someone you know has directly or indirectly struggled with the sex-negativity that so pervades our culture. We need to break the stigma surrounding sex work in our society because the reality is that some of us desire to engage in sex work. And no human being deserves to hear that their desires are disgusting.

By: Eric Thomas Roy

Sources:

1.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_in_the_United_States#Economics and

          http://www.xojane.com/sex/belle-knox-duke-university-freshman-porn-star

2.  http://www.internetsafety101.org/Pornographystatistics.htm

3.  http://www.internetsafety101.org/Pornographystatistics.htm

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Sex(ed) The Movie Website

Watch the trailer

Check out this upcoming film on sex ed in America! From the website the movie is self-described as:

“To get at the truth behind the history and current state of sex education in the United States, SEX(ed) The Movie examines sex education films from the 1920s up to the present day. Often hilarious, sometimes instructive, and almost always awkward and embarrassing,these films reflect the changing moral, cultural and political attitudes that inspired them.”

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Family planning is a method of managing family health through application of appropriate methodologies suitable for the couple in order to maintain quality of life of his/her family. The term, in a nutshell, describe how to plan own family in order to adopt a happy and healthy life. It includes every procedure of maintaining owns family size to a manageable number so that we can give full and required attention to our children along with a thinking on the care that is needed by the parents themselves.
Family planning is the decision of a couple on when to conceive a children by the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and management, and infertility management.
At least 200 million women want to use safe and effective family planning methods, but are unable to do so because they lack access to information and services or the support of their husbands and communities. And more than 50 million of the 190 million women who become pregnant each year have abortions.
so sex education is a must part of family planning methods which must be acquired by the couple in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy and limit the number of children to a certain number for which access of facilities and care is possible. With a care on this family planing is described as “educational, comprehensive medical or social activities which enable individuals, including minors, to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved”.

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According to DoSomething.org, “more than 90 percent of parents of junior high and high school students believe that it is somewhat or very important for sex education to be included in the curriculum”. And yet, if a basic question regarding sex is typed into Google, some of the most popular results include webpages such as Yahoo Answers. Many schools across the United States currently push for the abstinence-only, Mean Girls approach (“Don’t’ have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!”) Yet even if these schools are not providing students with information regarding sex education, students will find their own means to understand their questions—often, from unreliable sources such as Internet forums, or word of mouth from other students.

College campuses provide a unique opportunity to learn first-hand what high school sex education programs are like in various states; try asking classmates from different locations what their experience has been in the past. For example, I attended an urban high school in Pennsylvania, where I received an intensive sex education class in ninth grade that covered all methods of contraception, how they are used, and their effectiveness. In contrast, I have a friend from a rural town in Washington whose sex education class was shorter than one semester and consisted of an abstinence-only approach. When I asked him how he pursued the answers to his questions regarding sex education, his answer was simple: the Internet.

You know how teachers are picky about research paper sources, strongly against the use of sites like Wikipedia, but advocating for researched articles? Those Internet forums on informal sex education are like Wikipedia for your body. Young students are getting their own information from complete strangers on Internet forums who claim to know all the answers—answers that may prove unreliable and unsafe. Our generation is at high risk for unplanned pregnancies and contraction of STDs, and the public school system is doing little or nothing to help. Abstinence-only methods are ineffective; if students want to know more, they have endless resources—thank you, Internet—to help them do their own research. Yet these methods are not as reliable and not nearly as trustworthy as a researched curriculum would be to students in the classroom.

Young students have the right to learn about their sexual health. The choices they make outside the classroom are their own. But if every student is provided with an equal level of education in regard to prevention of STDs, unintended pregnancies, and equal understanding of their sexual health, then every student has an equal chance to be healthy in their sexual choices. (And P.S.—the parents agree.)

 

Sarah Bradley ’17

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The Big picture :

Rape- is a word which is supposed to be wiped out of existence. Most girls in the rural and urban ares extensively suffer from this dreadful cause. It’s a shame to see young girls go through this uncomfortable act.

Raped girls now have STDs , unwanted pregnancy and some may die as a result been bartered.

When parents mutter at words, ungodly things happen. And when girls feel reluctant they become victims to this cause. I blame non, it is simply because there’s no unity and the law holding the term for rape has almost been ridden off.

Every GIRL child DESERVES a brighter future. Why not share the word!

What\’s your say on RAPE !

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 WHY I AM A STUDENT FOR SEXUAL HEALTH

By Matt Mazzari

It’s no secret that Catholic-affiliated universities in America struggle with open discussions of sexuality on their campuses.  The fundamental discomfort that religious educational administrations feel regarding issues such as contraception, STI prevention and pre-marital sexual activity in general make it difficult for students at places like my own school, Boston College, to have the oh-so-very important conversations about birth control and sexual health that are oh-so-very relevant to university life.

Of course, acknowledging that these unnecessary taboos exist isn’t to say that progressive conversation isn’t happening anyway.  At BC, students simply find outlets for discussions of sexuality on our own.  Just a few weeks ago, a theatre group of female undergraduates put on three full-house performances of The Vagina Monologues.  Before that, I saw the LGBTQ allies of BC flood an anti-marriage equality lecture on campus with their assertively-tolerant presence.  This semester, I’m taking a course titled “Spirituality and Sexuality” with an openly gay professor wherein my classmates are talking about their own experiences with sex and its relevance (positive and negative) to their religious lives.

Just because certain members of the administration aren’t appreciative of how important these issues are doesn’t mean that the students are going to be silent about them.  The simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority (approximately 75%) of U.S. college students are sexually active, and religious institutions like Boston College are not some miraculous exception.

So yes, students here generally recognize the importance of sexual health to at least some extent.  And it makes sense, right?  A constant topic of controversy for BC is the “hook-up culture”, which students and external perspectives alike have described as being especially pervasive on this campus; any statistically literate person can tell you that this social scene in combination with a lack of sexual health awareness programs is a recipe for disaster, particularly when you consider the fact that 1 in 2 sexually active people will contract an STD by the age of 25. In a survey from 2009, about 90% of BC students answered in support of having access to contraceptive resources, i.e. condoms, available on campus.  It’s pretty clear where the student body (pun-intended) stands on this matter of promoting sexual health.

But if we’re basically all in agreement, why is having a group like the Students for Sexual Health so important at BC?

Personally, I became a part of SSH relatively late; I’m a senior now, and I only went to my first meeting last semester.  I’d seen them handing out condoms at the corner of College Road and Hammond Street since I was a freshman living on Upper Campus.  I remember hearing about the “incidents”: the counter-activism from conservative clubs on campus, the frequent harassment they dealt with from the campus police, or that one time they got yelled at by a priest during condom distribution outside of McElroy.  But despite being aware of the problem and the ludicrous knock-back SSH was encountering, it wasn’t really until this year that it dawned on me that progress just doesn’t seem to be coming along fast enough.

Just look at the political sphere!  Backwards opinions on sexual health aren’t exclusive to Catholic university campuses: since the Affordable Care Act was passed in March of 2010, one of the central controversies has been the coverage of birth control as part of health expenses.  Because, I guess, sexual health isn’t a part of…health?  By last year, nearly a hundred federal lawsuits had been filed specifically in opposition to ACA’s birth control benefits.  The Supreme Court has recently ceded to the demands of several Catholic Organizations regarding this issue.  For instance, the owners of a company named Hobby Lobby, a for-profit Arts and Crafts material-supplier with no open religious affiliation, successfully argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) grants them exemption from providing their employees with birth control insurance based solely on their own religious beliefs.

I’m sorry, but what?!

         How in the name of all that is reasonable does a corporation justify denying its employees federally-guaranteed health care on the basis of the CEO’s personal religion?  So, even though 99% of sexually-active women report having used birth control, that medical expense somehow doesn’t count?  The owners of an Arts and Crafts company just have to say “We think the Pill was invented by Satan” and then they automatically don’t have to provide the women in their company with medical coverage they obviously need?  Should we also take away insurance coverage of blood transfusions if a company owner is part of Jehovah’s Witness?  Should we take away people’s chemo treatment if their manager believes exclusively in faith-healing? The fact that President Obama and Congress are entertaining these demands is extremely unsettling.  Not only does this fly in the face of everything that a national health care plan is supposed to be, it perpetuates an attitude towards young persons’ sexuality (female sexuality in particular) that is incredibly dangerous and wrongheaded, resulting  in the continued high-rates of accidental pregnancies, VD transmission, and general ignorance that have proven to be problematic in the past.

So that’s why I’m a part of this club, SSH.  It’s not because I’m pessimistic about my campus or the students’ attitude here at BC; it’s not because I believe in anything more radical than “everyone should know how to have protected sex”; it’s not even because I want the federal government to provide Americans with anything beyond what it has already agreed to provide.  It’s because the opponents to programs like SSH are still so vocal and powerful, and there is still such a long way to go.  When our country finally reaches the point where it has covered that distance in sexual education and provision of necessary resources, I want to be able to say I was a part of that movement, that I was a Student for Sexual Health.

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Organizations that truly and honestly support teenage parents are limited and at best growing in number.

These organizations are literally a life line for the parents they are able to support and help the only problem is I would like to see them go a bit further and further educate the teenage parents they help when it comes to sexual heath decisions, mental health, and relationships.
Many times the parents that these organizations are assisting need more in depth conversation and instruction on building and sustaining basic skills. While the support they provide is essential I would like to see them take on the role of comprehensive sex education counselor to ensure that the young parents actually know how to get tested for STI/STD’s regularly, while ensuring they are seeing a gyno at least once a year, how to find an affordable birth control, what to do if they have a missed period or forgot to take the pill, and what an STI or STD infection can look and feel like.
The stress of teenage parenthood is extremely high, so high that teenage parents are at higher risk for postpartum depression than any other age group.
Lessons on how to deal with, manage, and identify stressful triggers are extremely necessary and wanted by teen parents. We want to know how to deal with all the emotions and energy we are feeling within ourselves and the emotions and energy directed at us by family, friends, and sometimes perfect strangers.
In my experience more times than not the mothers I meet have been in an emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive relationship. While we, myself included, may feel like something is “not right” we are sometimes unable to identify the abuse we are experiencing for abuse for a multitude of reasons.
While we advocate for comprehensive sex education, rights for teenage parents, equitable access to services and programs that teenage parents and families need we, as organizations, people, and advocates need to create a space where these instructions and lessons are being taught and fully received in the interim.

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Sex education can be defined as instruction on issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, and birth control. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns.
Burt defined sex education as the study of the characteristics of beings: a male and female. Such characteristics make up the person’s sexuality. Sexuality is an important aspect of the life of a human being and almost all people, including children, want to know about it. Sex education includes all the educational measures which – regardless of the particular method used – may center on sex. He further said that sex education stands for protection, presentation extension, improvement and development of the family based on accepted ethical ideas. Leepson sees sex education as instruction in various physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of sexual response and reproduction. Kearney (2008) also defined sex education as “involving a comprehensive course of action by the school, calculated to bring about the socially desirable attitudes, practices and personal conduct on the part of children and adults, that will best protect the individual as a human and the family as a social institution.”
Whatever the definitions of the sex educations are provided by the experts when it comes to the implementation, it becomes always hard to fully follow the definition and it’s not always absolutely possible to provide such education.
Nothing can be perfect as I think and in case of sex education also, I think there are so much missing factors that is not covered by the sex education in context of Nepal and many other countries as well. Here is something that I realize that the sex education could not cover but should have cover
Sex education, as it stands today, is more or less diagram after diagram of the biological ins and outs of human reproductive behavior.
Humans are uniquely sexual creatures. We screw each other far more often and in far more elaborate ways than pretty much every other species on the planet.
That’s because for humans sexual activity is more than a mere biological urge, it has psychological significance and social meaning. We screw for pleasure. We screw for recreation. We screw for passion. We screw for revenge. We screw nice people and mean people, friends and enemies, sexy people and ugly people. We screw because we’re happy and because we’re sad. We screw because we’re bored. We screw because we feel alone. We screw because we’re in love. And yes, we screw to make babies, too. Although in the developing world, that’s rarely the primary motivation these days. So why is it all sex education focuses on?
Sex ed should account for the recreational, social and emotional reasons for sex and their consequences. It should discuss the interpersonal meaning of intercourse, setting clear expectations and boundaries, communicating desires, dealing with feelings of shame and awkwardness, and of course, being responsible about protection and privacy.
Sex is more than just a BIOLOGY
Sex can be amazing. Some of the best moments of one’s life can happen engorged in someone else. So let’s talk about it.This sounds so obvious when you say it. Yet no one seems to say it.

Categories: Sex Education
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“Nothing decisive,Nothing sustainable,can be done in our country as long as this important part of ourselves remains in the oppression imposed on them by different systems of exploitation….the true empowerment of women is that which makes the woman responsible,that includes her in productive activities, and in the fight against the different challenges faced by our people. The true emancipation of women is that which forces consideration and respect from men”
Though these words may sounds like those of a convinced women’s rights activist of the second decade of the 21st century, they aren’t. These are words from Burkinabe revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara to women gathered to celebrate International Women’s day on March 8th 1987 a few months before his assassination.
The above was not only an appeal for women to never lose sight of the fundamental role they play in the progress of a society, but above all, a call to men and society as a whole to support them as they selflessly invest in the nation’s future at times through acts of courage that are often taken for granted or ignored such as beautifully balancing their role as mother, caretaker of the family, and increasingly bread winner for most families in my part of the world.
Rural Women deserve more……
 The brave women of the rural areas of Cameroonlive what I call “A life of service to the community” by waking up early to prepare the children for school; prepare breakfast for the family; toil all day in farms; return home late and despite the hard day’s work prepare dinner for the family. This makes me so proud of these women and reinforces my conviction that they merit more attention than is currently being accorded them by politicians and policy makers in the far away capital cities and comfortable skyscrapers in Yaounde, Addis Ababa, and NewYork.
Women make up more than half of Cameroon’s vastly youthful population. A majority of this very “important part of ourselves” live in the most ignoble of conditions in its rural areas and are on a daily basis subjected to torture, rape, and abuses of all sorts by men who are themselves oppressed by a society in which the gap between the very rich and the very poor is ever widening.
Economic Injustice is an Effective fertilizer for the Oppression of Women
Yes, a man who is powerless in the face of  his family’s inability to eat to their fill; cannot pay  health bills for his family; and cannot afford to send his children to school,  transfers the injustice done  him by society to his wife, sister, and daughteronly  in the face of whom he feels  “a real man”.Non-inclusive redistribution of a country’s resources therefore leads not only to economic inequality among a nation’s citizens but aggravates the already existing inequality through abuses of all sorts on women and girls.
Achievement of Millennium Development Goals is impossible without women 
Thus, greater economic opportunity is to be extended to rural area dwellers if the Millennium Development Goals to which this year’s International Women’s Day is dedicated are to ever be achieved and this cannot be done without the brave women who though living in these socially challenged areas, have put their lives “at the service of the community”

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Lebanon

A court in Lebanon has made a historic ruling stating same-sex relations are NOT “contradicting the laws of nature” and cannot therefore be considered a crime. The judge threw out a case brought against a transgender woman by the Lebanese state on January 28, 2014 but only published today.

Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits having sexual relations that are “contradicting the laws of nature,” which is punishable by up to a year in prison. However, Lebanese LGBT organization, “Helem” argued that, “Homosexuality is an exception to the norms but not unnatural… therefore article 534 cannot be used against homosexuals, and therefore, technically, homosexuality is not illegal.”

Moreover, Last year the Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS) ruled that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and does not need to be treated. It stated, “The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.”

The more such rulings happen, the more irrelevant becomes article 534. Baby steps for LGBT rights in Lebanon, but a great step in the right direction. I hope this can be replicated in other Arab states which have similar legislation.

Read more: Link

 

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For the month of February, besides attending a Jack and Jill health fair in Fort. Lauderdale, I began my ‘Contraception Awareness Campaign.’  This project is an endeavor that will last for about 8 weeks at my attempt to get 200 people on my campus to learn something new about contraception. My goal is to peer educate at least 25 people every week while I table at my college.  (I will provide information like how to get contraception, the proper way to store them, comparative analysis between brands including breaking myths, as well as educating the importance of contraception in preventing pregnancy). In my first week, there were approximately 40-80 people in attendance and we collected 40 sign ups. The focus was ‘How well do you know your STI’s?’ Although many people came up and played our game, it took an engineering major to win the $25 It’s sugar gift card give-away!  Also around Valentine’s Day, I took part in hosting a love Workshop on my campus in order to educate the students on healthy relationships and contraception use. My passion for educating my peers on this controversial topic comes from recognizing the important role contraceptives play in people’s futures.  As an incredible philosopher once said “Neglect of an effective birth control policy is a never-failing source of poverty which, in turn, is the parent of revolution and crime.” —ARISTOTLE, Politics.

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A girl who used to feel shy to utter the word ‘Condom’, now can freely talk on any issues of sexual and reproductive health with any people. This sentence defines me before and after the inception training of Youth Activist Leadership Council(YALC). Many times, what happens is that though we may be highly interested and curious to know the SRHR issues but due to our culture and the people we are surrounded with, we can’t find the suitable person with whom we can share our feelings and solve our curiosity.Hence, we supress them giving continuity to our shyness and remain doubtful.

After,attending the training of YALC, I can analyse the change within me. I realized the vibrant role that can be played by such trainings. It was 3 days training where the whole thing was designed to create a suitable evvironment to express oneself and understand the SRHR issues in a matured way.The sessions were designed in infotainment way which could easily grab the youths attention. All those interesting facts, knowing different sexual and reproductive terminologies, amazing wierd games and crazy team with their craziest jokes made the environment much interesting and friendly. So within that 3 days, I was so familiar with SRHR issues.

With this experience, I realised the need and the crucial role that can be played by such trainings among the youngsters.It can be the best thing for youngster who are seeking someone to share and sort out their curiosity. As for me, it was one of the memorable moment and a milestone to express mysef regarding the SRHR issues. Hence, same thing could be experienced by many youngster and raise the awareness level if such trainings are frequently organised.

Categories: Sex Education
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A few days ago I had the privilege of visiting the State House for a presentation.  Around eight high school students bravely stood at a podium in front of a few members of the House of Representatives to present a policy proposal. They wanted to request $12,000 for simulator baby dolls for their class to take home to encourage the sex education discussion with their respective guardians. The simulator baby dolls would be a learning and prevention experiment which the students believe will help with keeping the lines of communication open in an effort to prevent teenage pregnancy.   When asked why this is needed and how it would be successful, students replied that teenage pregnancy in their town (similar to cities all over the US) is an issue.  Their theory is that the root of the problem is that there is no substantive discussion about prevention and other options because they’re just told by guardians and educators that there should be “no sex at all” without any additional information.  The students believe their proposal would work because it’s hard to “ignore a crying baby” and it would be an instant conversation starter in the home.  I admire these students diligence in choosing a project that they have identified as needing immediate attention in their communities; that is how constructive change begins.  For more discussion on comprehensive sex education visit www.advocatesforyouth.org.

Categories: Sex Education
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The explain of the subject  like gender,identity,role of and attraction on the basis of gender,sexual entertainment and fertility over all is called sexual,the process to bring change in the knowledge, attitude and behavior about this is called sexual education. In our society i.e male and female are in practice. According to once gender person behave to others. If people get positive sexual education they can make their suitable concept on sexual value and norms and belief about sex people get appropriate knowledge about how the sexual organs develop, why they develop and how can they manage the sexual desire? Sexual education teachers people in what way should they do the sexual contact so that the both side can be benefited. Similarly,it helps a person on how one should express the sexuality and in what way one should do responsible behavior according to sexuality and how a person can maintain sexual in better way etc.

 

According to the health education,it is not only necessary for the male and female but also the third gender should understand about sexual behavior just like females. Similarly,often females too show sexual behavior just like males. We should respect to the third sexuality of such third gender.

Categories: Sex Education
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Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Instead of writing statistical facts about HIV/AIDS in the Black community, I will share a personal story of overcoming my fear of getting tested.

I became sexually active during my junior year of college. I read everything I could about sex and contraceptives before my encounter with my first partner. The consequences of possibly getting pregnant, contracting an STI or HIV was a risk I definitely reduced by using condoms and birth control.

So why was I so fearful of getting tested for HIV several months later?

At this point, I was heavily involved in sexual health groups on campus and was a member of the great Young Women of Color Leadership Council (shameless plug). I was an educator, and an advocate for sexual health, but I couldn’t bring it to myself to commit to getting tested.

I felt like a hypocrite.

While promoting National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on campus three years ago, I told myself to stop living in fear and to get tested. I was nervous all day. I sat in class thinking all about my sexual health and history. Sure, I had been tested for STI’s like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis at my school’s health center, but I felt so sure that I couldn’t possibly be HIV positive…

And that’s where the issue lies. The idea that I was so sure, so confident, so affirming of my status, that I had delayed getting tested. In reality, I had no clue. I made myself believe that being HIV positive couldn’t happen to me!

Later that evening, I walked into the testing site and performed a rapid HIV test. Although it said rapid, it felt like forever to hear the results. The man I sat with was extremely consoling and helpful. We chatted about sexual health and the work we do in our communities. His passion and support helped me through the wait.

At last, I got my results. I was negative. A lot of things ran through my mind: relief, happiness, tears of joy, but also guilt.

I felt guilty that someone might go in there and not hear the same results I did. I also felt guilty that I spoke on such a mighty pedestal and pressured my peers to get tested for HIV when I was afraid myself.

The day I got tested was a learning lesson for me. As young people, we often feel that we are invincible. Regardless of my knowledge about sexual health, it’s my duty first to make sure that I know my status. I felt like I couldn’t get HIV, but in reality, it was a possibility.

Be confident in knowing your status through getting tested every 6 months. Do not hesitate to ask your partner if they’ve been tested either. DO NOT allow anyone to make you feel bad about questioning their sexual health history. Include condom use along with other forms of contraceptives.

I can confidently share this advice because I am following it myself.

It’s time for us to stop living in the unknown.

Peace and love,

Bree

 

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This month I planned my Passion Project which I will be focusing on for the first half of 2014. It is centered on providing people with information on contraceptive access, and bringing awareness to my campus about ways the students can protect themselves.  I plan to table on campus weekly for two consecutive months in order to reach a minimum of 200 people. During these tabling events I will have one on one peer education sessions, a question box, interactive training, and giveaways. Most excitingly, I will be gaining more support for the Healthy Teens Campaign. February and March are going to be productive months, and I most look forward to seeing the positive impact that educated youth will have on our communities.

 

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Man On Campaign

We teach young men to be prepared, to be assertive, to choose their own destiny. And yet, too often when it comes to making decisions about their reproductive futures we haven’t delivered the message that they need to step up. When 38% of young men have a fatalistic view about contraception’s effect on fertility and pregnancy* or 53% are ambivalent about becoming a father*, it’s clear we haven’t told young men they can play an active role in determining when, how, or if they want to become fathers. Furthermore, or health care system hasn’t addressed the issue when you consider the fact that primary care providers are 3 times more likely to take sexual health histories from female than male patients and twice as likely to counsel female patients on the use of condoms*.

Luckily, organizations like A Step Ahead Foundation are ready to change the tune. After a year of operating with the primary focus on providing free long-acting reversible contraception to women in Shelby County Tennessee, ASAF staff recognized that young men were just as interested in information about effective pregnancy prevention methods as young women. The only problem was, there weren’t too many resources for talking to guys about what their options are.

Taking matters into their own hands they created The Man On Campaign, a movement to get young men up to speed on birth control choices — including abstinence. The goal is to give guys the tools to build healthy relationships and start conversations with their partners about birth control or sexually transmitted infections. At The Sexy Ed guys can find out where to get free condoms in Memphis, be directed to HIV testing centers in their area, get support in making the decision to wait, or find some dating advice by yours truly. In addition the campaign will grow to engage young men across Shelby County with posters, booklets, and social media engagement.

Perhaps it won’t stop there. This is merely a great step forward in a revolution of educators, resources, leaders, and health care providers ready to engage young men in sexual and reproductive health. What can you do to encourage guys to take their futures into their own hands? What else is out there that you’ve seen? What do you want others to do? Young men are out there and ready. Like A Step Ahead Foundation and the Man On Campaign, let’s do our part to support them.

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Adrian Nava (18 years old) and Scarlett Jimenez (18 years old)

Colorado Youth CREATE Council Members

As educators, advocates, and allies of sexual health, we often ask ourselves why we are still having conversations about the implementation and support of comprehensive sexuality education for young people across the nation. For a lot of us, the issue of reproductive rights and justice is one that hits very close to home. As advocates, our stories and personal experiences hold immense power in our work. They allow us to break down barriers when interacting with others, and to create room for meaningful human connections and a space to share why we are so passionate about the work we do.

We share our stories with the hope that we will create awareness and support for comprehensive sex education. Having personal stories that reflect a lack of inclusion of all sexual orientations, or lack of information about healthy relationships and self–esteem, we – Scarlett and Adrian – understand and are optimal examples of why sexual health education is essential for all youth. During our years in advocacy, we have both been exposed to a world of possibilities, and have actively participated in various levels of advocacy.

From local to national participation, both of us have had the opportunity to express ourselves as young people. During the 2013 legislative session at Colorado’s State Capitol, we were actively involved in advocating for the passage of House Bill 1081, what has become known as Colorado’s “updated sex ed law.” We wanted to make sure that young people’s voices and concerns were included throughout the process. As part of CREATE, a youth advocacy council sponsored by Colorado Youth Matter and Advocates for Youth, we testified in favor of the bill during committee hearings and organized a youth advocacy day, which brought more than 230 youth to the capitol to speak to their legislators about the importance of passing laws that increase access to comprehensive sex education.

Adrian’s Story

Adrian NavaI consider myself an advocate not only for programs and policies that promote youth sexual health, but for change founded on social justice principles. As an advocate, a person of color, and someone who identifies as gay, I remember sitting in a crowded 7th grade health class during my glorious awkward pre-pubescent years, asking myself what the ladies at the front of the room were talking about. It turns out that these women were teaching the girls how to say “NO” to males who would only want to have sex with females. I then realized that this uncomfortable discussion was actually part of a “sexual health” class. Yikes! This situation was uncomfortable not only because I did not know what sexual health education looked like, but because I was being targeted as a male. I was expected to insist on having sexual intercourse with women. I was ultimately astonished and speechless at the sexist, and judgmental tone that was being set within a classroom environment.

As a student, I was genuinely eager to learn about what was going on inside of my body and mind. But after much talk about “male and female relationships,” I asked the teachers if it was possible for two boys to be together, and the teachers ignored my question and moved on to talk about the importance of abstaining from having sex.

I began to feel like it was wrong to ask that question – which meant that something about me was wrong, since I was attracted to people of the same gender as me. The following day, my peers and I participated in an activity in which one person was assigned to be a person with “AIDS.” To my surprise, that person was me. I learned later that gay men are stereotyped as having HIV, which only deteriorated my self-esteem and self-love because I was not exposed to positive messages about LGBT people.

My negative experience of feeling ignored and stigmatized in the classroom is the reason I became actively involved in advocacy work for increased access to comprehensive sex education. I was made to feel ashamed of being gay, which harmed my emotional health for a long period of time. I wish I could have received comprehensive, inclusive, medically accurate, age-appropriate information about my body and mind – but I didn’t.

However, just because my school did not provide me with that education, it does not mean that future generations should not have access. I am completely in love with my advocacy work and impacting my generation, for the better. I find empowerment through making my voice heard and mobilizing young people to speak about and advocate for their sexual health.

Scarlett’s Story

Scarlett JimenezI am an advocate for comprehensive sex education and reproductive rights and justice for young people, because I believe that the issues at hand should be considered as part of our basic human rights. I believe that young people should have the right to have access to accurate information about their bodies. Furthermore, youth deserve the opportunity to develop the life skills that are included in comprehensive sexuality education. I believe that my high school experience would have been a much happier and more successful time had that been included as part of my education.

On a daily basis, young women are bombarded with highly sexualized messages from the media that dictate the social norms. I think that it is absolutely essential for young women to learn that these messages are disempowering and are not actual expectations of women. All youth, regardless of their gender, deserve to hear that they are much more valuable than the media depicts them. High school is such a hectic and overwhelming stage for teens. Oftentimes, teens do not receive much needed positive and empowering messages about themselves or young people in general. I know that for myself, low sense of self-worth and a lack of basic sexual health information and the ability to communicate with my partner led me into an unsafe relationship and a very hard time in my life.

I am an advocate for comprehensive sexuality education, and all that it entails, because now I have a vision for future generations. Creating access to comprehensive sex education can inform and support youth to be empowered, inclusive, educated, compassionate, communicative, strong, and driven by their identified passions and goals.

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As I transitioned from high school to college, I thought that my student outreach efforts on behalf of Colorado Youth CREATE would get easier. With a bigger campus, more people, and more freedom, I reasoned that I would easily be able to reach more people to join our youth activist network and support our cause of increasing the availability of comprehensive sex education on local and state levels. However, I soon realized that the climate of students at my private university was very conservative and not very supportive of sexual health education. This was something that I found to be completely ironic because people are definitely “doing it,” and people are definitely gossiping about it. But no one wants to discuss safe sex, healthy relationships, or sexual assault.

The first few times that I tried to talking to some people I met in college about my work with CREATE it did not go well. They stopped me mid-sentence and told me that I was wasting my breath because they had conservative values. In another instance, someone physically put their hand over my mouth and told me, “Stop. Just tell me if you’re from an abortion clinic because I don’t want to hear it!” Even when I was able to get through my one minute spiel about being an advocate for comprehensive sexual health education, I was often met with very judgmental stares and gaping mouths, as if I had just confessed that I was drug lord. People at my school felt uncomfortable with my messages and I was beginning to be labeled and dismissed as the “raging liberal.”

I realized that I needed to change my approach. I knew that the issues I was talking about are things that we all face, both as young people at this university and in this world. To me, the issues that I advocate for are about human rights—the right to identify however we choose to identify and love whoever we may love. The right that we, as citizens, have to access to affordable health care and services. And the right that we, as young people, have to receive truthful, medically accurate and culturally inclusive education. I realized that I needed to frame my message in a way that was not received as a partisan issue, and instead illustrate how comprehensive sex education truly affects and concerns us all.

I was received much better when I used a more holistic and rights-based approach with my audience. Below are a few strategies that I developed in order to reframe my advocacy message about the need for comprehensive sex education:

1. Cultural Competency/ Sensitivity- Always Walk Your Talk!
It is important to keep in mind that people may come from different backgrounds or have different ideologies from your own when you’re doing outreach. Just like in a comprehensive sex education class, your conversation should recognize what the other person values! For example, if the person you are talking to has chosen to abstain until marriage, note that that’s great for them- abstinence is the only way to prevent unplanned pregnancies and STIs. However, you will both be able to agree that not everyone will share that decision. You can point to the national rate of teen pregnancy and talk about how comprehensive sex education not only can help reduce that number but also includes a strong abstinence message.

2. Personalize Your Message!
If you feel comfortable and safe enough, share a story as to why you do the work that you do. This helps transform the issues into something very human and relatable. Through storytelling, your message is framed in a way that shows the effect that sexual health has on everyday people.

3. Keep The Door Open For Conversation
No issue is easy or black and white. Allow for discussion about the issues, as long as it remains respectful and non-intrusive to you and your personal space. I have found that in some situations it is very important to draw this line, like when I felt disrespected for just defending myself. Openly discussing your issue creates an opportunity to learn about what is valuable and important to the other individual while also sharing what is important and valuable to you. Both parties can end up a little more enlightened about different perspectives from even a short exchange of ideas. You may not always agree, but you may find that they, and others alike, will be more willing to approach you later about the issue. Look for common ground in some aspect of sexual health and go from there!

In the past few weeks that I have adopted these ideas, I have found that the people I talk to are a lot more receptive and the conversations I have are a lot more meaningful. Even though we as advocates often find ourselves in communities that are not supportive of our issues, this is the place where change happens. Being in this tough environment these last few months has reminded me about the importance of my work, and I see every new day as an opportunity to further our cause. CREATE is working on developing tools to support young people and their advocacy efforts in the community, so stay tuned!

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A few days ago I had the privilege of visiting the State House for a presentation.  Around eight high school students bravely stood at a podium in front of a few members of the House of Representatives to present a policy proposal. They wanted to request $12,000 for simulator baby dolls for their class to take home to encourage the sex education discussion with their respective guardians. The simulator baby dolls would be a learning and prevention experiment which the students believe will help with keeping the lines of communication open in an effort to prevent teenage pregnancy.   When asked why this is needed and how it would be successful, students replied that teenage pregnancy in their town (similar to cities all over the US) is an issue.  Their theory is that the root of the problem is that there is no substantive discussion about prevention and other options because they’re just told by guardians and educators that there should be “no sex at all” without any additional information.  The students believe their proposal would work because it’s hard to “ignore a crying baby” and it would be an instant conversation starter in the home.  I admire these students diligence in choosing a project that they have identified as needing immediate attention in their communities; that is how constructive change begins.  For more discussion on comprehensive sex education visit www.advocatesforyouth.org.

Categories: Sex Education
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Rape culture and a Way to Change it

We live in a hyper sexualized society where sex is the norm but is taboo to discuss. Furthermore, in the male-dominated culture under which we operate, males are cultured to be “go-getters”; people who know what they want and are relentless in their pursuits. Couple with this is the notion that females, as the weaker sex, are to be subjected to their male counterparts. These factors collectively provide the backbone of the rape culture not only of this society, but also of other cultures abroad.

According to Nationmaster.com’s most recent data from 2008, there is on average 1 rape case per 10, 000 citizens in a country worldwide. The countries with the most reported rapes per capita are usually countries that are in the Middle East, Africa, Central, and South America. According to this data, the United States was around 0.4% (below average). These cultures with the higher rape occurrences are hyper-masculinized and/or have lesser views of women as indicated by the rights and freedoms that the women in these countries have. On the other hand, the countries of Europe and here in the US has below the average when it comes to rape occurrences. This could be attributable to the number of freedoms the citizens of these countries enjoy; however I believe that this could also be the result of increased sexual education.

European countries have generally better educated their citizens on sexual matters such as effective use of condoms, contraception, and contraction of STIs in ways that most countries with higher rape occurrences. As previously mentioned, sex is more taboo to discuss as it is seen as a sacred act for women when it comes to virginity; however, this is not so for men. In better educating the citizens with sex I believe these countries have eliminated or reduced some of the stigmas around sex, acknowledged that it is normal for women to have sex without being labelled as “whores”, and reduced some of the tension that may accumulate due to the inability to freely discuss sexual topics. The tension that one may feel could be one the causes of rape. These concepts combined with the universal sexual imagery and the hyper masculinized and hypo-feminized gender roles could potentially push a predisposed person over the edge to commit the act.

In conclusion, to combat increases in rape occurrences and to prevent it from happening as much, I believe the best approach would be to evaluate the normal gender roles per culture. Around the world, women need to be empowered in “high rape” countries while better educating the people of all countries in matter of sexual health. In doing so and by having these conversations, we could theoretically produce an atmosphere where sex can be discussed and so the resulting tension that would normally arises from this buildup, would be lessened accordingly. Although I do not believe rape will ever disappear completely, lessening its occurrence would be a tremendous victory in and of itself.

Categories: Sex Education
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jo2

We all know of the commonly used term I.O.U, this term however is being used in a different way now a days. Many teens today have lost touch of how sacred their body is, and see sex as something they owe, they’re forgetting about their choice. Many teens see sex as an act they owe, maybe after a date or after a certain time frame in a relationship. Why is this? Can this be because of the social media, music, or advertisements? Something that is being broadcasted a lot lately is a woman viewed as an object,  ”a hot body”. Or can this be because of the different controversial debates on whether or not a woman has a right to make decisions about her own body? What were forgetting here is the bigger picture, the woman behind the pretty hair or nice body. The woman who feels she owes something, this is alarming and goes to show that some of societies perspectives on women and their “roles” in society have to change for the sake of our future generations. Our goal should be to promote strong minded individuals, however what we present in the form of different types of social media is doing the exact opposite.

Categories: Sex Education
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sex-ed

Recently I spoke at a public hearing in support of the Family Life and Sexuality education policy. Thankfully I was able to get two parents to  come with  the Broward County Youth Council.  The next step is to gather more support from other parents and going seeking it via the PTA’s throughout the county.  It feels pretty satisfying to finally have my voice heard in the subject matter after having been unable to speak to teachers and administrators in all my time in the public school system.  The next meeting should be promising!

Categories: Sex Education
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I am a pretty big fan of sitting at home with food and shows to binge on.  And East Los High caught my full and undivided attention.  I’m not normally into soapy teen dramas, but the problems teens face everyday, especially teens of color in neighborhoods like East Los, were real.

While many find sex and the details of it to still be taboo to discuss, teens are left without the rights and respect to get the knowledge they need to better protect themselves.  I found it so refreshing to find a series that is easily relatable, stimulating, and educational.  Oh, and guess what?  Characters in the show can actually say the word “abortion.”  There wasn’t a Voldemort treatment of an actual medical procedure that one out of three women in the United States will experience in their lifetime.  Even better, several choices and paths that follow unprotected sex are explored and tidbits of helpful sexual health facts and info are casually placed into the dialogue.  There’s even brief but impactful conversations on masculinity and gender roles in regards to safe sex throughout the show.

I had a Hulu Plus account and was fortunately able to view the “Hulu exclusive” series, but anyone can watch the full episodes on the East Los High website.  It’s a good and fairly accessible teen drama with lots of examples and lessons to share.    There are little whispers about a second season to appear, and I am excitedly waiting.  Not everyone shared my enthusiasm for the show though.  An online “news” article from Life Site News expressed an opinion:

Planned Parenthood’s has its guns aimed squarely at Hispanic teens, as it continues its latest foray into eugenic targeting via an unbelievably salacious novella featuring an all-Latino/Latina cast…

What kind of public service is done by the airing of this trashy novella directed to Hispanic teens? And just what is the “moral” of Episode 1? Finish the dance with your boyfriend before dashing to the car to have sex with someone else? Watch out when you have sex in a car because someone may be videotaping you? Being voted Winter Queen will make you extremely popular on the hookup circuit?

How can anyone even use the word “moral” in connection with this series?

There are some other significant things that this writer neglects to mention besides the awesome sexual health info and examples found throughout the series.  East Los High is the first English language show with an all Latino cast.  And what is even better is that the cast defies the mainstream roles that Latino people are often forced into.  For something like this to be left out in this diatribe is quite telling of the kind of perspective the writer has, especially with the condescending and twisted but very nonexistent link between the show and fictitious eugenic attempts.

Miriam Perez, a past contributor on Racialicious, Feministing, and RHRealityCheck, has written on this topic of anti-choice movements making it seem like they care about women of color.  Her post was originally found on RHRealityCheck, but I pulled it off Racialicious.  From the succinct and eloquent post Worried About Women of Color? Thanks, But No Thanks, Anti-Choicers. We’ve Got It Covered:

At first glance, it’s nice to see the anti-choice community pretending to care about communities of color. But within a few minutes, the skepticism sets in. What’s really behind these tactics, coming from a group that is majority white, middle-class and Christian? In the end, we know this isn’t actually about women of color and their well-being. It’s a sensationalist attempt to pit women of color against the reproductive rights movement. Classic divide and conquer…

We’ve fought back against governmental policies like welfare family caps and limits on access to certain types of contraception over others. We’ve fought with the reproductive rights community to get them to care about these issues and how they affect our communities—and we’ve won.

We’re fighting for access to contraception, to abortion, to options for childbirth and parenting. And now we’ll fight the racist and paternalistic logic behind the eugenics arguments being made by anti-choicers.

Life Site News has urged concerned citizens to call  Hulu’s corporate headquarters at 310-571-4700 to remove the series and to make sure a second season contract cannot be extended.  Please use the number to the opposite.

(This has also been posted on my blogs FanTalk and STFU, Pro-Lifers.)

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Between Instagram and Twitter and other various social networking sites, people never really take the time to start actual face-to-face conversations and get to know each other. You may know who they are on social media, but that doesn’t mean you know them in reality. People have secrets and skeletons in their closet that are unknown to the world unless you really take the time out to get to know them.  The youth of today spend so much time with their eyes glued to their smart phones that they never actually get to know the people that they are involving themselves with intimately. They “fall in love” with what they see on the outside and are destroyed when they figure out that the person they’re so in love with is not who they thought them out to be.

Communication in a relationship is extremely important. Knowing about your partner’s sexual history and status can help clear out some of the skeletons in the closet before it’s too late.

Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively:

  1. Find the right time.
  2. Talk face-to-face.
  3. Do not attack.
  4. Be honest.
  5. Check your body language.

Don’t be afraid to start the conversation. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the better your can prepare and protect yourself. Step away from the smart phones and make the first move.

Stay Informed. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

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This week I had the opportunity to conduct an educational training on pregnancy prevention for local high school students in my community. The teen summit had over 400 students in attendance.   I co-facilitated the presentation with an educator from Planned Parenthood. I was extremely nervous at the first session while I presented. A million thoughts went through my head; were they listening, was I saying it right, did they understand, etc. This was my first experience at peer educating so I wanted to be perfect.  There were three sessions in total. By the second session I felt more relaxed and comfortable. It was a great feeling to see the students interact and yearn for more information. I felt accomplished when a few students stayed after the presentation to ask more questions. This experience has shown me that peer education is something I’d like to continue doing.

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Recently, Chicago public schools announced that they would indeed be incorporating sex education into their kindergarten curriculum. For 30 minutes every month, kindergarteners in the CPS system will be taught a variety of topics around sex education like the medically appropriate name for body parts, the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching and lessons on bullying. Interestingly, this time will also be used to teach students about different family structures which includes teaching kids about gay couples. Parents are allowed to view all material being used for these lessons and they can sign their kids out of this particular curriculum if they would like.

I find this to be some of the best news coming out of sex education in this country in a long time. Every news story seems to be about the fact that one state or another is trying to strip sex education of all teeth by implementing abstinence only programs that have been statistically proven, through research, to be much less effective than their comprehensive counterparts. The fact that any place in the country is making such a positive step forward is incredibly promising. The main criticism of this curriculum that I can see is uninformed individuals worried about the appropriateness of the topic in regards to children. Ignorance can be the only thing that fuels this opinion as I personally witness children being negatively affected by sexual experiences forced upon them almost daily. I work at an agency that provides advocacy for sexual assault victims, and there are few things more frustrating than sitting in a hospital room with a child who is not even fully aware of what has happened to them, but being deeply psychologically affected as they attempt to describe what happened. Often, the only words at their disposal are silly euphemisms that their parents have taught them such as “pocketbook” and others that can make it impossible to figure out the situation; giving children power and agency over something as personal as their bodies can only result in positive effects.

Categories: Sex Education
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(original image by The Stigma Project)

About them:

We are a grassroots organization that aims to lower the HIV infection rate and neutralize the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS through education and awareness via social media and advertising. The Stigma Project seeks to create an HIV neutral world, free of judgement and fear by working with both positive and negative individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, or background.

Social media has rapidly become one of today’s largest mediums of news, culture, and education. We hope to embrace that with effective campaigns each season that bring awareness to the current state of HIV. Please, whether you’re HIV-positive, negative, or you don’t know (and should), we need your help. Ask your friends to join us in starting a revolution: an “HIV Neutral” revolution. Like us, Share us, Re-tweet us. The more people we reach, the more effective our project. The more successful our mission. YOU can make a difference.

Their mission:

The Stigma Project seeks to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS on a global scale, through awareness, art, provocation, education and by inspiring a spirit of living “HIV Neutral.”

Their vision:

The Stigma Project seeks to create an “HIV Neutral” world, free of judgment, fear, discrimination and alienation by educating both positive and negative individuals from all walks of life about the constantly evolving state of the epidemic. We seek to reduce the HIV infection rate through knowledge, awareness, and effective marketing and advertising. Ultimately we see a future where the world is free of HIV/AIDS.

I’ve already posted this image before but without credit to the original poster, so here it is!  I’ve also added information about this organization!

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My experience with sex education in Columbia, South Carolina by Salome Seraphin, a SC Youth Activist for the South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign.

Categories: Sex Education
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My experience with sex education in South Carolina by Shelby, a SC Youth Activist for the South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWpxfNjIxuA

Categories: Sex Education
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I’m one of the lucky ones.

In a nation where 1 in 6 women are raped (a number that’s even higher for Black women), I’ve never been raped. In a country where STI infection rates in young adults continue to rise, I’ve never been infected. In a nation where teen suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24, and for LGBTQ+ people are 8.4x more likely to attempt suicide, I’m still here. In a state where Abstinence-Only Sex Education is the norm, I went to a school that taught Comprehensive Sex Ed.

I was lucky enough to have supportive, loving and open parents. I was lucky enough to have access to websites like scarletteen.com, gurl.com and a million blogs dedicated to teaching teens that sex wasn’t scary or dangerous, but a natural part of life. I had feminist friends and adults who paid attention to me and cared about what I did. Even so, my life hasn’t been perfect. I had missteps: six years in an unhealthy relationship, sex with people I didn’t like. I made some bad choices. But I was able to bounce back. I was given the space to recover.

Everyone doesn’t have the privileges I’ve had. Some people don’t have parents at home to teach them how to put a condom on a phallus, or what birth control actually does. Some people go to school where “sex ed” is a series of misinformed scare tactics that leave them uninformed and unprepared for the interpersonal relationships they’ll inevitably face. Some people have been raped or sexually assaulted, but have never been given the words to articulate what happened to them, or why it was wrong.

None of these things happened to me, because I was lucky.

I shouldn’t be considered lucky, though. My experiences of education, openness and safety should be the norm, not the exception. The first way to make that happen is by embracing formal, positive, medically accurate and age-appropriate Comprehensive Sex Ed. It should be open and honest about sexual orientation, anatomy and healthy interpersonal relationships. It should magnifies how important and critical consent is in all interactions. It should do these things and more.

I was one of the lucky ones. I shouldn’t be. My experiences with sex ed should be normal.

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This week, the makers of Trojan condoms released their 8th annual Sexual Health Report Card, ranking the best and worst college and universities in the country with sexual health resources and information.

What are you doing to help your school ranking around sexual health? Upload a photo to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and show us how you distribute condoms. Make sure to use the hashtag #GACC

Through the Great American Condom Campaign, we know there are hundreds of campuses working towards improving condom access & information on sexual health. Yet, we know may campuses still have bad policies and regulations in place that limit the access of young people. Is your school one of those?

From November 7th-14th, raise your voice and tweet to your school (or via Facebook), and asked them to support policies that improve young people’s health & lives. 

 Examples:

@BostonCollege What are you doing to improve #condom access on campus? http://prn.to/1hNQx7X #GACC

@ChicagoState Why are we last on this list? Let’s improve #condom access #GACC http://prn.to/1hNQx7X

By using the hashtag #GACC and tweeting to your school (or via Facebook), you can start a conversation on your campus about the policies needed to support young people on campus.

Let’s ensure that young people have the tools needed to lead healthy sexual lives.

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I am happy to be part of the pool of facilitators who facilitated the very first National Adolescent Health Camp that was held at the Fontana Leisure Parks in Clark, Pampanga from October 22-25, 2013 and attended by 300 young adolescents from across the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. I am also honored to have worked with my fellow Y-PEER siblings in this project by the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Youth Commission (NYC) and to mentor out-of-school youth delegates from Eastern Visayas who were awesome during the entire duration of the camp. It made me confident that more adolescents are becoming aware of the importance of adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Adolescence is the period in life when an individual is no longer a child but not an adult as well. They are the person in transitional stage in life, living in critical time of rapid physical, mental, emotional, sexual, social and spiritual development. A time of transition that varies across individuals and groups, countries and cultures.

Globally, 1/5 or 1.2 billion of the world population are adolescents. However, 2/3 of the premature deaths and 1/3 of the disease burden in adults are associated with conditions or behavior that begins in youth. In the Philippines, adolescents comprise about 21.5 percent or almost 20 million of the 92 million Filipinos counted in the 2010 census conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) as cited by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI). They contribute significantly to the labor force of the country. Considering that they constitute the most active group, they are the most vulnerable to communicable and non-communicable diseases owing to their risky behaviors. Furthermore, rate of teenage pregnancies have risen.

It is under this pretext that the Family Health Office of DOH in collaboration with the Department of Education (Dep-Ed), NYC, and Y-PEER Pilipinas conducted a basic training on adolescent peer education. As part of the learning process, an enhancement program was given to potential young leaders. Among the objectives of this camp are: a) Identify issues, gaps, and challenges on adolescent health and development at the local level; b) establish a pool of youth leaders on Adolescent Health and Development to address issues identified; c) develop standards of peer education on Adolescent Health and Development that will aid in developing the national framework on peer education; and d) develop one year local adolescent peer education plans to be implemented in their community/school.

At the start of our registration process, the participants were given name tags with number written at the back for an activity that was held later that afternoon. During the opening ceremonies which featured an ensemble of various traditional costumes from across the islands of the Philippines, the highlight of the said ceremony was the speech of Dr. Stephanie Sison from the Department of Health (DOH) in which she stressed the importance of the health camp to our young people and their importance to our country. They learned that engaging in risk behaviors such as early sexual encounter that may lead to unplanned pregnancy has a great impact on our lives especially on child and maternal health, education, and economic standing.

After the ceremony, participants were grouped according to the numbers behind our name tags for our first series of activities which was one of the facilitations I did in the duration of the camp. They had their getting to know in the form of a speed dating activity in which they met for the first time with their fellow participants from other regions. It provided them an opportunity to mingle in order that we can be friends and likewise for me to meet them. It also provided an opportunity to correct their stereotypes with other region like those from conflict areas in Mindanao. The second activity was body mapping in which I instructed them to draw a human body and wrote in the parts of the body their goals, achievements, positive/negative attitudes, their loved ones, and what others say about them among others. It’s a time where they get to know themselves better as they prepared themselves for the next days of activities. In our last activity which is called Agree or Disagree, young adolescents were able to know each other’s views and values on pressing issues among young people like acceptance of LGBT and people living with HIV, teen pregnancy, access to family planning services, and abortion among others. Yes, it gave them an opportunity to debate and argues on these issues but what prevailed at the end of the day is their mutual respect for each other’s views.

The next day during the plenary, Dr. Minerva “Mimi” Vinluan discussed the legal frameworks that serve as basis for DOH and other government agencies’ programs and projects on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH). It gave us a solid foundation on where we stand as Peer Educators because there is a legal basis for everything that is being conducted in the training. Moreover, since most of them are not acquainted with these legal frameworks, it provided us an opportunity to be educated about these laws which they can invoke and apply in real life situations.

After the plenary, they enrolled into four different topics of discussion for the day: Understanding Adolescent and Puberty; Sex and Gender and Sexuality; Teenage Pregnancy; and HIV, AIDS, and STI. Their enrollment to these topics served as basis for their groupings in the sessions that followed. During our workshop, we let them compute the expenses that they will incur when they impregnated or got pregnant at a very young age with no financial security. They were shocked with the amount that they have computed – a staggering P180, 000 pesos more or less is the money that they have to pay for all expenses related to pregnancy (pre-natal check-ups, medicines, hospital bills, immunization, canned milk, baby diapers, newborn screening and other procedures. They have realized that it is not a big joke to get someone or become pregnant and they conclude that they have to be careful and be responsible with their actions related to practicing their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

In the afternoon, four different topics for workshops were simultaneously held: Relationships; Gender Based Violence and Power Analysis; Youth Sexuality and Family Planning; and ASRH in Humanitarian Setting. Also, the Adult Session for our partners from DOH, Department of Education (Dep-Ed), National Youth Commission (NYC), and other government and non-government organizations was held in a separate venue within the Fontana Convention Center.

During the Thursday plenary, Maria May-i Fabros of Task Force Batang Ina provided an insightful discussion on Elements of RH, the 13 Sexual Rights, and Human Rights Lens that enshrined in various international treaties that the Philippines have signed and ratified. We appreciated the kind of approach that she had on these topics because she delivered it in a manner that is not too academic like classroom lectures, rather, she delivered it in an informal manner that we understood since she anchored it on her own personal experiences and journey as an advocate and as someone doing development work. After the plenary, we break into groups and we facilitators discussed Peer Education 101 that included: Roles and Responsibility of Peer Educator, Peer Education on ASRH, Peer Education Activities, and workshop on session planning in Preparation for our Practicum the next day. In the afternoon, the NYC conducted Peer Education 201 that stresses on leadership and accountability as Peer Educators after which, we break into regions for the young adolescents’ regional planning.

In the Practicum, the existing groupings were further subdivided into four smaller groups with each assigned topics to deliver. We were given 45 minutes at most to deliver a Peer Education session following the standards given to us by our facilitators. The first two groups conducted their sessions simultaneously while the remaining two groups served as the participants respectively of the first two. During their presentation, we observed on how they conducted their sessions such as facilitation and co-facilitation skills, quality of information presented, icebreakers conducted, and our management with our participants. After they presented our sessions, we were able to give them feedbacks and points to improve on their workshop sessions the next time they conduct one.

Overall, all of us enjoyed the experience while at the same time they learn from us facilitators and resource speakers as much as we facilitators learned from our young participants. We have formed lasting friendships among our fellow facilitators and delegates from Region VIII and the delegates from other regions as well. The dinners and regional sharing that we had every night has been memorable. As newly trained Peer Educators, much is expected from them. They may be still learning the ropes but I am very much confident that they can train new Peer Educators in Region VIII and I am here as their Kuya – Big Brother to help them.

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Last weekend I decided to put together an event that promoted safe sex. Given the fact that it was the weekend before Halloween it was a great opportunity to dress up and have some fun. I planned a bar crawl where I would travel to different bars and hand out condom necklaces and comprehensive sex information. My sister and I dressed up in our tutus as “Condom Fairies” handed out over 700 condoms on Ft. Lauderdale Beach. If was loads of fun and we met tons of new people. The most rewarding aspect was when individuals would commend us on our efforts to promoted safe sex. A lot of people we met thought what we were doing and encouraged us to keep it up.

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Seeing a pregnant teenager makes many people uncomfortable. The discomfort is rooted in facing the reality that the comforting lies these people tell themselves about youth not being sexual beings, don’t have questions about sex, and aren’t having sex are wrong.
By finding comfort and silence in their disillusions they too play a role in the high rate of unintended pregnancies experienced by teenagers and young adults everyday.
I remember being a pregnant 15 year old and complete strangers glaring at me, stopping me to lecture me on what a mistake I have made and how terrible I make the world, and telling me how dumb I was for not just saying no and keeping my legs closed.
After having my daughter some of these things subsided because I was no longer a pregnant teen they felt inclined to harass instead the disillusions took on a new form. When people would see me with my daughter they told themselves I was the baby sitter, older sister, nanny, cousin, anything BUT the mother.
The few rude brave ones would approach me and ask me if I was her mother. “YES!” I would proudly answer with the new mother glow only to be scoffed at, looked up and down, and walked away from.
Teenagers become pregnant for a variety of reasons: inadequate sex education, lack of access to affordable contraceptives, no one to talk to about sex and relationships, poverty, boredom, sexual assault, planning a pregnancy, all types of reasons. However, the overwhelming consensus is elders are failing to help youth navigate the world of relationships and sexuality in a healthy way so teens are figuring it out on their own.
Don’t like it? Change it by changing the way YOU (read adults) address and deal with approaching the topic. It isLet’s Talk Month… maybe you should start listening and stop comforting yourself with lies.

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Seeing Capitol Hill for the first time is something I will never forget.

Just a little over a month ago, I was walking the hallways of the Cannon House building, on my way to my first meeting of the day. Lobby day on The Hill, another amazing opportunity granted to me by Advocates for Youth. I’d lobbied before, but I’d only ever lobbied my state senators and assembly-people. Needless to say, I was nervous. The day before at the training, I was feeling overly confident until I saw that we would also have meetings with some people I thought would be less in favor of the bill I was so desperately lobbying for- the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, a comprehensive sex education bill.

When I saw our first meeting slot, though, I felt comforted. Representative Dina Titus is a household name in my family, and she is someone I have known of very fondly. My mentor, and close friend, Annette Magnus had worked in Rep. Titus’s office in the past, and she has always spoken very highly of her. It also helped lessen the tension when I saw that Rep. Titus has a 100% approval rating of Planned Parenthood, something I expected, as she is quite the progressive, liberal woman!

Upon arrival to her office, I saw a big Nevada State doormat, the only doormat I saw in the entirety of Capitol Hill. A little piece of home was smack in the middle of a Capitol Building’s hallway, and trust me, it is hard to miss. I soon met Katie Cassling, the staffer that was meeting with me for Rep. Titus. I sat down along with Katie, another fellow ‘lobbier,’ and Julia Reticker-Flynn, a wonderful Advocates staff member. Ms. Cassling was wonderful from the get-go. I had gone over and over what I planned to say the night before, and I had already said a lot of it before since I had recently lobbied for comprehensive sex-education on the state level.

Ms. Cassling listened very thoughtfully when I told her of the sex-education I had received (and all that I had not.) I spoke from the heart and from a very personal level when I told her of my struggles entering an abstinence-only-until-marriage sex-education class as a rape and sexual assault survivor. I continued to tell her of the battle we had fought very valiantly for comprehensive sex-education in our home state and sadly lost. I think one of my most proud moments of the meeting was when I was able to hand over a stack of petitions in support that I had personally collected. I flipped through the pages with her, and she seemed very impressed. It was overall a pleasant experience, and she gave me constant affirmation that Rep. Titus supported such things. She ended the meeting with the remark that it was highly unlikely for Rep. Titus to say no to the bill! This lifted my confidence, and I was floating on air for the rest of the day.

Lobbying is an adventure for me, and it is a constant challenge on making that connection with the person you are speaking with. You only have a certain amount of time to communicate your message. I am always up for a challenge.

Overall, the meeting with Rep. Titus’s office was an experience I will not soon forget. It was a pleasant, safe environment, and I am incredibly happy to hear that Rep. Dina Titus co-sponsored the bill! Representative Dina Titus took into account what her constituents wanted, and it is a wonderful thing to feel heard. She is the first one to sign on to the bill from Nevada, and it feels amazing to have had a hand in that.

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As the US’s sex education programs become more comprehensive and inclusive, there is little discussion of how to linguistically include students whose first language is not English. I was disappointed by the lack of information on how to create schools that foster supportive learning environment and provide comprehensive sex education materials for English Language Learner (ELL) students.

Legally, schools must provide sex education programs for all students. Section 1703(f) of the Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974 requires “state agencies and school districts to take action to overcome language barriers that impede ELL students from participating equally in school districts’ educational programs”. [1] We know the experiences of student’s vary drastically depending on their state, school district, school, and teacher.

To begin, programs must be able to convey not only scientific, but colloquial terms to students. The threshold in which students are immersed into solely English speaking classrooms creates challenge. I believe ELL students should be included as soon as possible, but how do we ensure that ELL students who are not fluent do not miss concepts while partaking in English classrooms? Despite their language ability, all students deserve access to information, not just basic concepts.

If ELL students cannot yet be immersed in English-only classes, they should be taught curriculum on par with the English ones. The resources that design English sex education programs must be invested in ensuring other programs are comparable. Similarly, resources such as guides, contraceptives, and videos must be available in the accessible language of the student.

[1] http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/edu/types.php

Categories: Sex Education
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October is “Let’s Talk Month.” For those of you who do not know Let’s Talk Month happens every year and is a month long event which seeks to create a healthy environment where youth and adults can have open and honest conversations about sexuality.

 

Too often the voices of youth are left out of these extremely important conversations and or over shadowed by adults and some organizations that although mean well can sometimes co-opt the voices of youth too. Even parents who mean well can mistakenly cut their children off from ever wanting to speak to them about their sexuality by responding to one question in a less than perfect way.
Thankfully Advocates for Youth great resources they’ve compiled to help ensure this does not happen and that everyone gets a fair chance to ask questions, speak, answer questions, and be heard.
This year I noticed that HuffPost Teen has done something AMAZING through their already wonderful platform. They have given youth from all over America the chance to talk about sex, relationships, and sexuality through their series Teen Sex: It’s Complicated.
This series is a offers a griping first hand account about how America’s youth view sexuality. From Carly speaking honestly about losing her virginity to Paige feeling isolated and alone because there is no one to talk to sex about to the reality that many teens don’t know about sex but just act like it to seem popular by Garrison. These stories are real, honest, and-to me- asking for a culture shift when it comes to broaching the topic of sexuality
Talking to youth about sex does not make them want to have sex-and if it did who cares so long as it’s safe and healthy- it makes talking about sex and the act of sex normal. When sexuality is less of a mystery less people will go out and “figure it out on their own” or feel pressured into having sex.
The reality is that most people develop their attitudes towards sexuality in their teens and when they are young adults. If they aren’t learning healthy, responsible, and safe was to explore their sexuality they maintain these potentially unsafe and unhealthy attitudes well into adulthood.
The one thing all people need the most regardless of age is a strong and healthy attitude towards sexuality and sex that begins EARLY in life.

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by Eddie Chao, Fiona Tang, Sidhartha Taruc, and Trang Vo of Forward Together Youth

Remember when we brought you 20 Condoms, that catchy safer sex jam that got you singing along to the tune of Macklemore’s Thrift Shop? Well, we’ve done it again! We’re gearing up to release our 2nd video THIS FRIDAY and want YOU to help us lead a conversation about safer sex by and for young people.

Social media is a way youth can spread information through a medium they’re experts in, which is why we are hosting, along with Advocates for Youth, a #SexEdSaga Twitter Party THIS FRIDAY, 10/18 @ 11am PST!

 

 

Our #SexEdSaga Twitter Party is an opportunity for young people to explore and use Twitter in order to bring visibility to youth-of-color led efforts around the need for comprehensive sex education that is relevant to ALL young people.

Youth in this generation have been using social media inside and out to spread their messages across the web. These tools, especially twitter, are essential to start as well as sustain a youth-led campaign. Our #SexEdSaga Twitter Party is the perfect opportunity for all young people to harness this 21st century skill and apply it to our organizing work.

Participating in this Twitter Party means helping us bring visibility to our campaign and gaining supporters who will see that we are youth being active in what we are passionate about. We want youth voices to be heard, and taken seriously, and we want to have fun while making it a reality.

The twitter party is open to anyone and is a way for others to help us lead the conversation! We’ll be talking about how to have “The Talk”, youth created media, and strategies for STI / HIV prevention from a youth perspective.

Join us on Friday by jumping on Twitter and using the #SexEdSaga hashtag. You can also follow along with #SafeIsSexy, because, well, it’s true.

 

 

previously posted by Strong Families.

Categories: Sex Education
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(Image reposted from Amplify Facebook – click here for more)

Urban Retreat 2013 was truly an experience beyond any tier.  Never have I ever been surrounded by so many like-minded individuals–as much of an oxymoron as that might sound.  We were all individuals because we all had our own story to share.  We came from many different walks of life and parts of the world.  All of us had to overcome some type of unique trauma and oppression that we were facing in our own separate lives.  But we celebrated our diversity.  And we were all there in unison trying to contribute to the vision we shared for the world.

I might have been a tiny bit apprehensive about making the trip to Washington, D.C. at first.  I wasn’t really enthusiastic about being away from my girlfriend.  It was a place I had never been to on my own.  I would be surrounded by strangers.  But these strangers quickly became my friends.  And these friends were all activists and advocates for social progress in their own communities from all over the world, so I had a lot to learn from them.  And I found, to my surprise, that I had things I could share with them as well.  Together we received training to become more effective activists and leaders.  And after the inspiring trainings and workshops, we headed to Capitol Hill together to share our stories and insight with our representatives.  It was a self-affirming and inspiring experience.

I even got to meet Janet Mock!  We talked and had dinner.  She even tweeted me and followed me on Twitter!

It’s thanks to Urban Retreat that I’ve gained new tools, resources, and concepts that would empower me and inspire me to be more involved in activism and advocacy for social justice.  And it’s thanks to Urban Retreat that I’ve gained a new family with YouthResource.  Today I woke up this morning and found myself in my own bed in Michigan.  I wasn’t in Washington, D.C. with my fellow advocates anymore.  The realization was bittersweet.  But I know I’ll see these faces soon enough with stories to share.

 

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Sex education may be taught informally, such as when someone receives information from a conversation with a parent friend’s religious leader, or through the media. It may also be delivered through sex self-help authors, magazine advice columnists, sex columnists, or sex education web sites. Formal sex education occurs when schools or health care providers offer sex education. Slyer stated that sex education teaches the young person what he or she should know for his or her personal conduct and relationship with others. Gruenberg also stated that sex education is necessary to prepare the young for the task ahead. According to him, officials generally agree that some kind of planned sex education is necessary. And also sex education is important most especially on female child for her to know the right time of making sex and to know the effect of making sex at the wrong time. And am also advising the parent should always talk to their children so that they will know more about sex education.

Categories: Sex Education
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“Not your Mother’s Meatloaf: A Sex Education Comic Book (Soft Skull Press) explores topics from cross-dressing to kinks to consent, and offers the experiences of an impressively varied group of comic artists such as queer-identified folks, people of color, and comics by teens themselves” [1]

Check out the series at:  http://notyourmothersmeatloafbook.com

[1] http://bitchmagazine.org/post/rejoice-theres-a-new-inclusive-sex-ed-comic-book

Categories: Sex Education
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Talking about active consent as something you do in your daily life and about how to end rape culture and build a culture of consent in its place.

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That it includes how virginity is only a social construct; whether or not you choose to become sexually active does not define you

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Birth Control

ATTENTION!!! Every girl needs to go to the stores ASAP and pick up the September edition of Cosmopolitan magazine! In this month’s edition of the magazine they have provided us with a golden ticket to Not-Pregnant Land. The article is extremely informative and covers everything from birth control to abstinence and everything in between. They make information on 17 types of birth control available. My favorite thing about the article is that it provides the reader with answers to common concerns that women, including myself have about birth control. To me, the most unique features of the article are the sections where they discuss how to talk to your doctor about birth control and creating a back-up plan. Both of those are things that I wish I would have known about earlier. Staying informed is the recommended way to make the best decisions about your own reproductive health. I give this article 5 gold stars and an A+ for providing accurate, interesting, and up-to-date information!

Stay Informed. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

Categories: Sex Education
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SexEdAlert

As you read this, young people are working hard to make comprehensive sex education a reality. They’re knocking on doors, holding campus events, and organizing their friends online, all to gather support for the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act (REHYA). The REHYA will dedicate federal funding to comprehensive sexual health education programs that will finally provide young people with the skills and information they need to make informed, responsible, and healthy decisions.

Will you support youth activists by signing a petition in support of the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act?

Your signature will make a difference. In just a few days youth activists will visit their Representatives and Senators in Washington, D.C. and personally deliver the signatures they have worked so hard to gather. They’re leading a nationwide movement for comprehensive sex education in this country. Let’s back them up.

Sign their petition in support of the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act!

Tweet now!I support young people working for comp #sexed & you should too. Add your voice to the petition http://bit.ly/vision4sexed

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August 2013 is the beginning of my second year as a Broward County Youth Council member. This year will be bitter sweet for  me because I am aging out. I am extremely excited for what this year has to bring. All of the hard work we did last year is slowly coming to fruition. I am excited to see how everything falls into place regarding comprehensive sex ed in the Broward County school system. This year we have a few new members and I am anxious to work with them on our upcoming projects. This year will be EPIC for me. I plan on having a blast. Urban Retreat is s quickly approaching and I am ready to learn new techniques and tools that will help me be a better advocate. This year will definitely be a memorable one.

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Just yesterday on a Friday afternoon, I posted the petition to make The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act a reality on my reproductive justice blog.  It’s not much, but it’s already gained a little less than 900 notes on Tumblr.  Popular blogs like ST*U, Sexists and F*ck Yeah, Sex Education just gave the petition a signal boost and I’ve seen a lot of #vision4sexed hashtags on Twitter, so we’ll be sure to see more feedback before September 10.  And the youth activists have been out and about getting physical signatures, which is something I’m doing once school is back in session.  Some people are reblogging it with their own commentary to emphasize the importance of it, and sometimes it’s all in caps so you know it’s a pretty big deal.  Especially with our current culture’s views on sexuality and education.  No one should have to suffer another abstinence only class in which our youth, especially girls, are compared to used up candy wrappers and dirty pieces of tape if they’re sexually active.  If you haven’t already and you support comprehensive sex education, definitely sign the petition and share it!

The petition page lets you know exactly what you’re saying when you’re leaving behind a signature:

I support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, a sex education vision that outlines what young people truly need. The bill not only authorizes funding for comprehensive sex education directed towards adolescents and college students, but also prioritizes teacher training so that our nation’s educators have the tools they need to be effective in the classroom.

Let’s work to realize our vision of young people receiving the sex education they need in order to lead healthy lives and have healthy relationships. We owe it to them to provide them honest sexual health education. With the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act we can start bringing our vision for sex ed to life!

My vision for sex education includes letting our youth know that it’s never okay to shame others for being sexually active or abstinent by choice.  My vision for sex education also includes teaching our youth the signs of an abusive relationship, whether it’s emotional, physical, or both.  I’d love for there to be discussions that include the LGBTQ community because often they are erased from the topic, leaving many without resources.  I find it to be very dangerous to let our youth go through life without the tools they need to have healthy lives.  Comprehensive sex education just makes perfect sense to me.  What’s your vision for sex ed?

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New York City’s Health Department understands that you have to meet youth where they’re at and today youth are almost always on their phones.
Knowing this NYC’s Department of Health has released two apps, Find Condoms NYC and Teens in NYC Protection+ that help youth locate sexual health services as well as LGTQ counseling centers in their immediate locations through the “near me” or “current location” options or through typing in an address.
Both apps are extremely user friendly and are available through the app store for free! In addition these apps help youth locate FREE condoms!
While some individuals are trying to lessen the amount and or access to medically accurate sexual health and mental health consoling for youth, I applaud New York Cities Department of Health for releasing these apps which are literally at any youth’s fingertips who have a smart phone.
One of the things I would like both apps to have is a set by set guide or video on how to properly place both a female and male condom because although many people know what a condom is many have no idea how to properly use one. Thankfully fellow Amplify contributor has outlined the 12 Steps, yes there are 12, to using a male condom properly.
I hope more cities that lack comprehensive sex ed are taking similar strides to providing youth and young adults in their cities the information they need and want by developing sexual health apps for smart phone users.

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Mean Girls Sex ed

At the end of July, an Iowa sex education program called “Parenting: It’s a Life” received national recognition and an award from the National Child Support Enforcement Association in Virginia. However, as a young person, I give it my annual “You should do better” award.

“Parenting: It’s a Life” focuses on the financial realities of having a child, moving away from the “usually” covered topics of sex education such as reproduction, contraception, abstinence, and sexually transmitted infections.

Although the “Parenting: It’s a Life” program is slightly less shame-mongering than abstinence-until-marriage curricula, it still goes out of its way to invoke fear around sex. By telling students that “if you cannot afford jeans, you cannot afford diapers,” or that young parents will not have financial support from parents, this sex education program shames students from having sex and from parenting.

Personally, I know there are better ways to teach sex education and health, since my school district in St. Louis Park, Minnesota had extremely comprehensive sex ed classes in the elementary, middle, and high school.

I remember my first health class. I was ten, and I truly did not understand my body or the changes that were occurring. I was petrified. The health teacher said it was OK to feel scared by the physical and emotional changes during puberty. I was comforted, knowing I was not alone.

As I went through school, I continued to benefit from my school district’s comprehensive sex education. I learned about every method of the contraception, from condoms to the sponge, healthy relationships, and substance abuse and peer pressure.

My time as a student in sex education taught me that I can make my own informed decisions about sex and relationships. I was comfortable not having sex when I was not ready, and comfortable to start having sex when it was the right time for me.

“Parenting: It’s a Life” does not give young people the necessary tools or information to make informed decisions about sex or parenting. It’s true, the program is not the worst in the country; however, it could be much better. For this reason, it wins the “You should do better” award. And although it is not the worst curriculum out there, young people deserve better.

Categories: Sex Education
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The piece explains how residents in this particular Bronx zip code have at least two of the following STD’s:HIV hepatitis B, hepatitis C, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and tuberculosis?”
 
This got me thinking about what major campaigns or sex education curriculums have arguably lesser known STD’s as prominent as HIV/ AIDS. Sex education usually stresses HIV/ AIDS so much that other STD’s are seen as less serious, less likely to be contracted, and in some cases completely forgotten about. 
 
The immediate comments following the article were:
 
“I knew it would be The Bronx. Lotz of dope users.” Actually the title says it in big bold letters above.
 
“What do you expect when most residents of 10457 can’t even spell STD?”
 
And the eloquent: “We are the ones paying for these creatures aids treatments, at  40-80K for the rest of their lives.” SO MUCH WRONG WITH THIS.
 
HOLD ON! 10457 is my zip code!
I can tell you first hand that finding a condom in my neighborhood is damn near impossible. I remember sitting down one day and wondering where I could go and get a condom for free if I needed one and not being able to come up with anywhere that was within walking distance from my home. 
The comments go on to talk about how terrible myself and my neighbors are. 
 
However, not one of the comments I read, and I had to soon stop because it appears the Daily News has captured the most ignorant and judgmental audience in New York City, stopped to think about the lack of access, affordability, and social problems that factor into these findings. 
 
While the Upper West Side and Upper East Side richer neighborhoods have more access, information, and actually teach a more comprehensive sex education curriculum in their schools. The reality is The Bronx and specifically 10457 is way behind with all of the above. 
 
As a resident I’m racking my brain about the initiatives I can start to change my neighborhood from “Disease Alley” to “Accurate Sex Education Condom Alley.” 

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One year ago, then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) uttered his infamous “legitimate rape” comment when explaining his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape. The comment gave the public a rare peek into the extreme views Akin and other like-minded conservatives have on reproductive rights and how fundamentally misinformed they are on matters of basic biology.

The comment was the beginning of the end of Akin’s Senate run. But while it may have cost him an election, it hasn’t stopped Republicans across the country from trying to legislate legal abortion out of existence. On Friday, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) quantified those efforts in a new report, Shut That Whole Thing Down: A Survey of Abortion Restrictions Even in Cases of Rape. The report looks at abortion legislation in the states and Congress from the first half of 2013 and finds that:

  • 86 percent (235) of the 273 provisions that politicians introduced in state legislatures to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.

  • 71 percent (27) of the 38 state provisions restricting women’s access to abortion enacted by the states apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.

  • 72 percent (18) of the 25 bills introduced in Congress to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.

Source: http://rhrealitycheck.tumblr.com/

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Hey guys, I’m back with my second edition of my story this goes to all the parents all around the world…

…..wait this is also for everyone, we will all become parents one day won’t we?

Growing up was silent and painful for me, I hated times when we were on holidays, we had no one to keep my junior sister and I company while everyone left for work. We were left alone under the care of a family friend who lived with us for over four years starting from when I was 8years old, and all through those years he had sex with me every day (all those days when no one was at home) it was always painful and became a routine and the worse part of it this was that I couldn’t tell anyone this. my mum was strict and never told us anything about our sexual health or sex education. I didn’t even know what sex was or what the sex organs were called I could only tell that what was happening to me at that time were the worse days of my life. I really wished someone had told me what sex was then, I would have at least known what to do but I was totally blank ignorant.

I became silent about almost everything in my life, I never talked to anyone about any issues the experience I had, I hated anything that had to do with sex (till date), and I never wanted to go hang out with anyone or interact with anyone and worse of all I hated men.

And then of course I grew up  feeling inferior and looked at myself and wondered if I was going to face this trauma for the rest of my life, I always kept to myself no matter how hard they tried to persuade me to let out my feelings, and that was why a lot of things went wrong while I was growing because there was no one to put me through and all the same I learnt about my sexual reproductive health from the wrong source and got the wrong ideas.

Parents are you watching your children? Do you trust the people you hand your children to? Or do you leave them at home alone or with the house keeper help? Do you give them the right information they need? Or leave them blank just like my mother did?

If you are a parent you need to watch your child very closely, notice any change in him or her, talk to him or her very often find out what is going on in their lives don’t just leave them in the hands of someone else.

Raising your child is your responsibility, no one can do it better than you and if so it will be done the wrong way.

Categories: Sex Education
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Learning about consent and putting an end to a culture of sexual harassment and rape

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In all-inclusive atmosphere without bullying or stigma

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healthy relationships

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Learning about safe sex

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A bright future!

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Make videos!

Forward Together youth are excited to present their brand new video series… Sex Ed: the Saga!

Sex Ed: the Saga is a video series created by and for youth and is a way for young people to lead conversations that adults don’t always know how to have with us. Forward Together Youth are aiming to get young people, caregivers, teachers, and mentors to start conversations on the topics often left at the door.

The first video they’ve released is “20 Condoms,” a sex positive, protection-endorsing riff on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ song Thrift Shop. This video along with all the others in the Sex Ed: the Saga video series promote a comprehensive and LGBTQ inclusive sex education that is essential to cultivating justice in our communities and empowering young people!

Check it out!

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When we hear about politicians making unqualified and uneducated statements about abortion and reproductive/sexual health, we just shake our heads, asking ourselves and our peers, “How does someone like that get into office?”

Not to diminish your faith in humanity, but less than a couple weeks ago, Brian Nieves, a Republican state senator of Missouri, commented in a Facebook argument to a pro-choice priest, “‘Life of the Mother?’ Your own argument proves it is a matter of convenience!”  State senator Brian Nieves later denied that he said this.  But the denial wouldn’t do him any good since his comments have been screencapped and the comment is still on the Facebook page.

There are people who treat this like it’s an isolated incident.  Like it’s nothing to worry about, but you’d have to imagine the kind of culture it takes to condition people to be able to say these things.  You don’t even have to imagine because that’s the culture we’re living in.  It’s not just one old, white male politician.  It’s several.  And they’re not necessarily always white men.

Brace yourself.  This is pretty triggering.

“These Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness…We are not going to have our men become subservient.”

— Florida Rep. Allen West expresses a clear understanding of how oppression and privilege works.

“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.”

— Texas state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, discussing why there shouldn’t be a rape or incest exception in bills restricting reproductive health care because clearly she understands how health care works.

“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”  —Richard Mourdock, an Indiana state senator candidate who fortunately did not win.

“Understand though, that when we talk about exceptions, we talk about rape, incest, health of a woman, life of a woman. Life of the woman is not an exception.”

—Joe Walsh, former Illinois congressman revealing just how “pro-life” he really is.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

—Missouri Representative Todd Akin basically sharing how much he doesn’t know about a female body in one terrible sentence.

“The facts show that people who are raped —who are truly raped—the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”

—former North Carolina Rep. Henry Aldridge using imaginary doctors as his sources.

“As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

—Clayton Williams regarding rape, he was a former Texas Republican gubernatorial contender and a past fundraiser for John McCain.

This is one of the many reasons why I’m in total support of Advocates for Youth.  The politicians I’ve listed are the kind of people who have been supporting legislation that not only hurts people who need abortions, but rape victims and teens in desperate need of comprehensive sex education.  It hurts people who need access to contraception, affordable health care, and everything else a person would need to live a quality life.  And it’s not going to stop until we change the culture and institutions that allows it to happen.  So, we advocate for the youth.  We have a responsibility to them to ensure that they have their rights and are to be respected.

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Young sexual and reproductive rights advocates continue to push for the full integration of a rights-based approach in relation to advancing population and development goals. That was the overarching message of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Regional Youth Summit.

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, where activists representing over 40 international organizations gathered and developed a Call to Action, ensuring young people sexual and reproductive rights continue to be integrated in development agendas.

The summit brought together a diverse group of 40 young people from Eastern Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel (EECARO region), to discuss and develop priority goals. During the summit, we organized ourselves into three sessions based on interest and expertise

  1. Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development,
  2. Families, Sexual and Reproductive Health over the Life Course,
  3. Inequalities, Social Inclusion and Rights.

After lengthy conversations, each group came up with a number of recommendations to share with the entire forum for us all to debate and finalize. The culmination of our work was translated into a solid document that represents what the youth from the EECARO region want elected officials and  leaders to take into consideration. You can access the full document here.

The outcome of the summit embodied the youth vision and development priorities for the region over the next decade and was presented at the Regional Conference in Geneva. Fifteen delegates from our group (bearing in mind equal representation) attended the Geneva Conference and shared our declaration (Youth Call to Action). The speech, delivered by Grace Wilentz from YouAct (European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights) and Jakub Skrzypczyk from Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights can be found here.

On a personal note, I had a great time interacting with all the youth participants at the Regional Youth Forum and learning more about the EECARO region. It became clearer to me that the same sexual and reproductive health and rights issues we are advocating for in the US are found in other parts of the world. I was happy to discover that we are not alone in this battle. Young people from all over the world are rising up to the challenge, demanding greater youth representation in world affairs and better human rights conditions for all.

 

 

About United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA)

Tasked with the mission of delivering “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person’s potential is fulfilled,” UNFPA is a UN organization whose efforts are guided by two main frameworks, 1) the Program of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and 2) the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which are eight targets to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.

With the date for achieving these goals fast approaching, UNFPA and its partners, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), have been working together to ramp up their efforts. UNFPA and UNECE have been involved in the Beyond 2014 Review, an effort to engage world leaders from governments and civil society in drafting a new global commitment to create a more equal and more sustainable world.

The ICPD Operational Review has been taking place as part of the Beyond 2014 Review, and UNFPA and UNECE have been facilitating this process. Within this process, UNFPA and UNECE organized three thematic meetings on the following topics:

  1. “Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development”,
  2. “Reducing Inequities, Fostering Social Inclusion” and
  3. “Life Course, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Families”.

As a culminating event, the agencies planned for a two-day Regional Conference entitled “Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century,” which was just held in Geneva (1-2 July), gathering leaders from all over the EECARO region (Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel).

Young people are at the core of the UNFPA’s mandate, offering an essential voice to help shape the future development agenda. Therefore, young people have participated in the operational review at the country level and in all the thematic meetings mentioned above. In order to continue their involvement, UNFPA EECARO has organized the Regional Youth Forum in Istanbul (30-31 May) and in which I participated, representing Advocates for Youth and the US at large.

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California’s teen pregnancy rate has dropped nearly 60 percent as a result of expanded sex education programs, according to a report released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on Wednesday.

The report –- which was based on data collected until 2011 — revealed that the California teen pregnancy rate reached a 20-year low that year. While in 1991, there were 70.9 births for every 1,000 teens aged 15-19, in 2011 this number decreased to 28 births per 1,000 teens.

Teen pregnancy rates fell across all ethnic groups, according to the report. The Hispanic teen birth rate dropped from 73.6 in 2001 to 42.7 in 2011 –- although Hispanics continue to be the group with the highest teen birth rate. Teen pregnancy rates for African-Americans, Whites and Asian-Americans also decreased significantly.

Several factors contributed to the falling pregnancy rates, the department said in a press release. One factor was the state’s school sex education program, which law requires to be comprehensive and medically accurate. The report also credits community-based education programs that provide sexual health information to teens and their parents.

“We do believe that our programs are behind these numbers,” Karen Ramstrom, the chief of the program standards branch at the California Department of Public Health’s maternal child and adolescent health division, told the Los Angeles Times.

“California’s innovative strategies and community partnerships aimed at lowering teen pregnancy are helping young women and men make responsible choices,” Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the CDPH, said in a press release. “We must not be complacent; we must continue to promote teen pregnancy prevention programs and strategies in all communities.”

As Think Progress noted, California’s teen birth rate decreases are part of a national trend. The national teen birth rate dropped nearly 50 percent between 1991 and 2011, NBC’s Today Health reported.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/19/california-teen-pregnancy-rates-drop_n_3625090.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

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All too often our stories are told for us. Last week, I had the honor of presenting to members of congress, their staff and other people in the reproductive health and rights field during a congressional briefing with Black Women’s Health Imperative. I took this opportunity to use my voice as an African American young person to tell anyone listening that we Millennials are not only invested in creating change but we are committed to making sure our generation can lead healthy lives. Read what I had to say! 

As a member of Advocates for Youth’s Young Women of Color Leadership Council, I have been organizing and advocating around the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people for the last 5 years. I am dedicated to this work not only because I believe that young people like me deserve the right to lead healthy, self-determined lives, but also because I know first-hand what it is like to navigate this world without access to accurate and honest education and services.

At 23 I can say that I never received any type of formal sexual education from any educational institution I attended. The first time I was tested for HIV happened completely by accident. One day during my junior year in high school I wandered into a mobile testing unit in hopes of receiving a free metrocard. That would be the first day I would find out about HIV and other STIs. The woman conducting my test asked me if I was nervous and I proceeded to tell her no and then asked her would I have a reason to be. She began to explain sexually transmitted infections and diseases to me. Thus giving my first “sex education class” in the back of a mobile testing unit. Although my results that day revealed that I was not HIV positive, I remember feeling like someone had robbed me. I felt cheated. Lied to. I could not fathom at that time how learning about preventing diseases that could potentially make you sick and claim your life were not as important as math and science. The even more depressing part is that even when I went to college many of my peers were still uneducated about their sexual health, and how prevent HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancies. I began wondering whether we all needed to wander aimlessly into a mobile testing truck to learn about saving our lives.

As leader of a campus organization that provided sexual health information specifically geared toward Black and Latino students at Syracuse, it became more and more clear to me that I was not the only person who had been robbed. Some of our campus events attracted over 200 young people interested in learning about what they could do to lead sexually healthy lives. Many of these young people expressed that they felt that this is something that should be taught in school, by the administration. They were not alone.

Not only do African American Millennials believe that comprehensive sexuality education should be available to young people in high school, overwhelming majority, over 90% believe that it should include information about preventing HIV/AIDS and other STDS, unplanned pregnancy prevention, and abstinence. Over 80% also believe that comprehensive sex education programs in high school should cover information about pregnancy options including abortion.

Many of the young people I worked with in college constantly spoke about the barriers, many financial, to accessing contraception and abortion services. Research shows that over 90% of African American Millennials believe that contraception needs to be available and affordable to help young people stay healthy. 75% of African American Millennials believe that regardless of how they feel personally, abortion should remain legal and that women should be able to get safe abortions.

There is still much to be done to ensure that young people like myself have access to medically accurate and culturally competent information regarding their sexual health, and we young people across the country are working diligently and organizing to make it happen.. While the media and other people are committed to portraying my generation as apathetic and removed from this type of work, I can insure you that those statements are indeed false. In fact, according to research conducted by the Reproductive Justice Communications Group and Advocates for Youth, over 7 in 10 of African American millennials say they are interested in improving young people’s access to sexual health services such as contraception and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. 7 in 10 expressed interest in getting personally involved in promoting honest and accurate sex education programs in their communities. Another 6 in 10 are personally interested in making sure that safe abortion is available and accessible in their community. We African American Millennials are interested and committed to helping our friends, our families and our communities access services and information to live healthy, autonomous lives.

Here’s video of my remarks at the briefing!

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Don’t talk to me about teenage pregnancy prevention unless you intend on listening.

I can not tell you how often I have been asked in interviews or casual conversation if I support teenage pregnancy prevention. Somehow to some people that fact that I advocate for respect and a fair chance at creating the future I and so many other teenage parents want or wanted translates to I do not agree with teenage pregnancy prevention. I do.
The next question is usually what do you think would have worked on you or needs to happen to reduce the rate of teenage pregnany.
My answers are and will always be-but not limited to:
  • Parents need to talk to their children about sex and relationships early.
  • Schools need to teach comprehensive sex Ed.
  • When asked a question about sex or relationships by a youth answer them and more importantly answer honestly.
  • Stop pretending like kids and teens aren’t thinking or talking about sex.
In a nutshell the response is: those answers are too taboo. What about ads? You know ads like nyc hra’s recent ones or ones a like? Aren’t those good?
No. 
Well surely they would’ve worked on you if say them.
 I did and they didn’t. 
End of conversation or follow up with more questions.
People! Stop thinking a PSA is going to be the end all be all of teenage pregnancy and more importantly stop asking me questions you don’t like the answers to.
Stop asking youth and young adults what they think if you won’t listen.
Because I’m tired of speaking and having no one listen

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Don’t talk to me about teenage pregnancy prevention unless you intend on listening.

I can not tell you how often I have been asked in interviews or casual conversation if I support teenage pregnancy prevention. Somehow to some people that fact that I advocate for respect and a fair chance at creating the future I and so many other teenage parents want or wanted translates to I do not agree with teenage pregnancy prevention. I do.
The next question is usually what do you think would have worked on you or needs to happen to reduce the rate of teenage pregnany.
My answers are and will always be-but not limited to:
  • Parents need to talk to their children about sex and relationships early.
  • Schools need to teach comprehensive sex Ed.
  • When asked a question about sex or relationships by a youth answer them and more importantly answer honestly.
  • Stop pretending like kids and teens aren’t thinking or talking about sex.
In a nutshell the response is: those answers are too taboo. What about ads? You know ads like nyc hra’s recent ones or ones a like? Aren’t those good?
No. 
Well surely they would’ve worked on you if say them.
 I didn’t and they didn’t. 
End of conversation or follow up with more questions.
People!  stop thinking a PSA is going to be the end all be all of teenage pregnancy and more importantly stop asking me questions you don’t like the answers to.
Stop asking youth and young adults what they think if you won’t listen. Because I’m tired of speaking and having no one listen

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Texas Lawmaker Says Sex Ed Makes Teens ‘Hot and Bothered’ Leads to Sex and Babies

The Texas house recently passed an extreme bill that could force most of the state’s abortion clinics to close. Many of the debates over the bill were heated, but one of the more interesting ones started last Tuesday night after a house committee vote was over and three members of the committee had a conversation that was audio-taped by a reporter for theHouston Chronicle. In that conversation, Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) pointed out to two of her Republican colleagues, Reps. Steve Toth (The Woodlands) and Bill Zedler (Arlington), that sex education that includes information about contraception can help prevent unintended pregnancies, and therefore can reduce the number of abortions that are performed. Toth was quick to disagree about the merits of sex education.

READ MORE HERE.

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When I mention the term taboo I DO mean the game in which you guess the word someone on your team is explaining. I mean taboo as in  is a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake, under threat of supernatural punishment as explained by Wikipedia(you know you refer to that site).  Parents today are just not taking the initiative to  teach their kids or even answer questions.Everything starts at  home.  The schools does not enforce sexual education like they should hence why advocates does the work they do.  I hearing all kinds of things that are just plain crazy and I have to correct the young people and send to different resource. If different organizations are providing the resources then parents should back the kids it’s only right.  I want education for all dispite the topic. If only I can educate the world.Sex shouldn’t be taboo instead it’s should be talked about.  I am positive parents don’t want students learning from the wrong person.

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From Huffington Post:

The Texas anti-abortion bill, which threatened to close nearly all of the abortion clinics in the state and prompted an 11-hour filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis (D), is dead, The Austin American-Statesman reported.

Lawmakers had to vote on Senate Bill 5 before the special session’s end at 12 a.m. local time. However, more than 400 protesters halted the proceedings 15 minutes before the roll call could be completed with what they called “a people’s filibuster,”The Associated Press reported.

The crowd of demonstrators in the capitol cried “Shame! Shame!” when Davis’ filibuster was halted by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who ruled that her discussion of mandatory ultrasound testing was off-topic. Then the protesters roared after state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

Their cries continued to echo inside the chamber — and over a livestream watched by thousands around the world — until after the midnight deadline passed.

Although some Republican lawmakers later claimed the bill had passed in time, Democrats denied that the vote was completed before the clock ran out on the session.

A time stamp showing the vote completed after midnight was the deciding factor. “This will not become law,” Sen. John Whitmire (D), told The Austin American-Statesman.

In response, the crowd of protesters gathered in the capitol cheered and began singing “The Eyes Of Texas,” the alma mater of the University of Texas at Austin.

According to The Texas Tribune, Dewhurst was less than pleased by the evening’s turn of events. After ruling that the time on SB 5 had expired, he told reporters that “an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics” had derailed legislation that was designed to protect women and babies.

The legislation would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, regulated first-trimester abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical centers and restricted access to medication abortions. Had it passed, nearly all of the clinics in the state would have been shuttered.

Dewhurst also hinted that Gov. Rick Perry may call another special session to get the bill passed, saying: “It’s over. It’s been fun. But see you soon.”

Despite a long day of filibustering, Davis was upbeat when she greeted the crowd of supporters, who applauded the senator and chanted her name.

“Today was democracy in action,” Davis said. “You all are the voices we were speaking for from the floor.”

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For decades, most Crisis Pregnancy Centers have been lying to women, evading questions, and disguising their institutions as health care facilities. They receive federal funding to shame women into believing lies- “abortion causes breast cancer”, “it will make you infertile”, “condoms do not protect against STIs”, etc. They do not have a doctor at these facilities, and are not under HIPAA regulations of non-disclosure of medical records. They are against all contraception forms. They will harass a woman until she is in tears, and then send her on her way with a Christian religious token, and a promise from her that she will keep her child, they will only provide “help” if she agrees to go to Bible Study. This is not health care. Title X funding should be revoked.

LINK: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/cut-funding-crisis-pregnancy-centers/x44cgD3v

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“CPCs have a long history of engaging in deceptive advertising. For example, some CPCs intentionally choose their name to mislead women into believing that they offer a wide range of services, including family planning and abortion care. The Family Research Council investigated what names would be most likely to appeal to women, particularly pro-choice women, in a 1998 report. Women’s Resource Center, which gives the impression of a full range of services, was deemed to have the most strategic value in reaching women “at risk for abortion.” The report also showed that women faced with an unplanned pregnancy were most likely to look in the Yellow Pages under the words “Pregnancy,” “Medical,” “Women’s Centers” and “Clinics.” Accordingly, CPCs often are advertised under these categories, as well as “Abortion Alternatives,” and “Women’s Organizations.” CPCs also advertise through posters, signs, and billboards that contain messages like, “Free Pregnancy Test,” or “Pregnant? Scared? We Can Help! Call 1-800 #.” Women report, however, that when they call these numbers the CPC representatives evade questions about whether they provide abortions, and urge the women to make an appointment to meet with a ‘counselor’ to talk in person.”

Crisis Pregnancy Centers: An Affront to Choice

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About 15 years ago in the beautiful beachy paradise of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Rick and Maria gave birth to a precious girl named Tatianna. Tatianna was the belle of the ball with extremely good looks everyone commented her on a daily basis. When Tatianna entered middle school her body developed very quickly. Some would compare her to a woman who was about 25 years old. Even though her parents gave her the whole speech no sex before marriage that made the boys want her even more. Everyday in school as she walked the hallways you could hear all the hormonal teenage boys belting out very vulgar remarks to her as she walked on by. But pretty soon she met what would become her first love. The guy I’m talking about is Rick Knight. Rick Knight wasn’t your typical jock he was smart and chivalrous to the ladies. Some would say he was the perfect gentlemen. As time went on Rick and Tatianna began dating and the relationship grew very fast. Soon they decided  it was time to have sex and.,…………………………. Now we know the rest of this story can go a numerous of ways its up to us to complete this. With Comprehensive Sexual education the possibilities are endless stay tuned. LOVE, LIVE, LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Categories: Sex Education
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If you haven’t watched any videos by the rib-crackingly funny YouTube blogger Hart, you’re in for a treat. Hart is the “Lesbian lover from another mother, with boobs and a vagina. It’s all necessary.” Prepare thineself for the hilarity.

I came across this video entitled “Watermelon…” in which Hart explains why one’s love for women does not mean that one has to dress in the stereotyped fashion of feminity.

Do yourself a favor and follow Hart on…

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/hartgotbeats
TUMBLR: http://ihartbeat.tumblr.com
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/ihartbeat

Also, check out Hart’s music video about “Lesbian Issues

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The Candies foundation has done a great job at repackaging anti-teenage pregnancy messages in a way that youth and celebrities alike pay attention to. However, it has greatly failed at addressing or highlighting the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy and how to avoid an unintended  pregnancy.

Factors like poverty, which has been found to lead to teenage pregnancy and defy the notion that teenage pregnancy leads to poverty. Lack of comprehensive sex education which has been found to delay the on-set of sexual intercourse, lack of access to preventative services like birth control and condoms.

 

Some argue the ads aren’t bad and work. Let me take this chance to tell you I saw these ads and many like them BEFORE becoming pregnant at 15. Didn’t work for me and they don’t for the other 750,000 teens that become pregnant each year.

 

If more anti-teenage pregnancy organizations addressed and amplified the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy their messaging would be less offensive to teenage families and more effective in reducing teenage pregnancy and STD/STI infections in youth.

It’s important to realize that people can and are offensive without intending to or realizing they are but this is no reason to continue with offensive messaging.

 

Public service announcements and public and private campaigns which paint portraits of a desolate life for teenage families not only perpetuate stereotypes born out of ignorance, they can also lead to discouraging teenage families from seeking help and services that may be available to them while simultaneously discourage adults from helping teenage families for fear of being viewed as “encouraging teenage pregnancy.”

 

As a teen mom I call on all anti-teenage pregnany firms and organizations to use their platforms and budgets to really combat unintended pregnancy by advocating for easier and wider access to contraceptives, comprehensive sex education, and teenage parent support not disrespectful, biased, fear driven campaigns.

 

It’s time to stop ignoring the fact that social problems such as poverty, educational disparities and a lack of access to sexual health services and information  play a huge role in unintended teenage pregnancy and the high rates of STI/STD infections in youth.

 

Learn more about this campaign and how you can support young parents   http://strongfamiliesmovement.org/young-parents

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“Together we can end HIV stigma, but we need to be able to TALK ABOUT IT. Share this graphic to continue the conversation and encourage your network of friends to speak up!”

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In an attempt to lower teen pregnancy rates, Chicago has implemented a thought provoking ad campaign. All over the city people are encountering billboards picturing pregnant young men.  While the images are powerful, I am uneasy about their message and effectiveness.

As seen above, the uniting message of these ads is, “Unexpected? Most teen pregnancies are. Avoid unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Use condoms. Or wait.” While I applaud the Chicago Department of Health for not  promoting abstinence and safe sex practices, by imploring “use condoms” instead of “use protection” the message is a bit limited. Perhaps this campaign is solely targeted at males, in which condoms are the most effective form of protection. I know ads must cleverly summarize their message into a line or two, but this subject deserves a bit more expanding. Where’s the mention of how you must use condoms properly each time for them to work? Even just adding “every time” after “use condoms” would have gone a long way and perhaps subliminally started to engrain the consistency condom use requires. The ads lists the website www.beyoubehealthy.org which also only provides basic information on condoms, and no mention of other forms of birth control and sti-protection. A thorough, responsible education campaign should offer knowledge on all options.

I have always been a believer of the tenet that “scare tactics” do not work. Yes, they often provoke meaningful conversations, but their effectiveness has failed to be proven. Supporters claim similar ads resulted in a 10% drop in teen pregnancy in Milwaukee, however, it is difficult to isolate causality. I would love to see a campaign that sparks conversations about how to have safer sex without shaming teens in the process.

The Milwaukee campaign had nearly identical ads. I’m sure they were well-intentioned, but attached quite a bit of stigma to teen pregnancy in order to get their message across. Below, one of the ads claims that teen pregnancy is “disturbing”.

Attaching such charged words to teen pregnancy gives it a negative connotation, further shaming young parents or those debating what to do with their current pregnancy.  In addition, while I acknowledge this trend is decreasing, some young adults still do choose to have children and we should not push those people to the fringes of society.

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Generational amnesia is a disease many adults suffer from today. Often times older generations seem to negate the fact that they themselves were ever teenagers or young adults.

Signs of generational amnesia become very apparent when youth behave like youth and are curious about relationships, sexuality, drugs, and sex.
Symptoms of generational amnesia include statements like:
  • When I was young we listened to our parents and didn’t do___.
  • When I was young we knew better than to disobey our parents.
  • When I was young we knew better than to have sex outside of marriage.
  • When I was young I knew about sex, you can’t possible tell me you need someone to teach you about sex.
  • When I was young we knew if we even thought about disobeying our elders we would have hell to face.
  • When I was young no body wondered if they were gay or not.
  • Note that “When I was young” can be replaced with “My generation” and still be signs of generational amnesia.
Generational amnesia is very harmful,  it can lead to:
  • youth feeling uncomfortable when it comes to speaking to adults about sex, relationships, drugs, and sexuality.
  • Older generations isolating themselves from a youth’s reality and challenges of growing up.
  • Older generations feeling youth, “need to just figure it out on their own.”
  • Older generations creating ads and public service announcements that do not reach youth because they are created by people who do not understand youth.
The cure for generational amnesia is still unknown however, if you know someone who suffers from generational amnesia gently urge them to remember their youth in an honest way.
If their parents are still living ask their parents to help their child accurately recount their teenage and young adult years.
Please note that there are several types of generational amnesia including but not limited to: privileged amnesia, the arts are a waste of time amnesia, body image amnesia and several more.
As a youth it is important to understand generational amnesia and work on not developing it as you grow older.

 

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In an interview with the Guardian on June 2nd, actor Michael Douglas revealed that his throat cancer was caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). The stage four cancer was originally deemed fatal when Douglas was diagnosed in August 2010. While he has been cancer free for two years, his outcome could have been much worse if he had not seen a doctor in Montreal who correctly diagnosed him. Before learning HPV had caused the cancer, he had seen many specialists who failed to notice the large tumor on his tongue and link it to HPV.

Approximately 25-35% of oral cancers are HPV-related, yet many of Douglas’s doctors and various media outlets assumed that the cancer was caused by Douglas’s tobacco and alcohol use. Substance use is often correlated with cancers of the throat, however, oral sex is often not connected in our conversations. Our culture tends to stigmatize those experiencing STIs and downplay the frequency of occurrence. Often this stigma drives people away from seeking the treatment they require. While the Guardian article is fairly objective, it does subtlety further this norm through its diction. By declaring Douglas’s admittance as “surprisingly frank”, the article acknowledges the silence regarding this subject, while simultaneously assigning oral sex and its possible health risks as a subject that is unnatural to be discussed.

In addition, this article and similar conversations are worrisome because they sensationalize the act of oral sex, rather than focus on the health implications of such cases. Instead, conversations should center on how to adapt our health institutions and processes to better diagnose and treat HPV-related cancer cases. The article quotes a recent study in which 57% of 1,316 patients with oral cancer tested positive for HPV-16. Over 100 variants of HPV exist and many are symptomless, but HPV-16 has been linked to a type of oral cancer. This increase in HPV-related oral cancer cases can be attributed to various factors such as the rise of oral sex and fluctuations in safe sex practices. Whatever the cause, health professionals must adapt to the changing causations and be open to discussing their patients’ sexual history, so that the diagnostic period can happen as quickly and as accurately as possible. Luckily for Douglas, oropharyngeal cancer is highly curable even in the latest stages of intervention. If dialogue about our sexual practices and history becomes more embedded in our culture, then the linkage between certain health problems and sexuality will not be an afterthought, leading to earlier intervention.

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On Wednesday, the highest court in El Salvador denied an abortion to a woman with a pregnancy that is so high-risk that doctors say it could kill her. Beatriz, 22, is carrying a 26-week fetus with anencephaly, a birth defect that means part of the brain and skull are missing and that the baby will almost certainly die at birth. Beatriz’s doctors say the abortion is necessary for Beatriz’s health and perhaps to save her life. But by a vote of 4–1, the Salvadoran judges ruled that in light of the country’s absolute ban on abortion, “the rights of the mother cannot be privileged over those” of the fetus.

El Salvador’s complete ban on abortions has become relatively rare worldwide, as the first map below shows. Keep scrolling and you will see enormous variation in how countries (and states in the U.S.) regulate abortion and birth control. Our main sources of data for these maps are the United Nations, the Guttmacher Institute, the Population Reference Bureauthe National Conference of State Legislatures, and Harvard University’s Center for Population and Development Studies.

The maps reflect continuing change: Uruguay recently legalized first-trimester abortions, and courts in Columbia, Brazil, and Argentina have begun to allow them in certain cases. Meanwhile in the United States, Republican-led statehouses have been tightening restrictions since the 2010 election. It’s the largest wave of legislation in the decades since Roe v. Wade.

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Whenever abortion is the topic of a conversation, especially when spoken of as a choice that someone wants to make for whatever reason that’s personally valid to them, there is always someone who pops up and says, “Adoption is an option too!”  You know, as if that thought never occurred to anyone ever or it’s some kind of a magical word to rid one of an unwanted pregnancy.  I witness it all the time on my STFU Pro-Lifers blog through the large amount of messages I receive on a daily basis, but yesterday a self-proclaimed pro-choicer shared that familiar, derailing insight you hear from anti-choicers.  Granted, she had her own personal experiences with abortion and adoption.  I made sure that she knew how appreciative and grateful I was to her for sharing those experiences with me.  But it was something she said that really bugged me.  There were a few sentences subtly expressing privilege and ignorance.

“It isn’t that hard to find someone to adopt a baby…”

She also mentioned the baby she gave up for adoption was blonde haired and blue eyed.  It’s another discussion that makes it clear how important it is to be intersectional.  She was speaking solely as a white woman in her experiences with adoption.  She somehow gained an adoption lawyer at no personal cost to her.  Adoptive parents quickly lined up for this white blue eyed baby.  And the parents the girl chose to adopt her baby paid for her one year of school tuition.  She was happy with her decision, and that’s great.  I’m happy for her.  Anyone would be.

But for the part about how “easy” it is to get someone to adopt a baby… well, I quickly and politely corrected her.  She thanked me and then told me that she loves my blog.  The matter was settled.  It still bugs me though, and it’s not so much the person but the original line of thinking shared by so many people.  You hear things like that all the time.  Oh, you’re pregnant and don’t want to be?  But there are tons of people out there who can’t have children!  You should consider adoption!

I guess no one told them that less than 2% of our entire population actually adopts, and when they do adopt, the less than 2% tend to favor the able-bodied, young, emotionally sound, sibling-less, white baby. [source]  And really?  Agreeing to the idea of an adoption won’t make an unwanted pregnancy go poof!  There are still nine, agonizing months of a condition that was never consented to.  I mean, most pregnancies are already really difficult for those who do it willingly.  There are tons of complications that arise during those three, brave trimesters.  I can’t even begin to imagine how traumatic it is for those who desperately don’t want to be pregnant but were forced to remain so.

Don’t want to raise a child?  Fine!  Adoption is definitely an alternative to parenthood.  Just keep in mind that abortion is an alternative to a pregnancy.  That’s how it works.  Don’t talk to me about how there are tons of people in the world who can’t have children.  No one should be forced into being a brood mare for someone else.  No one owes their body to anyone else.

As pro-choicers, it’s inherent in our very name that we celebrate choice whether it be parenthood, adoption, or abortion.  We keep in mind that our lives are individual, and the same can be said about our choices.

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lets-talk-about-sex

SEX .SEX. SEX ???

Sex is a basic human need — this is what we study in our school syllabus. Unlike food, water, clothing and shelter, sex is also needed in one’s life and we should know about it from an early age. However, the irony is that the important thing which we all should know is considered a taboo. So what actually is taboo? If knowing about sex is bad, then why has nature given us that? Why did our parents give birth to us? Indulging and talking about sex privately is considered good, but when it is taught or discussed openly then it is considered a taboo. Why? The answers should be given by those who consider it a taboo perhaps.

In the IT world and let’s say in this congested world, we all are linked with sexual desires. We want to know about it. These days there is a fashion of posting status on Facebook. So, it can be utilised in sharing pictures and articles regarding sex. We can inform them or form a group on Facebook to talk about basic things about sex, its problems, and consequences of having sex at a young age and so on. Technology is really a boon for today’s generation. If used for good and positive cause, then life can be changed into a positive one. 

Children and adolescents are more curious about the sex, which may lead them to practice and feel it anyhow. This may cause teenage pregnancy, rape cases, transmission of HIV/AIDS and STDs. Internet or books will be a better way to discover and understand it. Discussions amongst peers may also be helpful but there might be misguidance too. So the best way is, parents conversing with their children about the topic. Answering your child’s questions about sexuality instead of ignoring it will help them a lot. It’s your responsibility to introduce them to the topic, share your feelings, listen to your child and explain to them your family values. Make your children aware of the negative consequences of unsafe sex. This will help youngsters to express their sexual feelings in a responsible manner .

Sex-related queries are more for the youngster and teenagers. Good guidance can be one of the best ways to help the people of any generation from getting involved in bad sexual activities. S/he hesitates to talk about the sex in the family. So, guidance can be sought by posting or sending queries and problems to sex experts. If one does not get good guidance, s/he can indulge in bad activities. Popular FM and TV stations should also run the programs related to sex education. It will help youngsters and others who are shy to ask questions related to sex.

Categories: Sex Education
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The Seven Types Of Sexuality

 Heterosexuality-  Is the sexual attraction between members of the opposite sexes  such as man attracts to woman and woman attracts to man sexually.

Homosexuality- is the sexual attraction between members of the same sexes such as man to man and woman to woman.sexually.

Bisexuality- Is the sexual attraction to both the opposite and same sexes such as man to man and man to woman, woman to woman and woman to man.

Asexuality- Is also known as nonsexuality which is the lack of sexual attraction and sexual interest towards others.

Polysexuality-  Is the sexual attraction to more than one gender but do not wish to be known as bisexual as it implies that their are only two binary sexes, do not confuse this with pansexuality (Pan meaning All) and (Poly meaning many).

Pansexuality- Is the sexual attraction towards people regardless of gender also known as omnisexuality, some pansexuals refer to themselves as gender blind as to them gender is  insignificant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others.

Transexualism - Is when a person identifies themselves with a physical sex that is different to their own biological one, A medical diagnosis can be made if a person experiences discomfort as a result of a desire to be a member of the opposite sex. for example a person may be born male, and is uncomfortable with their gender as a male  and changes to a female, or a female may change to a male. It is a long process that they will go through and an expensive one too.

For your information.

Taken from http://calpol25.hubpages.com/hub/Types-Sexuality-In-Humans

<3 kevz

Categories: Sex Education
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There are a lot of forces out there trying to misinform the public, especially the youth, when it comes to reproductive/sexual health and rights.  One of the biggest groups out there is called Live Action.  When you look up Live Action on Google, they’re listed as a non-profit pro-life organization.  According to them, they are a “youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion.”  They claim to do undercover investigation in clinics to prove and document “illegal, inhuman, and gruesome” practices and share it on social media sites.  To this organization, abortion is:

An enterprise built on destroying pre-born children for money leaves few rules unbroken.  But the abortion industry’s corruption goes deeper than most people would think: from threatening women’s lives with dangerously bad medical advice, to protecting child sex-trafficking rings, to covering up statutory rape, to actions even more heinous.  Live Action’s undercover exposés document these many abuses, so the whole world can see the horrors going on right in our backyards – and paid for with our tax money.

The above statements were taken right off of the home page of their website.  Now despite their best efforts to intentionally misinform the public about abortion and Planned Parenthood services, people have caught on.  One of the many people to call out Live Action’s lies is a YouTube vlogger named Cristina Rad who is popular on the Internet for her commentary on her atheism, gender politics, and casual ideas of social justice.  The Live Action video she tackled and is most popular for is called We are the Youth.  You can watch her video response here.  I would definitely recommend ignoring the Live Action video and go straight to Cristina’s response, especially since Cristina actually cites some statistics in her description.

It’s beyond a YouTube vlog debunking Live Action videos though.  Media Matters, “a research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the Media,” lists hoax after hoax created by Live Action.  Even Slate, a major online magazine on politics and culture, has recently come out with a video that reveals how Live Action’s deceptive editing is intentionally done to frame doctors and clinic staff.  The video that Slate chose to analyze has unfortunately already been promoted and aired on TV news (if you really count Fox News as news at all–countries with laws against lying on the news certainly don’t) and commentary programs after the Kermit Gosnell incident.  But Slate’s video is worth the view, because they go through all the raw footage that Live Action leaves out and reveals what Live Action didn’t want the average viewer to see.

Seriously!  Click the link below to watch!

http://www.slate.com/articles/video/slate_v/2013/05/abortion_clinic_video_exposing_fake_selectively_edited_hidden_camera_footage.html

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Most people have trouble talking to their partner about sex and about past sexual stories to know more of the safe side of their own sex life. So here are a few tips to break the ice with your partner:

1)

You can take a long walk together, and let the conversation go where it may.

2)

Take a car ride together and listen to music. The lyrics can spur great conversations.

3)

Try working out together and initiate conversation while you hit the treadmills.

These are all great methods to get the conversation going so that you and your partner can learn more about each other’s sex life and also how safe and knowledgeable you both are. It is important to have this talk so you both can be on the same page with Safe Sex!

 

 

Categories: Sex Education
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WD

“To  free the people still under colonial  rule, let us  accept to die a little or even completely so that the  African Union doesn’t become mere words”.  These are the words of Ahmed Ben Bella one of those African leaders present in Addis Ababa on the 25th of May 1963 to form what is today known as the African Union.
Why do I quote Ahmed Ben Bella? and why am I talking about the African Union?, it’s exactly 50 years today that this historic event took place and I happen to be in the very historic town of Addis where African heads of states and other major decision makers from around the African continent have also gathered to celebrate this event.

50years is worth  celebrating no doubt, but what  do Africans have to celebrate the African Union for ? Economic growth ?,political independence ? social progress ?,or  technological advancement ? An answer to this will depend on which side of the board one finds his/herself. There is no doubt that strides have been made  in some of the mentioned above areas, but  if there one area in which the African Union has woefully failed is in the area of the empowerment of  girls, women, and youths.

 Having a woman at the  helm of the African Union-Nkosazana Nzuma, and another -Helene Johnson Sirleaf at the helm of one of its nations ;Liberia is the arguement many will advance to contradict my above assertion, but they are just two in  millions who are languising in poverty,dieing while giving birth,reduced to sexual slaves, and considered in many cultures  as good only for child bearing. Statistics on these issues in Africa abound and I will not like to come back to them here. Same arguement will be advanced as concerns the plight of African youths.But how many of them occupy posts of responsibility in the communities from which they hail or live in ? How many of them have been given the opportunity by policy makers to participate in the formulation and implementation of policies ;even on issues that affect them the most ? A very tiny proportion, is the answer I will give you.

In a write-up to mark this day titled : The Africa We Want to See,the current chairperson of the African Union commission, Nkosazana Nzuma amongst other things talks of this being an opportunity to take stock of Africa today,its assets, capabilities,opportunities , and challenges. She is definitely right and inorder  for the African Union not to become mere words as feared by Ahmed Ben Bella, Africa through the African Union and its people must deliver for its main assets which is its people- especially girls, women , and youths. The time is for African girls, women, and youths is now ! I am utterly convinced that the African delegates and other stakeholders at the 3rd Global Women Deliver conference will make cristal clear and that concrete actions will be taken  to ensure that the plight of the African girl,woman , and youth takes  central stage in the various policy formulation and implementation processes accross our beloveth continent ;Africa.