I was at my LGBTU (for unsure) youth group and we ended up having a discussion about the low standards for sex education, we talked about how many young women become pregnant in their early teens because nobody is willing to tell them how to use contraceptives, about the lack of willingness to discuss feelings about relationships, about the anti LGBTQ bias that comes out in the just a biology lesson attitude (which I actually think makes some assumptions about what science is because stuff like the physiology of orgasm, the erogenous nerve endings in our genitals and the similarity of male and female genitalia, those things are scientific facts, they are part of our understanding of biology even if they aren't strictly to do with reproduction per se, biology is the study of life and therefore absolutely is to do with our bodies) and just in general lack of information about trans gender identity and bi/homosexuality, someone who is 13 and very brave is out at school and we talked about that and everyone said well done (I was careful to point out that I do not think less of those who do not feel safe coming out at any given time).
We also discussed the faith that if you don't tell children and teenagers that sex exists they won't want to have it, I brought up the taboo on talking about masturbation, the way that consent is treated as "I'm ok with doing this" as opposed to "I feel full of desire and happiness and I really want to do this with this person" and the attempts to force religion on legal minors through the granting of exemptions to religious schools on teaching without condemnation about homosexuality and contraception, I unfortunately didn't manage to bring up the silence surrounding abortion (one in four women have had one and they're the right of all pregnant individuals yet there's very little attempt to challenge misogynistic attitudes surrounding them) and the way religion gets to affect teaching about that too, but it was still a good discussion, someone even came up to me in the bar afterwards and said so.
The only downside was somebody saying they speak from personal experience that feelings are bad and they eat you up and it's best to bottle them up (they also said in response to the your body's going to want to have sex comment that they're going to become celibate which *of course* wasn't adamantly ignoring that many individuals don't want to do that and that sexuality and the desire for sexual pleasure are present in most individuals from puberty[/sarcasm], I actually wish that I'd said something about the your body wants sex comment because I reckon my body's just as happy with the five knuckle shuffle, but still, and this is also someone who thinks masturbation is morally wrong so frankly I just try and avoid them), my response to the personal experience comment was to ask them if they really think they're the only person ever to have feelings, someone challenged them on it though.
Anyway the point is I'm glad it got discussed, I'm going to try and do some volunteer work with this group because I do want to get involved in sexuality education, it's so very, very important (as everyone here well knows). I would also have liked to bring up the need for more discussion of gender roles and stereotypes and the beauty myth and it's racist, classist implications, because it's both sexuality and broader Personal Social Health Education that needs improvement... hey, I managed to say the word masturbation in front of about ten people without dropping to an inaudible level, anyways, I really just wanted to share the awesome.
-------------------- Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see. Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008
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Sounds like a fantastic discussion, Jill! And kudos to you for actively participating in it.
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 67933 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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