Prime Time debate on sex education in Ireland, Tuesday 15th April 2014.

Re(al)-Productive Health will be in the audience for this week’s Prime Time special on sex education in Irish schools.

Re(al)-Productive Health feel that formal sex education in schools is vital to provide for a generation of young people who feel secure in their sexuality, secure as individuals and secure in terms of their reproductive and sexual health. Cowardice and misinformation surrounding the issue of contraception in our schools serves only to both reinforce and ignore without challenge the  negative stereotypes, myths and religious zeal regarding sexual and reproductive health.

The young person who chooses to carry condoms in their purse should never feel shame, judgement or fear. They should have the opportunity to be fully informed about their physical, sexual and emotional health and their human right of bodily autonomy. Young people should have the space to receive information on and to discuss issues surrounding the gender spectrum, trans* issues and the freedom to choose how we live our lives, liberated from a detrimental set of gendered roles and expectations.

Young people should have the confidence and accurate information to dispel common myths surrounding contraception and sexual health, for example that taking the ‘morning-after-pill’ will not affect a woman’s future fertility, that the IUD is a safe option for her should she choose it, that actions surrounding our bodies require our choice, that the decision to have sex should be ours and ours alone; that we are not the embodiment of discriminatory and narrow stereotypes -but a a young person who should be allowed to make our own decisions.

Necessary to such empowerment is the opportunity to be informed; to know what contraception exists, what it is, and how to access it. Such information must be available to all young people, on an equal basis. School, as one of the primary means of educating our young people is the ideal place for this. Formal sexual education is, first and foremost, a health care service. A safe space, where accurate, non-judgemental and accessible information about our bodies and our choices must be made paramount and where religious moral, sexual stereotypes, homophobia, misogyny and sexism have absolutely no place. 

Re(al)-Productive Health (14/04/2014).

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