Our struggles with teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections must be fought head on with openness and honesty concerning sexuality. Teens deserve unbiased, medically accurate information about their bodies and about sex so that we may take charge of our sexuality and make healthy decisions.
I became inspired to get involved in activism and peer education around sexual health when I saw the consequences of abstinence only programs in my middle school. Seeing my peers become pregnant or diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection without knowing how or why was a huge eye opener for me and encouraged me to become involved with the local Planned Parenthood. Unintended pregnancy, the spread of sexually transmitted infections, and ignorance about sexual health are huge problems that we can and must fix with progressive advocacy and comprehensive education.
Now, as a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, I continue to see the consequences of abstinence only sex education in Texas public schools. Young adults who never learned about their bodies, sexual health, or prevention in middle school and high school are still clueless in college. Our struggles with teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections must be fought head on with openness and honesty concerning sexuality. Teens deserve unbiased, medically accurate information about their bodies and about sex so that we may take charge of our sexuality and make healthy decisions.
This is my third year serving on the Youth Leadership Council with Advocates for Youth and the Texas Freedom Network to affect change in the Texas Legislature, in Texas schools, and in Texas youth. I have tabled, phone banked, organized events, led discussions, hosted a rock concert, joined my local School Health Advisory Council, testified in a public education committee hearing, lobbied my national and state-wide representatives, collected petition signatures, blogged about the importance of sex education, produced video and pictures of advocacy events, been covered in newspapers, and remain true to my passion and dedication of overcoming abstinence only sex education in Texas schools in order to empower youth and lower unintended teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.