Spending time in Nigeria renewed my desire to work to ensure that every young person, regardless of sexual orientation, identity, socioeconomic status, or location in the world, has access to the education, information, and services they need for their sexual and reproductive health.
Elizabeth is a college senior and a member of the International Youth Leadership Council.
Originally from Minnesota, I am currently a senior at American University in Washington, DC. I’m majoring in international studies with a focus on public health in developing countries. I am a member of the International Youth Leadership Council, and I’m dedicated to protecting and respecting the sexual and reproductive health rights of young people both here in the US and around the world.
Like most of my peers, I went through an abstinence-only sex ed program in my high school; however, as a Unitarian Universalist, I was lucky enough to get comprehensive, evidence-based, scientifically-accurate sex ed at church when I was in 8th grade. I am so thankful that I had a church community and a mom who cared about teaching me what I need to know to stay healthy and happy, and I am passionate about making sure that other youth around the world get the same high-quality information and education that I did.
I was lucky enough to spend the summer before my junior year in Nigeria, working on public health in a rural setting. The experience was simultaneously rewarding, frustrating, challenging, and inspirational, and I came away with a deep admiration for the people and communities I worked and interacted with. But I also left feeling concerned about the lack of sexual education, LGBT rights, or basic respect for the sexual and reproductive rights of young people, and it renewed my desire to work to ensure that every young person, regardless of sexual orientation, identity, socioeconomic status, or location in the world, has access to the education, information, and services they need for their sexual and reproductive health.