sex education in high school

elizabeth haller: it’s my pleasure to introduceto you about herbs hajar jahanam this afternoon our plenary speakers, a panel of incredible young people from advocatesfor youth. we have laura duque. laura is a first year student at the university of north carolina at chapel hill where she studiesjournalism, media studies with a specialization.

sex education in high school, in public relations. jorian rivera is a puerto rican hiv youthactivist who is currently living in philadelphia. cydney brown is a recent graduate with a psychologymajor and a minor in swahili at howard university and a member of the youth resource center.

lexus phillips is comparative women’s studiesmajor and sociology minor at spellman college with a passion for social justice. through the art of storytelling and a guideddiscussion, our youth panelists will share their experiences to reflect on the developmentand implementation of sexual health care services and programs that are inclusive of lgbtq youth. the panel will be facilitated by louis ortiz-fonseca,the program manager for the lgbtq health and rights at advocates for youth. he is also a national known facilitator, publishedspoken word artist and photographer. his current project, the grand varones isa documentary in photo essay highlighting

the experiences of latino gay men in philadelphia. give it up. there will be q&a. there are four mics in the audience that wewould like you to go ahead and come to ask questions and answers. we want this to be an integrative sessionby the end of the panel. for now, i‘d like to turn it over to louisand the team. thank you. louis: thank you.

can everyone hear me? so this is like my talk show dream come true. so again, please tweet and use the hashtag. we wanna have as much presence on social mediacause there are many folks who are interested and committed in the work that we are doing,supporting and raise enough who do not have access to this space so we can share whatwe are hearing, listening, and learning with those who can’t be here. please do so, it’s #2016tpp and if takepictures of me and post on instagaram, i ask that you use the inkwell filter.

you gotta ask for what you need. so, just a quick blurb about advocates foryouth. advocates for youth works with young leaders,adult allies, and youth service agencies to promote policies and programs that make accessibleand factual sexual health information to all young people. our vision is based in the 3 r’s: rights,respect and responsibility. we believe that young people have the rightto adequate and factual sexual health information. we believe that young people believe respectand that society has the responsibility to provide these things for young people andthat young people have the responsibility

to protect themselves. so i want to thank you for sharing this timeand space with us as we all, especially in cultures of people of color, storytellingprovides healing and it opens up spaces that are not necessarily provided for us outsideof storytelling. so who in here is a parent? raise your hand. i’m a parent of a 13-year old, help me. who in here works with young people? who in here works with young people in programs?

in churches? schools? who funds programs? you all matter too. alright, so i want to welcome you to thatspace and invite you to open your hearts and minds. what’s beautiful about hearing young peopleshare their stories, that it reminds us and grounds us in our commitment to working withyoung people. the other side of it is that we may hear sometruths that may be hard for us as adults who

are working hard, who go home exhausted, whothink that we are doing and giving our all to this work and sometimes hearing that thatintention is not always met can be really jarring, right? so i wanna, that’s okay. there’s nothing wrong with that. what is glorious about this is that we getto hear young people really provide us a different perspective. not a right one, not a wrong one, but a differentperspective. so i invite you not to hear what you’regonna hear as if you’re not doing enough

and that you are not approaching the workwith your full heart. right? i want you to hear it just as another opportunityto learn something else. so i’m gonna get us started, and again,there’s no right or wrong. it is what it is. okay? alright, so first question if you can justlet folks know what your name is again and your gender pronoun and then the first questionis: tell us a little bit about what it was like when you were in high school.

what do you remember about the sex educationyou received, either in classes or in formal programs that you might have gone to afterclass or after school or any other resources? so what was it like to get sexual health informationduring a time in high school either both inside of school or outside programs you might havegone to. and we’ll start with laura. laura: once again my name is laura duque. pronouns: she, her, hers and i grew up innorth carolina and i honestly don’t remember much about my sexual education class, onlybecause it was two weeks long and it was referred to as health class, not sex ed and that classfocused more on the importance of eating healthy

and doing exercise but i do remember my sexualeducation class in middle school because that one was actually a little bit longer, it wasa semester long and i just remember it was taught by my gym coach, coach r and it wasin this part of the gym that was where they put all the storage and i was like excitedabout it. i was like, “okay, this is my time to askall the questions that i need to ask” and i then realized that coach r was the one thatwas going to be talking to us and i was like “i can’t talk to him. i have to do push ups next time i see himand i can’t… no.”

i just remember having to watch that movie,the miracle of life, i think it’s called and just being terrified like “oh okay,oh that’s what happens,” and not having any context whatsoever of what we were gonnawatch just it being like “okay, this is what it looks like to have a baby and it’sscary so don’t do it” and the education that i received was mostly abstinence only. i remember even having to do a rap about abstinence. which was kind of interesting, now that ilook back on it. but i guess my experience was a little bitbetter than other peoples’ because my little sister, for example, she’s about to starthigh school and at her middle school, sex

ed class was, i think it only lasted for threeweeks and you could potentially get out of it if your parents just signed something. so i was like kind of lucky, i got kind oflucky that it was a little bit longer but it was still not what i wanted and what ineeded at that time. i also grew up in a very catholic communityso we never really talked about sex and if someone got pregnant, they were either supposedto get married before anyone found out that they had sex outside of marriage or they wouldget an abortion and everyone knew that it was happening but no one talked about it. so growing up in that community with thoseideals, i felt like i couldn’t talk to my

parents about sex and i couldn’t talk tomy teachers about sex and so, i would say that my school system and my community failedme when it came to sexual education. lexus: hi, again, my name is lexus. my pronouns are she, her. in terms of my sex ed, similar to laura, itwas late middle school, early high school, gym teacher, and it was not abstinence onlyeducation but it was still to me at the time kind of a very minimum, kind of just one interms of like “this is the ins and outs of sex, no pun intended.” like this is “how sex works.”

and then these are “the 3 most common stds/stis”and then “these are condoms and these are pills.” that was about it, it was not really talkingabout different contraceptive methods, not talking about non-heterosexual sex, whichas i got older and got into high school and realized that i was not heterosexual, i realizedthat i wasn’t included in that conversation and that there were questions and things thati was wondering about that weren’t being answered. so within school, it was taught but only kindof to an extent. more like “okay, we checked off what youwere supposed to know” but it wasn’t a

lot of room for questions or for really goingdeeper into the conversation, it was kind of like the basics “this is covered, thereyou go, you took your sex ed.” outside of school, my faith community. i grew up in memphis, tennessee, predominantlychristian home and childhood and it was more of a, “we don’t talk about sex and ifwe do talk about sex, it’s in the context of not doing it” and not discussing whathappens if you are questioning and wondering what you wanna do, again what happens if youare not necessarily into having sex with the opposite sex. and so that was just not necessarily any roomfor me to ask questions either because it

was a very clear message of what was and wasn’tsupposed to be done. other than that, peer groups were the mainscope of what i learned anything from was what other people were doing, or claimed theywere doing, or what they looked up, what they found out which was of course, now in hindsight,a lot of misinformation so even though so much misinformation was ironically the largestarea in which i learned about sex was through my peers and not necessarily through the peoplewho were supposed to be teaching me about it. so that’s me. cydney: hi everyone, my name is cydney andmy pronouns are they, them, theirs.

most of my… how i remember my sex educationwas, um, in middle school it was definitely abstinence only, we were separated by genderand really just talked about the mechanics of it and, at that time, i already knew iwas not interested in having sex with someone of the opposite gender so i was like “noneof this applies to me. what do i do?” and i was also in a household where we justdidn’t talk about sex. it just, it was the big scary thing that’snot supposed to happen until you’re married. that’s another story. so actually my sex education in high schoolwas interesting because it was about two weeks

long and it literally started the day afteri had sex, the first time i had sex. and my sex, my first experience was terrible. i did not know what i was doing, we did nottalk about consent, we did not talk about what we wanted, any of those things and soi remember my teacher beginning the conversation with talking about mechanics and pregnancyand all that stuff and i’m in the room like “this doesn’t help me and what just happenedin my life so what are we gonna do?”. you know i’m waiting and waiting for himto talk about something. just something that’s gonna let me know,like make me feel better about the decision i had made and nothing happened, like in ourtextbook, one, there were no black folk in

the textbook and then let alone anyone who’shaving non-heterosexual sex so i’m just in the space like “i don’t know what todo.” if it wasn’t for organizations outside ofmy school system like my youth center in eastern market called smile that provided sex workshopsand talked about the things i was going through, i would have thought i was invisible in thatclassroom. like none of these things that were happeningin these textbooks could happen to me because i’m not having this type of sex. so that was how i felt about it and reallyjust reflecting on it now, just remembering things that just didn’t happen, like noone said the word abortion.

i don’t think abortion came up in conversationunless i was having a conversation with my family and it was on the news or something. so just being cognizant of these things, thesemessages that i never received or never saw or dangerous messages like these things can’thappen to me because i’m not in this textbook. jorian: hello everyone, my name is jorian,i go by he, him, his, but i also go by all pronouns. i grew up in north philadelphia. i am puerto rican, hispanic man growing upin north, i’m gay also. i’ll put that out there, i don’t knowwhy.

right, it does help. growing up, i was in school up until highschool. from high school, from ninth to twelfth grade,i was homeschooled at that point due to the fact that i was homeschooled was the fact,because all through elementary school and middle school, i was picked on for being theodd kid. i was being called faggot, gay, queer, alltypes of names and at this point, at that point in my life, i didn’t know what thosewords meant and my teacher was like “do you know what these mean?” i’m like “no” he’s like “then don’tworry about it, it’s not for you to know

right now.” so i’m like “oh, okay”, and just skippedmy way through the classroom like a queer little boy that i am. so, at that point, growing up also, i learnedhow to have sex through like, i don’t want to say through watching cause that soundshorrible but i didn’t get it from school. i didn’t. because going to elementary school and middleschool, they taught us like what they were saying, they taught us the three std’s thatanybody could get: gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and they taught us about the four deadly h’swhich is herpes, hpv, hepatitis b and hiv.

so that’s pretty much it. like these are things you need to know, that’sit, that’s bam. good. oh they also taught us how a man gets erected,they talked about how women get orgasms and i was like “this stuff, i don’t need toknow these things. i’m only seven years old. why do i need to know how a man gets erectedfor?” i’m like “did that happen to me?” theni go “i’m not ready for puberty.” but then at that point, like i said the reasonwhy i went into homeschool because i was bullied

and picked on so that was my safe haven. that was my sanctuary to be who i was andnot be anybody else who told me what to be. going through that period of being homeschooled,they still didn’t teach me about sex education. it was physical education, gym. you know, stay fit, stay healthy, you livea longer lifespan. but where is the knowledge behind all of that? so if i get gonorrhea, what do i do afterthat? where do i go? do i not deal with it?

do i not treat it? is it treatable? is it curable? is it cancerous? like where do i get this information fromand that was not given. it was like “just put a condom on it andyou’ll be fine.” “okay..” “well then how do you use a condom?” “oh so this is what you do” “okay, sowhat do you do with it when you’re done

with it?” it’s like you have all these questions inthe back of your head but these teachers, well my teachers at the time, they don’twant to answer these questions because they felt like it was too much. but you’re my teacher. if you’re my teacher, it’s your responsibilityto educate these students so that way these students know what they’re going into inthe real world. you graduate high school and college and it’slike okay, now you’re automatically ready for the real world.

well, i’m not, i wasn’t ready for thereal world. and i’m still not ready for the real world. i’m 23 years old and i’m still tryingto figure myself out. but it’s like you come up with these, asa person growing up, you don’t get a manual. you don’t get a manual how your life works. so you kind of have to take it day by day. well okay, this is what’s gonna happen todayand then all the sudden you get a curve ball , you’re like “aw, man. i gotta take this detour, this detour” but,you know, but that all falls in line with

sex education. sex education is all about detours. okay if this happened, then what do you haveto do to get here in order to get left then right again? you have to start at a to get to z, don’tyou? so it’s like, where do you find all thisinformation from? and teachers don’t necessarily do that,well back in the day, like i said back in the time, you know, learning these things,i wasn’t given that. and it’s funny cause i guess there was along line of your gym teacher being your health

teacher, it’s like oh, so everyone had agym teacher who was also a health teacher. that understand why, you know, because a gymteacher is only for sports and not sex education. so that’s my upbringing. louis: so you guys shared some of the informationthat you might have received or something that was kind of incomplete for you. like the education, the intention to provideyour education just left you with more questions. so what do you think would have been effectiveduring that time? so you shared what didn’t work, what wasn’tcomplete, what may have felt short, but on the other side of that, what would have providedyou the space or the information that you

needed? cydney: 1) to stop framing sex as this bigscary thing. for me, especially growing up in the housethat i did, my mom, her first messages to us was like “you get pregnant, i’ll killyou”. that was the first thing and i was like “ohhhhokay, so i don’t want that.” so we’re not gonna have this. sex is a natural occurrence. it’s not something that’s, well it’svery major when it’s your first time and all that stuff but it’s, it’s great mostof the time, so changing the framework from

it being this big scary enigma that no oneseems to really understand to rather just changing the conversation to, “hey. this happens. these are things that you can use to protectyourself. these are the kinds of sex that happens butif there’s other types of sex that you like to have, that you like to have, then that’sokay too.” take the shame out and just create an openspace for dialogue and to create a space for questions like i would have never asked myteacher, “how do i have sex with a person with a vagina?”

ever. and i would have never asked them, i wouldn’thave even had the conversation about consent, how do you ask someone who’s the same genderas you but older than you about consent because at that time, in my sexual experience, shewas older so i gave her everything that she told her do whatever you want. but we didn’t have that, i didn’t knowhow to have the conversation about what i wanted. you know, how do we make the space safer forstudents to really get to those really important questions about “hey, i want to make surethat i feel safe with my partner.

how do i talk to them about this?” or “iwant to let my partner know that this is how i want to protect myself or this is the typeof sex that i want to have” like, how do we allow students to feel safe having thoseconversations with educators, because otherwise they’re going to go to their peers which,sometimes is okay, sometimes we know a lot more than we think we do but up until a point. teachers are our primary source of informationso this is where, this is the information we want, this is the information we’re seeking,so, can you provide it for me? and if not, then give me some place wherei can. where i can get it.

laura: looking back, i think that i would’vewanted someone that looked like me to teach me about sex. someone who was you know, only a couple ofyears older than me, not like from another generation. louis: excuse me? laura: sorry, sorry. i mean only like a few years older, not likesomeone from like the 70’s or something. you know? sorry, sorry.

louis: security. laura: well, i had to say it. i wish that i would’ve learned about allthe different types of contraceptives there are and i wish that my teacher would havetold us that it was okay to think about sex. to be thinking about our own sexual healthand that there was nothing wrong with that. and that there were other ways in which youcould prevent getting pregnant other than just staying away from sex altogether. i think that if my friends and i had thatexperience, we would have been able to make better choices about our own sexual health.

jorian: i like what people have said. what i wanted more was to get it from an educationstandpoint. an education and not from my parents or mysiblings cause you know, i grew up in a puerto rican household, so there’s a lot of kidsrunning around so i don’t where they all come form like “oh, you’re my brothertoo? oh, what’s up? what’s good? what’s going on?” and you don’t knowwhere, you know, i grew up with cousins on top of cousins.

i had second cousins and third cousins soin my household, you know, i grew up from a jehovah’s witness background, growingup, so no one really told me the no sex before marriage kind of thing because my parentsdidn’t really talk about it growing up, like everybody. so my whole thing is like growing up in abig household, i’m like “oh, okay, well cool, everyone has kids so i mean obviouslyit comes from somewhere” but no one. when your parents just tell you about thebirds and the bees it’s like a 1, 2, 3, this is what happens, this is what happens,this is what happens ,1, 2, 3. i would have preferred it from a more educationstandpoint.

more from, though i guess, the 5 w’s inthe house, where coming from a relationship standpoint, especially in your youth, you’regoing into these relationships with a very young mind you don’t know what’s goingon, what’s gonna happen so coming from that point on. especially for young teens, if they’re gonnaget into relationships then take that extra precaution on what to do if they are goingto have sex. especially from the teacher or the nurse orthe principal or the dean be like “hey teacher, this is what’s going on. we had sex for the first time” and to beopen and honest about certain thing.

it’s going to happen so be open and honestand be like “listen, we did it for the first time, what’s the next step?” “we did it with a condom, blah blah blah[inaudible] but we also want to take the extra step and go get tested so where do we go to?”and we have teachers be like, “well i don’t know, call, you know, look up, you know, google,or, talk to your mom and dad.” so at this point it’s like i would prefermore of a teaching in a clinical standpoint, you know, for teachers and for everyone inthe school system to be aware of what’s going on. cause i’m pretty sure everyone’s awarethat kids are having sex.

but we need to be aware, we need to be moreaware of that and be ready for when we have those kids who are well known and know a lotmore than we think we know, to be ready for those kind of conversations. and not to be nervous or scared of, if someone’scoming up to you, like a kid who’s probably 16 coming up to you and being like “i hadsex but i had unprotected sex” i wouldn’t really feel ready well “when’s the lasttime you did it?” you know, coming from the clinical, comingfrom the organization i work for, it’s part of my job to ask certain questions. professional questions, so i would want thatmore from more people, you know, information

at least, or more information or what i cando. lexus: so i’m really passionate about thisquestion so i have some very specific things to say. i emphasize the point about removing the shamefrom conversations around sex. one because it cannot be said enough eventhough it’s been said, that kids are having sex. period. and in your position as an educator, i feellike that is a moment and a space that removed from your opinions or feelings regarding that,you are in these classrooms with these students

and these conversations, whether it’s somethingthat you want to happen or not, are a large part of what they and their peer groups discuss. it’s happening. so it needs to be addressed from that perspectiveof honesty because when they see that you’re squeamish about it then 1) they don’t wantto come to you about things and then 2) it makes them start to feel squeamish about it. so it’s not just about, “oh, well kidsare doing it and it needs to be done.” i emphasize the point that shame needs tobe removed form conversations about sex because i know personally that that seeps into deeperthings because when we’re talking about

or not talking about sex because it’s sex,that leads to, in my opinion, deeper issues about our bodies, about our comfort with ourselves. if we’re not gonna talk about, you know,vaginas and penises, we’re not gonna talk about our own physical anatomy, that’s natural,that’s our physical anatomy. i got to my college first year biology ofwomen course and there are folks in that class who don’t know or are uncomfortable withtheir own physical anatomy because we are so scared to talk about sex. when separate of sex, you need to know whensomething is going wrong that’s something that you need to go seek medical care for.

it’s about sexual health and reproductivehealth, period. not just “oh, these are the parts that areattached to, you know, when we have sex.” so when we don’t wanna talk about sex, thatmeans we don’t talk about physical things in general that make people feel less comfortablewith their bodies, with their sexual parts, with the health of those parts, period. so i feel like that makes people not justhave shame about sex, but have shame about their bodies in general. i think that i would have liked to see mysex education be less sexist. and by that i mean that on one hand, thatmeans that, often, what i find in my experience

and in others’ that i’ve shared conversationswith, that often the conversations either explicitly or implicitly center the responsibilityof deciding to have sex, deciding not to have sex, being the one to have to have conversationsabout protection and have conversations about pregnancy and what happens then are all placedupon young women identified folks. and it’s a burden that carries again intothe shame piece where, not only do you not feel comfortable having conversations aboutsex, but then you realize not only do you feel uncomfortable, but you’re the one withmore of a burden regarding what happens, what doesn’t happen, and all of that. so, yeah, i think that a major part of re-shapingsex education, not be placing the emphasis

on young women and “what are you gonna do?”because that removes responsibility from young men and then it’s also sexist to them tobe placed in a position of, “this is what a man does during sex.” not only do placing these gender roles onwho does what during sex hurt women, it hurts men too because you end up with these ideasof desire and who’s supposed to do this and who’s supposed to do that, and peoplewatch porn and that’s not real. and it just misinforms you on what real sexis supposed to be like, it’s not what sex is really like but when you don’t teachfolks what it’s really supposed to be like, they think that, “okay, well the guy’ssupposed to do this, i’m not supposed to

be able to say what i’m interested in, whatmy needs are or what feels uncomfortable.” and that to cydney’s point about healthydialogue, i think that’s the other, that’s the last point that i think needs to be included. it’s that sex is not just about the sexpart, like, i think we get so squeamish about the sex part, that we remove the fact thatat some point you can, you have to, and you should know how to ask consent to even getto that. how to express what your needs are romantically. sexually, not just what your needs are interms of what makes you feel comfortable, what your needs are in terms of what you like,what you don’t like.

sex is not just about the physical part, it’sabout the person that you’re sharing that experience with and how do you converse withthem to make it something that is satisfying and comfortable for both of you and becausewe’re so scared to talk about the sex part, we don’t get to healthy relationships andpeople are out here doing things that are violent and harmful to themselves and othersbecause they don’t understand that there’s things and agreements and consent and needsthat need to be expressed and done before you even get to the sex part. louis: she’s trying to get a spinoff. i’m gonna have to have a conversation withmy producers.

now that you all covered a lot, especiallyaround the consent and removing the shame around conversations around sex i think historically,when we think about sex education, not necessarily the people in this room, but just some parentswho may not have access to a lot of the information that we have, and then we punish them. we punish parents who opt out their childrenfrom classes. as opposed to figuring out new ways to havedialogue that expand the conversation around how to know when you are ready, like whatsteps, what three steps can you do when you think that you are? are there three adults you can talk to?

what does consent look like? what is being comfortable with your body lookinglike? or even what does intimacy look like? for some folks, being paid attention to orbeing seen as a magical person, sometimes there are some folks, some youth are justsocialized to repay that with, you know, bodies touching. and not that there’s anything wrong withthat but kind of like really just expanding what intimacy looks like, what consent lookslike, and what sex ed looks like. you know, we, i too got my sex ed throughmy gym teacher and i think that on paper,

it feels like it makes sense, right, becausewe’re talking about the body, talking about being healthy, but a lot of the dots weren’tcrossed, right? and again i think that’s why this panel’simportant cause it allows us new perspectives like “oh, when i go back i can think aboutthis” or “i can expand the conversation to include removing shame or the importanceof understanding your body” that not just around the sexual act, but just around beinghealthy and understanding that all these feelings are normal, that there’s nothing wrong withyou, but that young people have a space to have that conversation so thank you very much. a lot of conversation has generally been centeredaround youth overall, but i wanna get more

specific around lgbtq youth of color. and what things do you think school and communitybased organizations can do to better serve lgbtq youth of color? jorian: sga, with the straight gay alliance,we need a lot more of that, i feel like. around lgbtq of color, i’m a man of color,i know i might not look it cause my pigmentations is like very translucent but – thank you. it’s the lighting. they use valencia. more straight gay alliance, more open discussionsabout lgbt of color.

we don’t have a lot of that and i went toschool where it was predominantly black or i went to school where it was predominantlyhispanics and black so being in that environment, it was always an open discussion about peopleof color because i went to school like that. when i went to, when i was home schooled from9th to 12th grade, it wasn’t talked about as much so i was confused. because when i opened a conversation aboutpeople of color, it was completely pushed away because no one wanted to talk about thatsituation because they feel like, you know, certain people have higher power than peoplelike me because i live, because people like me might live on a poverty line or peoplelike me don’t go as far as you know, on

certain things. so i feel more strongly about straight gayalliance because if we get more people like my best friends who are straight to supportmy decision and support where i’m going in life, that’s one person i got through,so if i can get through one person, imagine what i could do with a whole room like thisthat have people on my back. we need to stop having these, i always usethis analogy, it’s like boiling water, we don’t mix. and i want to start mixing and stop this hate,you know, what we see on social media because this person’s gay or this person’s blackand gay or this person is a drag queen and

he’s black and gay or because you know thestigma because he has hiv, you know, he’s black, gay or brown, or stuff like that. i want to change that idea, i want to changethat format that we see here every day on this world because not for nothing, peoplesee hiv as a man of who i am 23 years old living with hiv, i’ve been diagnosed withhiv for three years now and i’ve been stigma, i’ve been stigma’d for so long becausei’m a man of color. and people think, “oh well he’s puertorican, so obviously, he’s gay, puerto rican and a spic and he had sex unprotected” or“well his boyfriend’s black, i guess where he got his hiv from.”

that’s not the case. yes, my partner is black. but i can tell you right now he is hiv negative. i didn’t get it from him. so why point fingers at me for being thatway? why? because you have a better job than me? because you have a better car than i do? so that way you can point fingers at me whileyou drive by?

“oh look an interracial couple, hiv automatically.” it’s not fair for that. i don’t go around pointing fingers at straightpeople being like “listen, you’re straight.” i don’t, we don’t, when you see peoplein front of you, what i was taught is you don’t judge a person by how they look. you don’t judge a person by what the colorof their skin is, what they go through cause you don’t know, no one knows what peoplego through on a daily basis. you know, so for me to be like, “okay wellthat person’s straight, let’s see what he goes through on an everyday basis.

oh nothing because he obviously has the perfectworld.” but you want to look at me and be like “oh,well he lives on poverty line, he gets welfare, ssi checks.” well i could be a bad person and go to thegovernment and get ssi check for having hiv. i could be that person. but i’m not. because i want to prove to the straight communitysome time, for the ignorant people in the straight community that i am just like youon an everyday basis. i work hard for my money, i go home and takecare of my home, and my animals, and my mom,

and my brothers and sisters. and i do it all over again the next day. and on top of that, i gotta make sure i feedmyself and take a shower. cydney: i think that educators and administratorsand funders have to realize that lgbt youth of color deal with specific intersections. i’m black, queer, masculine presenting,which comes with a whole other level of connotations because when i walk into a space, a lot ofpeople 1) don’t even know what my gender is. the first thing they see is my blackness sothere are automatically stigmas associated

with my blackness, where i come from, whatincome i might have, what things that i know. and then depending on the day, i’m eitherseen as a black lesbian and i’m automatically masculinized for some particular reason. and then, like there are just a lot of minutethings that i go through on a regular basis that a lot of educators i feel like don’trealize that their students are going through at the same time. so when you are dealing with a student whois at these intersections, you have to find a way to meet them there. so, let’s say you have a student who wasdiagnosed hiv positive.

okay, where you gonna, first you’re gonnasay “go to a doctor.” what if the student can’t afford to go tothe doctor? can you tell them where the nearest clinicis? can you tell them where to get any kind oftreatment from? can you tell them what affordable programsthat are available to them? what resources can you provide to them sothat you can help them navigate these intersections without either having to sacrifice a partof their identity or erase it entirely. so, it’s hard. you know having that level of consciousness;i call it like opening your third eye on a

physical level. you have to be aware of all of these differentdynamics because nothing is unilateral, nothing is monolithic and nothing in any minoritycommunity is monolithic so you have to be able to take away these standards that youthink, that people tend to think that all students have and realize that, if you havesome who, someone made it clear, so let’s say you’re a doctor or you come, you havea patient that comes to you and they’re not taking their medicine and so your frustratedbecause this person’s not taking their medicine. that person might not be able to afford theirmedication. or that person might have to decide betweenbuying medication or providing for their family;

family’s gonna come first. so, rather than getting on this high horse,try to meet people where they are. try to understand that the multi dimensionsof people’s existence. and that takes a great deal of education butit’s out there so ask questions. y’all are educators, y’all want peopleto ask you questions, you should be able to ask them as well. lexus: i think that 1) i think that lgbtqyouth of color are in need of mentors. now, i understand that within the educationsystem, there are barriers within that system that for folks who are lgbtq identified inclassrooms make it hard for them to put themselves

in the position to be in that space. given those systems at play, they’re partof the problem. those systems are part of the problem thatthey even can’t be themselves in the classroom in the first place. so, whether it’s teachers making themselvesavailable in the classroom that they can, outside of school programs and resources ororganizations connecting with classrooms if they have more of an ability and a capacityto be in that mentorship position that’s necessary. whatever avenue it can come from, i say thatmentorship is necessary because via racism,

via sexism, classism, via white supremacists,racists, capitalists, federal patriarchal society, either one that people who wouldbe their mentors are not in the position to do so and if they are, because of said laws,or lack of anti-discrimination policies, they can’t. so, with that in mind, students don’t seepeople that look like them and that’s a major part of even, for some of these students,they don’t know how they’re going, they don’t see themselves living day to day. i was at another conference and another panelistsaid that they only saw themselves living to a certain age because they didn’t seepeople who looked like them beyond that.

so, seeing people who look like you existingand being well and whole and all their identities matter so much to even being able to imagineyourself in that position, especially when you’re not on television, when you’renot seeing anywhere else in culture or media and when you are, it’s a negative presentation. and i think that with those types of experiencesin mind, it’s particularly critical for lgbtq youth of color to have mental healthand wellness resources when they are not in the position to be able to express what isgoing on with them and what experiences they are having at all of these intersections,they are dispositioned to be more likely to experience anxiety and depression, to experienceself-harm practices, to commit suicide.

they’re more likely to do that because theydon’t see themselves in anywhere else and they don’t have people to talk to aboutthat so mental health and wellness services are necessary and if you’re going to bea school that has no tolerance, bullying, and harassment policies to your point abouthaving to leave school systems because of that. if you’re going to say you’re no tolerance,be no tolerance. and call things by their name. there’s no, it’s not just for any reasonthat the only brown or lgbtq or non-binary identified person or all of the above is theone in your classroom expressing that they’re

having problems. don’t invalidate their experiences whenclearly they are having those experiences and if you’re no tolerance policies aresupposed to be in place, do that because when you don’t, they see that and they know thatthat basically means that you’re calling their experience unreal and you’re invalidatingthat it happened. laura: i think that, if you’re gonna saythat you’re an ally to the lgbtq+ community, you have to include lgbtq+ people in youreducation. specifically, lgbtq+ people of color. yeah, okay, you can change your profile pictureon facebook to the rainbow flag or, you know,

say “oh okay, i have so many friends thatidentify as this” but the fact that we’re not including people of color, lgbtq+ people,in conversations about sex, that shows that we’re still seeing those people as somethingelse, something different. and what that ends up doing to kids who aregrowing up in those environments is they feel weird, they feel like there’s somethingwrong with them, that thinking about having sex with a person that maybe does not fitthe, whatever mold that is presented in sexual education is wrong and so, what they end updoing is they end up turning to other sources that may not necessarily be reliable and whenthey engage in sexual relationships, it ends up being kind of like under the rug, underthe table and not talked about and more often

than not, they’re not being safe and theydon’t know what they’re doing and they have no one to reach out to so i think wehave to start with including people that come from all backgrounds and not just assume thateveryone is going to have the same experience when it comes to sex. louis: as an adult, because i’m learningto be comfortable as an adult, you’ve got plenty years boo, so there are a couple thingsi’ve been working in a nonprofit for 20 years and i’m not sure who but i heard thatthere’s this prescribed approach to working with lgbtq, sort of like an intake form, right? who in here has to fill out an intake form,you ask identity, name, race, class, socioeconomic

background, because those are indicators thatpeople would qualify for programs that would provide much needed services, right? and then on the other we get trained to dothat right, we have long staff meetings where we come up with these great and affirmingand inclusive intake forms and then we get told that that’s too prescribed. so remember in the beginning when i said there’sno right or wrong. so i use the intake form as an example becauseit is a tool to support conversation, it is not a guide and those are the distinctions. so an intake form provides us with informationso we can better support young people in seeking

and accessing services that are pertinentto their health. but it cannot be a prescribed interaction. and that’s what makes it inauthentic androbotic for young people. now they’re just being experienced as checkboxes. and expand the conversation around healtharound gay and queer men beyond hiv. as a brown, queer, afro-puerica, we know thestatistics but that’s pretty much all we hear about our health and out of the contextof this conversation it is stigmatizing. so learning that when we are including lgbtqyouth intentionally in our programs, be open to expanding that conversation.

and the last thing is the no right or wrong. i get that being an ally is hard. we’re all allies depending on our proximityto specific communities and a lot of times we don’t want to say the wrong thing, sowe don’t say anything. sometimes we don’t want to make the wrongdecision so we don’t make a decision. but not saying something and not making adecision is doing something. not saying something is saying something andnot making a decision is making a decision. so like it’s about suspending the no rightor wrong and we make mistakes, but we can atone for that, and we can recreate the relationshipwith the young people.

so a lot of it is about being courageous andi love that that’s the theme that you all provided for us. getting right or wrong is a new way of beingcourageous. in your opinion, i’m going to start withlaura and i’m going to come down this way. how do you think homophobia and racism impactsthe decisions that young people make in relation to their sexual health? laura: well, as i was saying before the factthat they were nodding, that lgbtq+ people of color are not included in the conversation,that just completely leaves people feeling out and feeling like, you know, they are notnormal.

and we’re already going through a lot duringthose years. you know i’m still trying to figure myselfout and then there’s this other wave of judgement that comes from people that arelooking at me and you know, it’s like when i walk into a room i have to make myself availablefor people and i have to justify who i am because if not people aren’t going to takeme seriously and they’re going to put labels on me. and i think the fact that most of the time,you know, when people that are not people of color come into a room they’re not gettingquestioned about their sexuality and their background.

they’re not being asked “oh where areyou from?” or that kind of thing, they’re not, and that’s not fair. i think we need to provide a space for peopleof color and lgbtq+ people of color to be able to share their stories and those whohave privilege need to listen first. then help those people out in anyway that they can just using their own privilege becauseif you just sit there and not do anything and just not say anything because you’reafraid of saying the wrong thing, that’s not going to do anything, you know. we have to get rid of those subconscious,homophobic, elitist and racist tendencies

and learn to appreciate other people thatcome from different backgrounds and not put labels on them. lexus: i think that racism and homophobiaimpact our communities in a couple of ways. in terms of racism, historically speakingthe powers that be have never been very interested in people of color procreating. so within reproductive health movements, eventhat has been under laid with racist intentions of predominantly communities of color, womenof color being sterilized and they don’t know or being steered toward certain contraceptivemethods without being fully informed of their risks and options because of the pre-assumptionbased on their skin color and based on what

class demographic people think they’re inand what they could afford rather than at least providing those options. and so, when you’re going into a systemthat already isn’t interested in you having access to reproductive health or procreatingor being able to attain as many resources as possible, it creates an aversion to thehealthcare system. large portions of my community don’t goto doctors because they either anticipate and have experienced racist of homophobictreatment. i’ve gone to a gynecologist before and leftthat appointment and she said she was going to pray for me.

and i’m here for my sexual health, not foryou to draw assumptions based on once i now express there are within the homophobic. with the lgbtq+ folks, there’s assumptionsof promiscuity because all of the sudden i say i’m not straight and then i say thati’m bisexual, pansexual, you assume that me saying that i am attracted to folks ofall gender presentations means that i am having sex with so many people of all of these differentgender presentations. me saying that i’m attracted to them doesnot automatically mean that i’m being more promiscuous, but because of that you encourageme to do this treatment instead or you assume certain things about me that make you askme questions a certain way as if you already

know what i’m doing in my personal sexuallife. so with stuff like that happening, when youngpeople of color go to providers, it makes them just avoid health and sexual health treatmentand care in the first place. and to know the histories behind why yourcommunities either when they go to these places have been sterilized or given treatments againsttheir will or that aren’t good for their bodies and they don’t know or people explicitlysay things that are racist or homophobic to you when you go there, you don’t want togo there. and then it just leads to more issues downthe line because you’re not getting the care that you receive.

so that’s what i see as commonly how racismand homophobia effect our communities. louis: okay cydney and jorian because we wantto leave some time for q&a. who or what was a supportive, what was a supportivemechanism for providing support in those formidable years around sexual health. cydney: surrounding sexual health it was specificallythe youth center in eastern market because it was a space where i could be myself andask the questions that i had. and also interacting with people who werea few years older than me and at least at that time looked like me, that understoodwhat experiences i was going through and was supportive of the choices that i made andgave me the education that i needed.

i actually really want to answer that previousquestion. black bodies are being killed every singleday. and the messages that we receive is that thesociety we live in, they don’t value our bodies. so at what point, where are we going to getthe message that our bodies, our health matters. okay, we’re not gonna get it from tv, we’renot gonna get it from cnn. so let’s get it from the place where weget our primary care. our primary care physician probably doesn’tcare either because there’s data showing that most primary care providers don’t takewhat people of color say seriously because

of this belief that we are exaggerating orwhat we’re experiencing is not real, so you’re in the doctor, you’re trying totell the doctor what’s wrong and the doctor’s like this is not true. especially in communities, especially in themental health areas, you know you have people who are describing legitimate instances ofracism and discrimination and the doctor’s just like, “okay, you’re paranoid. you know, we’re going to diagnose you withparanoid schizophrenia because these systems are effecting you in such a way that theydon’t understand. so for me, when i think about that, this systemdoes not only does it not value by body, it

doesn’t value what i say. so how, why should i value it, the messagesthat i’m receiving, why should i value my health if no one outside of , excuse my language,seems to give a damn. so lgbtq youth of color don’t want to talkto nobody about this! we’re not going to go to our teachers becauseif our teachers don’t look like us, they don’t know what’s going on with us. if our teachers aren’t saying anything aboutwhat’s going on in the media, they don’t care. if our administrators or our funders aren’tdoing anything regarding what’s happening

in our existence, that doesn’t matter. so why would we go to someone who obviouslydoesn’t seem to value our existence, how am i able to relate that to my partner sincewe’re getting the same messages. our bodies don’t matter. so how do i let you know that my body is important,this is how i want it to be honored. i’m not getting that message anywhere else,how do i know to communicate that to somebody in an intimate setting. those are the messages that we are receiving. and homophobia, now what i’m doing is wrong,blatantly wrong on multiple levels, again

how do i communicate to someone that thisexperience i want to have is special because of this because i am special. jorian: okay. louis: so who was supportive to you duringyour formative years? jorian: we can talk about racism and homophobiaall day long so i’m going to skip that question. my main supporter at my coming out as a gay,hispanic, puerto rican man also being diagnosed with hiv was my father. that being said, growing up in a jehovah’switness household, it speaks for itself. as a man, who grew up in puerto rico on afarm, going to church every sunday, or not

the church, right, going to hall every sunday,every tuesday, every saturday, he was a man of the word. growing up, my dad put this idea in me andmy brother’s, this idea in our head that he didn’t want gay kids, he did not wantgay sons. but on july 11th, three years ago when i wasdiagnosed with hiv, my dad put all his pride aside. and i called, when i was diagnosed, i calledboth my parents on the phone, my mom first because she’s the emotional… you knowwhen you have parents you have one when you can go to and talk to the other and you knowyour mom is the lenient one sometimes and

your dad is the tough one, well in this case,my mom is more the emotional supporter. i can go to her about anything, i can cryto her about anything and she’ll be like, “well meha why you crying for?” and i’llbe like “but i loved him…”, “ah but there are other fishes in the sea, get overit.” i’m like, “whatever, you’re on yourthird marriage anyway.” haha… shhhhh! but my dad was the, my dad has always beenthe tough guy. you know, my dad’s like 5’10” big brutemuscle guy and he was always a stickler, like this this what you’re not going to do.

but when i called him crying, he was asking“what’s wrong? what’s going on?” and i was like, “well dad” and i’m cryingmy eyes out and i have hiv. first thing out of his mouth was, “i’mcoming out there.” he came out and i sense that he put all thatpride and ego aside and was like, “yo, you’re my son. i want you happy and i want you healthy.” he understood that i was gay, he got overthe fact that i was gay, cause at that point he was able to make gay jokes and tell methat all i can drink is fruity drinks because

i’m gay. but mind you i like a long island, i keepit real with you, throw in a shot of fireball keep it going i want to have some hair onmy chest. but that it is where my dad was getting to,he was getting to the point of making jokes with me, that’s what i wanted. but at that point when i told him i was hivpositive, he was like, “bah, you’re my son. this is what we’re going to do, this iswhat i’m going to do. so he was my biggest supporter, today he’smy biggest supporter.

he calls me every other day and asking meif i’m happy because all he cares about is my happiness, because you know as a father,as a supporter, they want to ask questions. my dad went beyond that and educated himselfwell enough that to know what i can and cannot do. he educates me on a daily basis, he’ll belike, “do you have a cat?” “no” “good, don’t have a cat” i’mlike, “why?”, he’s like “because there’s some thing, there’s some hormones in theirfeces and you can’t be around them.” “okay, and? i’m at work, what’s up?”

but he wants my wellbeing, he wants to knowif i’m happy, that’s all he cares about. he’s like no call me, but i’m like dadevery time i call you, you don’t answer your phone. well i’m sleeping. well how am i supposed to get ahold of you? so it’s like, he, i love my dad, and i wishmy dad was living in philadelphia, but he’s living in arizona now, he’s happier, hedon’t like the cold, you know, you suck, because i don’t have you here, but he’slike well you know come out and visit here and i’m like, it’s too hot, its’ like120 degrees.

i can’t be melting, mmm mmm i’m sorry. i’m a hairy guy, i’m sorry, i got mammothhair on me, i sweat too much. but overall i love my dad, my dad is my biggest,biggest, biggest supporter i have ever had in my entire life. louis: so before we open it up for questions,because i’m sure folks want to pick these beautiful brains, i just want to drive homethe point that a lot of what we’ve been covering has been pretty much expanding theconversation around sex ed. and we are at the tipping point where we reallyhave to talk about black and brown bodies in a way that is intentional, affirming andthat honors young people, specifically young

lgbtq people as holistic beings. they’re not compartmentalized. i know that there is this myth, especiallyin this country, that people do not value education in that way. i hope that what you’ve heard today hasshifted that, that young people do love structure, right? but they also looking to the adults that theyspend the most time with to provide them with information that can literally save theirlives. the other point is and with jorian’s storyis that a lot of parents may not have the

tools in supporting queer young people areoften branded homophobic, right? and a lot of our work has not really beenbased, well for me, a lot of the agencies that i work with, family reunification hasnot been at the center of the work. and when it comes to lgbtq youth it’s always“come here, we won’t tell anybody. we won’t tell your parents.” we cannot provide support without honoringfamily. and i firmly believe that when given the opportunityfamilies, teachers, administration will show up when provided the opportunity. and jorian’s story spoke to that.

had a father who struggled with his identity,was clear about what a man should be and what the responsibility was, but when it matterthe most, those ideals were secondary to jorian’s health. so parents, administration who may be challengingat times and while we want to hold them accountable and really be clear about our expectations,we also want to provide some grace because we’re not going to achieve what we needto achieve by tearing each other apart. and that sounds really clichã©, but the reasonwhy we need as many warriors as we do, is so that some of us can take a break and thensomeone else picks up the baton. so there are mics around and if you have questionjust step to the mic and if you have a specific

question for a specific youth, just pointout or just say their name and i’m sure they’ll be ready to answer their questions. lexus: louis, as people gather to the miccan i say one point? i think that in terms of also supporting young,oh there is someone at the mic right now, but, to this point of see something, say something,to support what cydney said, these students, these lgbtq youth of color are coming intoyour classrooms hearing what is going in with the world around them, and it is not realisticfor you to act as if those things are not happening. the experiences that they are seeing withinthe media of state violence, is that their

bodies aren’t mattering, they are feelinglike their black and brown bodies don’t matter, they are feeling like their queerlives do not matter when black trans women are being killed at such an excessive rate,they are feeling like their bodies don’t matter and when we come into classrooms andeducators don’t bring those conversations into the classroom, we’re acting as if thosethings aren’t happening, and as if it’s not hurting them and not existing, part ofyour ally-ship i think sometimes is to bring that into the classroom and bring up at thevery least ask if it’s something they have thoughts about and feelings about and if they’dlike to address and discuss because it does not help them when you’re so uncomfortableor unsure if people want to bring it up that

you only bring it up when someone’s breakingdown crying in your classroom. i feel like part of your ally-ship is to knowthat these things are going on, know that they’re effecting them and bring it to thetable to have conversations and stop acting like they’re not because in terms of theirlives and in terms of these issues, sexual health and wellness, these other things thatare going on in the world around them are effecting them just as well and we’re notbeing honest if we’re not acknowledging that and we’re not going to get anywhereto true ally-ship if you’re not going to put that out there to have uncomfortable conversationbecause we all see these things happening and to ignore it is again to ignore theirexperiences.

louis: i can’t even say. so if you’re near the mic over there, youcan go. audience member: thank you so much, hi myname is shelley montgomery barth and i am from wyoming and you’re all amazing so thankyou so much for being here today. what i think i heard you saying was that lgbt+plus young people of color need to be taught about sex by people who like them that arenot much older than them, i also heard you say that it’s really important that, youreally need mentors that look like you and who are successful who are from the lgbt+community. my question for you is what can old whitelgbt+ people to support youth of color?

lexus: i have a thought, so i think what youcan best do is use your privilege to the benefit of those communities so when you recognizethat this is an identity that you don’t carry and in a space in which you won’tbe able to express something that makes them feel like they are being heard or validated,that support that they need. i think the best thing that you could do istry to connect people with those that they would be able to share those experiences with. i think this comes to the part where you useyour resources to reach out to whatever folks you know, if there are organizations thatpertain to the types of work that you need help with or the identities that they carryto see if you can connect with someone and

bring them in to answer what you don’t know. so i think in that regard, you can best helpby using your privilege to make the space accessible and bring in and connect them tothe people that they would need to help them. louis: is there one more person over there? and then we’ll come back and come over hereand go over there. audience member: i’m emma schwartz fromthe university of california davis and i wanted to thank all of the panel and in particularthe one of you who was able to bring the issue of abortion to this conversation which isnot usually something that the office of adolescent health talks about because of the demand whichtakes it out of our vocabulary.

but i was hoping maybe we could have a littlebit more in terms of what it would be helpful for you to learn about what is actually oneof the most common medical procedures that women in this country undergo. what would be helpful for young people tolearn? lexus: so i’m working on the 1 in 3 campaignwith advocates for youth this summer which centers around the fact that 1 in 3 womenwill experience an abortion in their lifetime. i think one of the most helpful things thatcould be done, given the technicality of what can and cannot be said within education andeducator spaces to again connect them to the spaces where they could have that informationavailable, providing local clinic or pharmacy

information, sending them to the 1 in 3 website,and sharing with them… subverting the system in a way to share withthem the websites where they can then go to find that information if you unfortunatelyare not in a position to explicitly share that information. laura: even just talking about it, why doesit have to be such a taboo? i have two family members that had an abortionand we never talk about it. and you can’t just tell me about that andthen not tell me, okay “how was it? how do you feel?” i think it starts by having people who havehad abortions talk about it and making it

a safe space for those people and gettingrid of the stigma so we can actually provide those resources for people our age to havein schools and community centers, websites. louis: alright we have about 5 minutes sowe’ll take a question over here and then move over here. audience member: i’m tom aloisi from thestate of vermont and it’s never 120 degrees there so come visit any time, i’ve very(inaudible). i’ve loved hearing from you, but we’veheard four stories with four different educational experiences. i want to hear from a lot of folks who mightnot be as brave as you are to get in front

of 700 people and tell your story. does anyone know either on the panel or inthe room of a good survey tool to use to get the same kind of stories, maybe anonymously,that we could survey recent high school graduates that we could say, what was your sex ed experiencelike, what would you have done differently, all this kind of stuff. cydney: well, one thing that youth researchcreated this year was the my story out loud campaign. other panelists: wooo hooo! cydney: yeah!

its goal was to capture the stories of queerstudents of color, across the nation about their experiences in education, in sexualhealth education. we kind of focused on college students, butis the link still live? yes, so there is a link, it’s still active,our coordinator’s actually right there looking all wonderful. we have social media, we have tumblr, twitter,#mystoryoutloud, if you google it the website will come up with all of that. you’re welcome. louis: we’ll move over here.

audience member: good afternoon, my name isaj king, i’m with atlanta youth rec center, hi cydney. first off i just want to say thank you guysbecause it was a fantastic panel. and i know that i learned a lot personally. i think that with our current society, especiallyour youth is constantly changing and regressing and we are getting a little bit more progressivewhen it comes to the lgbt+ community just as a whole in the nation so in 2016 movingforward, what you feel would be effective lgbt+ programming for youth that hasn’tbeen implemented yet? jorian: repeat the question?

audience member: sure, so there’s a lotof lgbt+ youth centers across the nation, there’s already been doing a lot of greatwork, right. but with the, a lot of transitions have beenhappening, technology is ever changing, so in 2016 from your personal communities, yourpersonal experiences, what do you feel would be effective programming for our lgbt peoplethat you would like to see in centers today, especially around sexual health? jorian: one thing i can say if i take thatquestion is a campaign that we’re doing right now, it’s called positivo, i’m wantingto just say something about positivo, it talks about how my status change is live.

that might sound a little off, but if youthink about from a different perspective, it’s about i’m going around telling mystory for a specific reason, and i’m doing that so that people can take that, sit backand be like “oh, i did not know, tell me more.” it’s a catch. so what we’re working on right now is acampaign called positivo and we’re shedding light into the community, we’re changingthat word positivo which means positive and we’re changing it from a negative idea toa “positive idea,” quote/unquote. we’re trying to tell people in a communitythat being positive is not a bad thing anymore,

we’re in 2016 we have technology, we havemedicine, we have cocktail regiments on a daily basis that people can take once theyare diagnosed. and it’s more so telling people that it’speople of color or that are hiv positive or hiv negative that it doesn’t change anything. we still take care of our families, we stillgo to work on an everyday basis, we still take our medicine on an everyday basis. it doesn’t change anything. being positive does not change anything ina person’s life. it just changes your daily habit from goingfrom not taking a pill to taking a pill every

day. that’s the only change that’s ever goingto happen unless you want to get technical and be like “well you’re going to be onthis diet… you can’t eat this… you can’t do this…you gotta eat healthy.” listen, i’m fat, i’ll be straight up honestwith you. i am fat, i still take medicine every dayand i look and i learned a lot about myself when i got diagnosed with hiv. that campaign helped me a lot. it changed all my insecurities that what iused to look like and what i felt like to

a better perspective of like i’m body positive. i am fat-u-lous. i like to keep it that way. but with positivo we do that, we do that forthe community can see that it’s not a bad thing anymore. so that’s what we’re working on rightnow and we’re trying to get more people to get on it so you can look it up on positivoor go to google and and learn more about it and read more about it because that’sthe organization i work for and y’know hashtag louis: alright so our time is up, please givethese amazing warriors a great round of applause.

sex education in high school

thank you again for sharing time and spacewith us. take what you’ve learned and share it withthe community. do not keep this conversation in the room,take it outside this room and into your classrooms. thank you very much.

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