Sex Education: More than just teaching abstinence
by Citlacti Carrera-López
“You know it's gay men who often contract HIV, and it's fatal”. A common phrase that typically sends out the message of a death sentence. In today’s academic life it is rare to see courses in schools that speak about sex education. And in the cases in which there is a course of sexual education, it usually deters from talking about sexual orientation and safe sex, and resorts to talking about abstinence or specifically sex education for heterosexual people.
In PANAMUN 29, many committees are bringing up new topics to the podium and striving to open a dialogue between the delegates in order to form resolutions as members of the UN. This year the committee of UNW is expanding their topics of debate from woman issues in today's society to the promotion of sex education in issues relating to human sexuality. Both online and in-person delegates have gathered to discuss the issue of sexual education in respect to their country.
In countries such as the United States the sex education curriculum strives more for a abstinent and conservative learning course, resulting in higher fertility rates in the ages of 15-19. On the other hand, Germany has been acknowledged for their implementation of sex education courses in schools towards children of the age of as young as 5. This open dialogue between delegations of countries as different as these, creates a learning environment where the discussion about values, perspectives and education promotes awareness and the incentive for delegates to immerse themselves into different countries' norms and try to improve them using critical thinking skills and teamwork.
The delegates are not only discussing about the lack of access in their countries regarding sex education, but are also discussing the impacts heterosexual education has on teenagers who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. The lack of inclusive sex education for queer and trans youth leaves them in the dark on basic information about their health, body and comfortability when it comes to themselves and others. Seeking implementation or the promotion of sex education courses in schools allows for all youth to feel comfortable with their own bodily autonomy, sexual orientation and allows for more responsible safe sex in their relationships.
Despite countries’ views on the implementation of inclusive sex education in schools, some areas within countries have made impactful strides to help queer youth and their confusion around the idea of sex. For example, in the United States, it is now a requirement for thirty-nine states to teach sex education and/or HIV education in schools. However, even impactful strides are not perfectly executed. From these 39 states, only 18 mandate sex and HIV education to be medically accurate.
PANAMUN 29 is evolving and helping to not only progress itself but allows for progression for delegates and the school. By speaking about controversial and disregarded topics, it demonstrates how in tune PANAMUN is with global issues and the goal of creating diplomats and world leaders through the art of debate.