A talk given (in French but English subtitles) during the annual Sexual Health Summit organized by Sexoblogue in June 2023
In this video, Magaly from SEX-ED + talks about the impacts of sexuality education and about the importance of de-centering our experience to better intervene with our diversity of audiences.
I’m super happy that you are able to participate in the second edition of the Sexual Health Summit. So for people who don’t know Magaly Pirotte is Canadian and she’s in Montreal she is a sexual health researcher and the founder of SEX-ED + which means “positive sex education” and you are going to talk about it. You create tools and distribute them internationally and you are going to talk about inclusivity in relation to sexuality education. So I’ll let you make your presentation.
Hello all! Today I’m going to talk to you about sexuality education, of course, but with inclusivity at the centre of our focus. As Arnaud mentioned, I come from a background of research in social and political sciences I’ve worked on social movements and political strategies and also women’s health movement and defense of sexual health and rights. I also worked as an organizer in non-profits.
Those last few years I have founded SEX-ED + . It is a project that has various parts:
- document genital diversity and create tools for professionals
- make this knowledge available to all via a 3D database which is not yet online but will soon be.
- Bring research to practitioners because when you’re a working on the field you don’t have much time to read what’s published. But research can inform our practices so it’s important to have access to it.
Three points serve as guidelines for my work:
- Focus the voices and expertise of the populations directly affected
- Ensure that each person has access to competent and appropriate services, information and care that respects their dignity, regardless of their bodies, identities, or experiences.
- And always bring back the fact that sexuality is political, that it does not exist in a vacuum, and that it happens within social dynamics that impact our lives and our journeys.
Why do we work in sexuality education?
Often it’s a passion, it’s a vocation. We do it because we have the desire to accompany people in their life journey which is an amazing privilege. It’s a job that we do with our heart. Sometimes, often, while volunteering and there is really no one who does this with a desire to discriminate or harm. And this is why sometimes it can be difficult to question oneself, to question one’s practices, because we put so much heart into what we do.
But this what I suggest we do together: we’re going to take a deep breath
then we’re going to look at our practices, our interventions and how sometimes, unintentionally, they can have impacts that are negative or sub-optimal in relation to the people we are working with. I will take examples that either I said or that have been said in a context where I was present. Other examples comes from research I conducted in which youth are talking about their experiences with sexuality education.
Before we begin I will invite you to remember the wise words of Jean Milburn, who is Otis’ mom in Sex Education and talks about what it’s like to be a “good” sex therapist.
That’s what we have to remember : “It’s not about you”.
It’s not about us, it’s really about the populations we want to serve and the impact we want to have. If we talk about inclusive practices, it is because de facto there are exclusive practices.
What do we mean when we talk about exclusion?
Often we think of exclusion as speaking ill of a person or a social group to refuse to treat them, to care for them, to insult them. We see this as acts that are individual, gross, and easily identifiable and reprehensible. If it was that, it would be really easy to have inclusive practices, because it would be easy to detect and then modify them.
What is exclusion really?
It’s a whole bunch of mechanisms that are subtle, involuntary and often undetectable by the person responsible for them. It takes a lot of shapes. It’s embedded in our social representations.
What are social representations?
It is everything that constitutes us as human beings, everything we think, our feelings, what is rooted in our history. Where do we come from? Who are we? Where were we born? What is the education we received? And all of this shape our social representations of what a “good life” is. What is “good” what we think is “good”. But an individual’s social representations are something that belongs to him/her/them and the other individuals who are there with us also have their own “set” of social representations.
What I want is for us to become aware of our social representations when we intervene,
be aware of the involuntary biases that we have, and begin an active deconstruction of these social representations. We need to know what they are, where they come from, to put them in a little box “ok this is who I am and what I think”and be able to de-center ourselves and be able to have empathy, an understanding of the experiences of others and of the diversity of their lives and journeys.
The mechanisms of exclusion (we will go over this very quickly)
W categorized them in a research we did with UQAM colleagues called “Promoting positive, inclusive and emancipatory sexuality education programs”.
It’s online you can contact me or contact Arnaud I’ll provide him with the link. If you want to know more, that’s where it comes from and so I created 5 categories (of exclusion mechanisms). For each of these categories, I’ll give examples because we are not going to talk about big concepts but about the concrete, about what is happening on the field. to see what we are doing and how can we improve our practices.
First mechanism is marginalization.
It is denying an individual or a group full participation, ostracizing them and in fact by extension denying them the opportunity to contribute fully and meaningfully to society and its debates. I’ll give you three examples of marginalization.
In Canada there was at one time a panic, probably created by the anti-abortion movement around the selective abortion of female fetuses by people who originated from Asia. It was assumed that preference for male children led to the selective abortions of female fetuses. This is something that has not been documented in Canada. But I have heard, in meetings, professionals saying that when a pregnant person was of Asian descent, they did not say the sex of the fetus, even if they had seen it.There was a refusal of care, a refusal to pass on information to a person on the basis of his/her/their belonging to X Y Z community.
Another example: many times sex-ed activities happen after school hours. We do this because we suppose that youth are available after school. But it is an assumption. It’s not a reality for everyone. There are young people who are in charge of the family, who have to pick up their little brother, their little sister at school, who have to cook for them or they have to go help their parents at the store or things like that. Sometimes you have to think that what works for a young person in fact does not work for another because they do not have the same realities, because they don’t belong to the same social class, they don’t have the same conditions.
Another example is the issue of having materials that are suitable for students of diverse abilities. That is to say that most of the time the educational material that we have and we don’t have a lot of it in sex education it is made for people who have no intellectual, cognitive or physical disabilities So the material is not suitable for people with visual impairments, for people with motor impairments, who have cognitive impairment and therefore they are in fact de facto excluded.
We see three examples of marginalization in which pedagogues at no time were actively trying to exclude people or communities but by failing to de-center themselves and to think about the diversity of the experiences of their public, they just failed to include them all.
Second category is stigmatization.
a mechanism that consists of blaming, criticizing, denigrating, humiliating, silencing, pathologizing or frightening and it has this specificity that it is internalized by people from those communities who internalize all the negative stereotypes An example from a young person from the LGBTQI+ community who says :
“The only time we talked about LGBTQI+ individuals in sex education was to say that men who have sex with other men are at higher risk of contracting STIs and HIV/AIDS. homosexuality is associated with the spread of infections.”
What impact did that have on this young man? He says later in the interview
“sex education reinforces the feeling that no one will ever love you, that you will never have a partner.”
We can agree that his sexuality education experience did not help him to associate homosexuality with something positive, joyfull and diverse. Actually what was positive for this person is the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy” which features
“a doctor who is a lesbian and is a very normal character and is portrayed in a positive way”.
So in the context of sexuality education, that person did not have access to a representation of homosexuality that was positive, diverse, that showed the richness and diversity of a community, of types of families, it was just associated with: “you are more at risk of getting AIDS”. So very negative impact and stigma. Another example (this is a real-life example). During an intervention someone says:
“FGM/C is a mutilation that is prohibited in this country. If you are at risk or if you know someone who is at risk you have to talk about it, there are laws that protect you and those responsible will be prosecuted. “
It starts with an excellent intention but what is the impact ? Young girls who are at risk of excision/infibulation are also in a context of migration and/or racialization which is associated with fear of the police, of legal proceedings, and of social services (like youth protection). If an intervention does not take this into account, the person at risk sure won’t talk about it, she sure won’t come and say she’s at risk of excision/infibulation. Because beyond the fear of excision and its repercussions there is also the fear of the repercussions on one’s family and on one’s life which can include deportation, judicialization, or foster care. What we call the DPJ (youth protection), I don’t know what it’s called for you. but in any case find themselves removed from their family in the name of their protection. What would have been a much more positive impact? to say:
” FGM/C is a practice that is common in certain countries, but it is not allowed here. If it is a question that concerns you and you want to talk about it, there are organizations and specialized resources that can accompany you, with or without your family with workers who speak several languages. ” And you provide resources and websites.
It takes out the idea of legalization and prosecution which will very likely prevent the young person from talking about their situation There again, the pedagogue have only seen one facet of the experience, i.e. “this person is at risk of excision” there was a failure to take into account the other facets of this young person’s experience which is to live in a migratory and/or racialized context that puts you at increased risk of police violence, incarceration, judicialization, and deportation. Another example here. (I’ll cut some to fit in time but this one I find really interesting because it’s been said many times), I’ve said it before too:
“for people coming from minority cultural communities, coming out is often difficult within families”.
So we start from a position that is more or less informed about the fact that certain communities have difficulty accepting homosexuality. What’s the impact? We mean well but by generalizing we assume that an entire community is homophobic. It can be a hurtful generalization for the young person, because they are not only LGBTQI+. They are also someone who comes from this community, which is certainly not as monolithic when you think, and once again we only focus on one facet of their experience i.e: the difficulty of being queer when you come from a minority cultural background but we never mention the other side of the experience, which is that when you’re LGBTQ+ and that you come from a minority cultural community, you have to negotiate both your queer identity in your family/community, which can be more or less easy, and you also have to negotiate the racism that you experience in the queer community. Because racialized people in the queer world are going to be exoticized, fetishized, they’re going to be assigned racial stereotypes that have absolutely no place and so again there are a multiplicity of facets to being queer and coming from minority cultural communities but as educators, often part of the white majority, we think of just one aspect, we do not think of the other, whereas for this young person these two realities are absolutely inseparable and one does not not go without the other. So again: we remember who we are, we remember where we come from, we remember what our experience is and we try to project ourselves into the experiences of others. There were no bad intentions but it can be harmful nonetheless
Another category of exclusion: invisibilization.
Here I’ll take the examples of a young lesbian and a young trans guy
“I remember my first time: two vulvae I didn’t know what to do, in sex education we always talk about penises + vagina. I had to google: “how to have lesbian sex.””
The other person who is a young trans says:
“It’s not normal that it’s the internet that taught me the words necessary to talk about myself, I should have learned that at school.”
We have two people actually who have had sexuality education, but obviously the sexuality education that they receive did not give them the information they needed, when they needed it. So they had to go on the internet so they probably stumbled upon a whole bunch of nonsense and falsehood and probably pornography that wasn’t what they were were looking for at that time because they just wanted answers to their questions and therefore in the educational context we really failed in our task.
And what are the impacts? It can be very very serious, beyond the anecdote. We have a young trans who says to us:
“If I had access to inclusive sexuality education, I would have understood earlier why I was feeling so bad about myself. I could have started medical procedures earlier and done my coming out four years before.”
We have a person who, because his identity was not mentioned to him who did not have access words and concepts that could explain his unhappiness and the possibilities that could exist, delayed his coming out for four years. We know that young trans people are particularly at risk of suicide and depression. Four years can be a long time when you don’t know where you’re going, before you come out It could have been so simple that in the context of sexuality education to mention trans identities, that it exists, that it is a possibility, that it can be great and that there are resources that exist for young people who are questioning.
Another invisibilization: the sexuality of cisgender women.
“They tell you all the negative things: it hurts, you should wait,you can get something, you know everything that can go wrong,but they never talk about the good things.”
“I’m pretty sure the clitoris was never mentioned. How can you teach sex education without ever mentioning the clitoris?”
And then there’s a quote in English that I haven’t had time to translate but basically it’s several girls talking in a focus group and saying: “I had never heard of the word orgasm until until I was 14 yo, it’s like we never talk about it we talk about boys, boys, their orgasm, and everything, I didn’t even know girls could have an orgasm until I was 14yo.”
What happens in sexuality education is that (cis)women’s pleasure is made invisible and that has consequences for empowerment, people assigned women at birth should be told what they can aspire to when they engage in a sexual relationship that consent is not just saying no, that consent is also saying: Yes! Then know what to say yes to. That you have the right to expect: to have pleasure, to have orgasms, to be respected. But we keep mum about sexuality and pleasure and that it is damaging. It’s finally as if the girls are a little bit passive and that everything is about on men and their sexuality those stereotypes are very damaging: you have the irrepressible sexuality of young boys and young girls who ultimately have to be a little bit the “guardians of the temple” and of their virginity. It impacts how you can envision yourself as a sexual agent and here is a quote from young girls who says that since we never talk about pleasure and then about sexuality in positive terms for girls, she says:
“It made me feel that sex is wrong and that succumbing to it is a sign of weakness. I think if I had learned a little bit more about the fact that sexuality is a healthy, normal activity that can make us feel good, it would have changed a lot of things.”
We see that the impact is really, really heavy for this person. Thinking that sex is wrong and makes you feel guilty… I know that when we’re in a pedagogical context there is a discomfort We don’t know how to talk about these things, we don’t know how to talk about pleasure in sexuality, we think the class is going to laugh, to sneer, it’s going to make a hubbub and chaos will ensue. It may. But it’s super important because otherwise we’re only talking about the sexuality of straight men and not of others. and invisibility has got consequences. Moving on I’ll just read another quote. A young girl who says:
“The teachers, they always talk about the boys,they explain everything there is to know about them, what they should do, not do, but about us they tell us just not to lose our virginity.”
We’re not getting far with that. Here we are missing the opportunity to give everyone tools to navigate their sexuality.
Generalization of a single normative model:
It’s the same in terms of social representations it’s thinking that everyone comes with the same experiences. I’ll give you two examples and it’s a bit that are a bit tough. Something that is often said in a sexuality education context is:
” The first time is important. When all the conditions are met, with the partner with whom we are in love, and who we trust, it opens the door to a beautiful sexuality. “
And indeed, a beautiful first time is great and it opens the door to a beautiful sexuality. Except that we are absolutely certain that whatever the context in which we teach there will be one or more people for whom the entry into sexuality will not have been a great experience, with trust and love. Being aware of incest statistics, children’s violence statistics, sexual assault rates, there are many people for whom the first time was not fun (or even the times after) When we say that we are not not “trauma-informed” we don’t pay attention to how people who entered into sexuality with violence, shame and pain will feel. And finally it’s like we don’t let them dangle the possibility that they too can have access to a beautiful sexuality even if their first time wasn’t great.
Another example, it even was mentioned a couple of days ago during a conference I organized. You go to the doctor or a Planning and they say:
“Well if you are to become sexually active it’s important to plan your method of birth control.”
Yes indeed. But there are people for whom there will be no need for a contraceptive method, we will have to talk about STI’s protection and safer sex practices. We have to take into account these people because if we don’t mention them, we marginalize them. We talk of a single model, as if all people will enter into heterosexual sexuality will enter into sexuality without constraint, without coercion, without violence.
It’s not the reality, so our approach needs to take this diversity into account otherwise we push people back on the margins. If we summarize and center the voices of young people we will take this example there because often sexuality education is with young people but it can be destined to a diversity of audiences.
What do young people want?
- Positive and diverse models of sexuality.
- They want to see themselves, see their experiences represented, in their diversity
- They don’t want to be assigned to pre-determined categories based on their gender assigned at birth their ethnicity, their disability, etc.
- They want to be recognized as individuals in their own right
- and they want us to address the relational aspects of sexuality not just reproduction, STIs, all that.
They get into sexuality, they have questions, they need to be equipped, informed they want to know and it’s our role to give them the tools necessary to navigate that. Here is another quote from a young person :
“We weren’t allowed to ask questions, they didn’t even mention the different sexual or gender orientations. It was pretty much reduced to: here is your anatomy , good luck!”
That’s really what we don’t want sex education to look like.
Why is inclusion important?
Because we never want a young person to say this to us:
“It’s like, shit! If you’re not represented, if you don’t see yourself when we talk about human sexuality, well, you’re just not human . You’re just not human because you’re not included and that’s really fucked up.”
You never want a kid to feel like this.
You never want an adult to feel like this.
Feels that they are not human because we haven’t included their reality in sexuality. We are all humans, in our diversity. Sexuality education is really important. It touches on many more subjects than sex: it touches on our relationship to our body, the changes that take place in life, consent, family relationships, etc.
It touches on a multiplicity of things and as a pedagogue we have the possibility of playing a role in the lives of people, we have the capacity to equip them, to accompany them, but the way in which we do that, as seen with the previous examples, can result sometime in harm, can just contribute to the status quo, but what is great is that it can also have an absolutely tremendous positive impact to equip them and help to emancipate them.
So, concretely, what do we do?
This is the big question because beyond the big statements, what do we do day to day, concretely, in our practice? There is one thing that we don’t do in any case, it’s the strategy of “additional modules”. I’ll explain to you what it is and why we don’t do that.
The strategy of additional modules in fact, is keeping our sexuality education curriculum exactly as it is and adding one or two sessions on, for example, the fight against homophobia and transphobia and I .. the inclusion the inclusion of sexuality of people with disabilities. Doing that, while being well-meaning, is actually contributing to re-marginalize those things, those identities, those experiences because we still have a curriculum that’s centered around the majority experience, white, straight, based on penetration, with full physical capacities, etc. And we “add” that we must not discriminate others. But by adding that as an additional module at the end, it contributes to reinforce marginalization, the fact that this is not part of the “norm”.
So what do we do? We take what was not in our curriculum and we integrate it transversely. Through our examples, and through our pedagogical supports, and through everything we do, we are sure and certain of having included examples of people who have diverse disabilities, who are ethnically diverse, who are of queer diversity and in fact we give space to all experiences to normalize them because all of these experiences are human, and all of these experiences should be named, be considered, And all of these people have the right to receive information about their reality.
We don’t panic, quite simply.
It can seem huge all of a sudden. We can say ohlala! I have to keep up with all these realities: trans people, intersex people, racialization, racism, I don’t know, etc. We don’t panic and we breathe. These people, these realities, they’ve always been in our classrooms. It’s just that now we are hearing the voices that were unheard for the longest time. So it’s just catching up. We have to catch up all the time, anyway. If you have been practising for a long time, you know we don’t practice the same way than 10 years ago than 20 years ago, and that in 5 years it will be different from now. So ultimately it’s part of an ongoing education.
We continue to learn about best practices in sexuality education.
We attend conferences, we read blogs, we read Sexoblogue, Whatever your jam but we keep up to date with what is happening in our field of practice. We develop our soft skills too. It’s not just our knowledge of sexuality education it’s how we transmit it, how we deconstruct our social representations, which are anchored in who we are, where we come from and we decenter ourselves to better welcome and accommodate the diversity of our audience. Also super important to me is we build knowledge about the audience we’re talking to and that’s where we’re really, really lucky because how can you learn about what 15-year-olds are thinking? We have social media and that is absolutely wonderful. Follow young people who are influencers, who talk about their queer reality , who talk about their trans reality, who talk about their reality of dating with disabilities. We have absolutely phenomenal access to their voices, Their experiences and how they perceive themselves. And so by simply following people on social media we are able to catch up on a lot of discussions, a lot of realities, and we agree that most sexuality educators are not 15 years old. But it’s super important if it’s our public to know where they are at, what they are thinking, what’s going on in this age category at this time and to know it from their own point of view.
And last point: we develop an understanding of social contexts and their impacts on bodies and relationships.
I’m going to come back to that because that’s the part about sexuality and politics. In the research report that we did with the colleagues from UQAM we issued recommendations. we talked about the role and function of the pedagogue. I am going to read you this recommendation:
Pedagogues must act in a proactive and egalitarian manner. This imperative requires, among other things, an ability to identify and deconstruct one’s own misunderstandings and prejudices so as not to diffuse them in the classroom, not to reinforce and reproduce unequal power relations and to avoid applying a double standard because all these behaviours have a negative impact
1) on young people whose identities and practices and experiences diverge from the norm and
2) on those who are in the majority and who cannot de-center from their own experience
So we have to work on how we approach our teaching practice for young people who are marginalized but also for all the others because these others will be in contact in their lives with people who have diverse experiences and we have to develop knowledge, acceptance and solidarity between people,
So there when I told you that you have to be open to what’s going on in the world I come back to the idea at the start it’s that sexuality isn’t lived in a vacuum it’s not something which is experienced only between individuals yes, it is something relational, but it is also lived in a political context which is shaped by a diversity of axes of oppression and privileges whether it is race, class, context migration, gender, etc. so we have a whole bunch of things that actually impact how our sexualities are lived, how our families are lived, how our lives are ultimately lived.
And if we don’t take this into account we fail a part of our sexuality education intervention. I’ll give you an example that since I live in North America for me it’s closer for you it might be further but you’ll get the idea (conference was in France)
In the United States we have a very pregnant stereotype which is the Black single mom family with an absent father. It is a statistic reality. If we take this statistic at face value that fathers of African-American origin are absent and mothers raise their families alone. We are really very, very far from having a global understanding of this reality. Which is that in the United States there is a system that is extremely discriminating against racialized people, specifically black men. That 1/3 of them will experience incarceration in their lifetime, that there is a lot of police harassment, police brutality, that there are a lot of unjustified incarcerations or for trifles, that black men are perceived as dangerous and delinquent bodies. There is also a whole capitalist system of private jails that must be kept full because it brings in a lot of money for the states.
So there we have a situation where a third of black men will go through prison at some point in their lives for various and diverse reasons, while they will be in jail will not earn money so will not be able to pay their alimony. And when they get out of jail they will have difficulty finding a job because they went through jail. And they will have an arrest warrant on them because they are late in paying child support.
So we have something that makes an absolute system (political- social- economic) on why ultimately African-American families have statistically more absent fathers and it’s not related to the morality and to the personal conditions of the people who are in the relationship. There is like a whole systemic relationship to how one can live with one’s family in a context where racism and incarceration are omnipresent. And discrimination. If we intervene with young girls from African-American communities in the United States and we talk about a family project without including all these considerations, we completely miss out on a successful intervention because we are not able to contextualize the lived experience of these people and to provide them the tools to make sense of a reality that will affect them , that will potentially concern them and that taint their lives in an absolute way.
This is an example, it may seem far away, but I am sure that in France there is a multiplicity of contexts where certain realities, certain statistics, must be considered within a broader analytical framework in order to be able to put the reality of the people in the center.
I’m going to finish the last three slides Being almost on time so I am quite happy with it.
What I’d like you to bring home with you once this talk is done. is that sexuality education really has an impact and that there are principles that allow us to really update ourselves in our practices and do little checkpoints “Did I do that? Did I do that? Is that in my course? For me, it’s really about going back to a sexuality education that is positive, inclusive and emancipatory.
What does positive mean?
- We recognize the right of people to have a sexuality – or not (all people)
- We promote the idea that sexuality is a source of pleasure and well-being
- We recognize that desire plays a role in the decisions people make
- We encourage everyone to reach their full sexual potential regardless of the form of this, without judgment, as long as the parties involved are consenting.
- We recognize the ability of each and everyone of us to make the best choices in relation to our sexual and reproductive lives, in the context that is ours because our choices are often limited by our contexts and our possibilities
Inclusive sexuality education:
- takes into account the diversity of bodies, experiences and identities.
- Reflects this diversity in the content we offer and in the teaching materials we use.
- adapts its content and pedagogical approaches to the different abilities of the audience.
- Takes into account the needs and expertise of the target audience and integrates all realities in its curriculum.
Because each audience members have the right to receive the information they need to make informed choices in their intimate lives regardless of their identities, abilities or experiences it doesn’t make sense that some people don’t get the information they need
Emancipatory sexuality education
- highlights the links between different systems of oppression/privilege and sexuality. For example, which bodies are considered desirable or undesirable? Who has access to privacy? Who has the ability to make choices?
- It helps to make sense of social, political and economic dynamics and their impact on sexuality and to politicize experiences.
- It’s allowing to transform a singular experience into a collective one. Of making the personal political.
- It’s allowing to make sense of what we experience at the intimate level
- helps to point the finger at the systems that impact our affective and sexual lives, for example racism, ableism, fatphobia, rape culture, cisterosexism, classism etc. and in doing so, it’s not just pointing the finger, it’s pointing at ways to dismantle those systems and to emancipate ourselves, individually and collectively. It’s a process of empowerment.
- Finally, sexuality education is part of an active process of achieving social justice.
All of this can only have a positive impact for the people who are directly affected, for the people who are not directly affected but who will interact with the people directly affected at some point in their lives. it also has a positive impact for us in our practice because when we de-center ourselves, when we explore the complex realities of what is on the margin of our own experience, we develop new understandings and that makes us better pedagogues and practitioners.
For me, what really really revolutionized my way of thinking about sexuality is to read texts and stories on lesbian sex, on kink, on sexuality with disabilities. It allowed me to completely rethink my notions of consent, my notions of sexuality without genitality, and thoughts about simultaneity of pleasure. In any case, it really helped me to open up how I thought about sexuality and sexual possibilities because I was introduced to something that wasn’t in my practice and in my knowledge. And I think we all have to gain from really seeking out words and expertise “by and for”
Let’s agree that everything I talked about is not easy. We may lack time and resources and there are obstacles, we may be pressured by the institutions, the school principal, the parents, we face a whole bunch of obstacles in our practices. There are also counter movements that are starting to be very vocal.
But then you have to choose your strategies. For me, through the SEX-ED +, I chose to go with totally in-your-face strategy, and it was surprisingly effective. when I started the project 5-6 years ago Many professionals were telling me: “I’m not comfortable talking about trans-identities, I’m not trained” It’s just and example, but they did not talk about trans -identities, they didn’t know how to, when I created SEX-ED + materials, I made sure they would include all identities, that they would be visible.Even if you buy the body reproduction of cisgender folks, it will be mentioned they are cisgender, It will de facto make visible the fact that there is a trans reality. It’s a political stance that I took, I made those products available to professionals and they are used in a great variety of sexuality education contexts and because I chose this head-on strategy of visibility, it means that we can no longer avoid the question, it does not rely anymore on the people who are in the class to say:
“hey! my identity is not represented, why isn’t anyone talking about me?”
By making diversity visible and literally laying it on the table. People who weren’t comfortable and who didn’t know how to talk about it, they had no choice but to train themselves when they started using SEX-ED + material, and then I’m sure as a result their practice is more rich, and they feel like a lot better in their practice.
And it’s what I wish for us: that we are delighted by the work that we do. Because it’s a privilege to accompany people in their development, in their knowledge of themselves And that comes with a whole lot of challenges but in the end it is really really a great privilege and I thank us all for all of the work that we do because it’s important and we don’t say it often enough but as much as we need to highlight our shortcomings and our blind spots, we also have to highlight our strengths and the tremendous work we do so we have to always be in this kind of mixture of gratitude and second-guessing.
That’s it, I leave you I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you with words, you can contact me through Arnaud or through the site www.positivesexed.org and I will be happy to answer to your questions, to give additional information, or anything. On that note I wish you an excellent evening, thank you!
Thank you very much Magaly for this intervention which was extremely enlightening and enriching with almost philosophical aspects, while remaining pragmatic and therefore really it was great I hope we will have the opportunity to continue our partnerships and to work together because indeed we have very complementary practices and I find that your approach is really great
I am a basic caregiver so so all of a sudden everything about political science and everything I don’t know too much about but suddenly you open up a lot of things to me and so suddenly well thank you also to all the participants who were very numerous and before jumping in your car and going to eat a good poutine don’t forget that there is still one last intervention while waiting for this intervention if you want we can try to chat for another minute in the chat window see you right away