"We're Meant to Be Afraid of It" - what teenagers told UNICEF about sex education in I
U Reporters speak out about an unequal system of sex education and their experiences of discrimination. Our U Reporters are young people around Ireland that have registered with our global platform U Report to make their voices heard about current issues such as this. The opinions given to us from the platform are gathered by our team to identify what today’s youth feels about current world issues. To learn more about the U Report campaign visit www.unicef.ie/itsaboutus.
On April 4th, UNICEF hosted a workshop with some of their U Reporters, discussing inequalities within their schools and one of the main issues that kept resurfacing within our discussion was the lack of sex education and the discrimination that is often promoted in today’s schools by teachers and administrators.
“We had it, but it was replaced by choir.”
We heard stories about students who felt their teachers had made an issue of their sexual orientation, putting them in a position where they were made to feel ashamed of their identity. Some young people said their school provided abstinence classes, as an alternative to sex education.
We were impressed with our U Reporters’ desires to speak out. When discrimination and sex education is marginalised and put on the back burner, it’s easy to be discouraged from being an ally or believing that change can happen.
“We asked during sex ed if there was a type of sex that gay men have and they told us that it doesn’t exist.”
So what can you do to make a difference? Approach an administrator that you feel comfortable with and speak up. Tell them how you’re feeling and why you think these issues need to be addressed.
Don’t feel comfortable talking to a teacher about it? Host a lunchtime workshop with your peers to discuss issues like feminism and LGBTQ discrimination.
“If you want to find out more about contraception, someone would just shout because you’re a slut.”