UNDRESSED is a new project of The Flow House aiming at speaking about topics that move the GENERATION XYZ. It’s about change, boldness, movement, engagement. We are building a collective of young writers, creators, artists – ready to put political issues in a trendy, bold and artistic way into the world. Do you want to be a part of this adventure? Show us what moves you with pictures, texts, videos: send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
One or two hours. Risks. Heterosexuality. Condom on a Banana. Does it ring a bell?
Of course, it’s about our vanishing memories of sex education in school.
We may speak for a whole generation if we say that sex education, wherever we are in this world, didn’t leave us prepared enough for real life.
Young people need to know what rights they have and how they can claim them.
In a time where homophobic hate crimes are rising, cases of sexual violence are making headlines and misogyny and toxic masculinity are present on a daily basis – we are in need of a place where all these issues can be discussed, preventively and on a neutral basis – for and with the young generation. Sex education is the place where we could discuss these burning, fundamental questions in life: relationships, sexualities, genders, identities, feelings, masculinity and consent. What is more defining than our gender or sexuality? Maybe in which family or which country you were born in. But frankly, the gender you were born in, your feelings, your identity and the gender(s) you are attracted to is a key point in life. It is the most natural and basic thing. Why is it then given so little space for discussion in education systems around the globe?
School is the only place where every child could get the same information without any discrimination. If schools are not taking up the issues of homosexuality, different kinds of masculinity or the importance of consent, if these issues are not treated in a neutral, fact-based, and informed way, we miss out on giving young generations a chance to understand the world and themselves. But it’s about even more than that. It’s about relationships, about feelings, about prevention, about pleasure. It’s about having a healthy relationship with oneself. It’s about respect.
Sex education should support us in understanding and discovering our sexuality and that of other people. The educational lessons should help us to better understand our personal sexuality and to be able to communicate about it. That is why the youth must be involved. Young people should participate in the designing of sex education lessons. This is the only way that sex education can meet their individual questions and needs. Further, sex education should help young people to develop a critical opinion in order to understand influences, for example from social media and society in general. Sexuality is closely intertwined with various areas of life, as well as with cultural and religious traditions. Therefore, topics such as interpersonal relationships, communication, boundaries and role models should be addressed in the classroom. Sex education should be taught by specialists or teachers trained for this purpose in order to guarantee quality. The teaching content should correspond to the latest state of science. Young people want facts, not the personal opinions of persons or institutions. Likewise, all young people should have the same access to sex education – regardless of their place of residence, culture and religion, and regardless of whether they are disabled or not. Young people need to know what rights they have and how they can claim them. Because sexual rights, such as the right to education, physical integrity and privacy, are part of human rights.
Wouldn’t it be beautiful and reassuring to know, to have the security, that every child hears the message that they have the right to be whoever they want to be, that they can love whoever they love, they can feel attracted to any genders, and that they learn about the diversity behind the most fundamental thing of being human: gender, sexuality, and pleasure.
About the author: Noemi Grütter is a human rights activist, culture and fashion lover and everyday kickass. Currently doing a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action at Sciences Po Paris. She is a former campaigner for Amnesty International and was active in several international organizations in Europe and South America. She is a former Youth Delegate to the United Nations and knows the needs, ambitions and challenges of the GEN XYZ in all its diversity. Always looking for new challenges and stories she is happy to hear about your ideas, arguments, innovations.
Text & Photography: Noemi Grütter
Model: Remi Mulemba
In exclusive for: The Flow House