I bet you didn’t know that today was Sexual Freedom Day. It’s not pre-printed on calendars, and it doesn’t have a color of ribbon. Why?
Because although sexual freedom day is in fact today, sexual freedom should be part of everyone’s life all the time. It is innately a human right, although it certainly is not treated as one.
Sexual freedom affects me often as an educator. I’ve had workshops on safer sex in college dorms (that I’ve offered to do pro-bono) turned down or canceled last minute because the topic of sex, even in a safer sex context, is “inappropriate” for college students. Someone is saying that these students, who are almost all 18 or over, will not have complete access to safer sex information because some random person or committee has decided that it is “inappropriate.” Let me tell you, the number of college students who are sexually active, and have never seen a dam or know how to use one, or who never thought about using a condom for fellatio or anal intercourse is staggering. Wouldn’t you say that they have the human right to know how to protect themselves and their bodies? And keep in mind, these are COLLEGE students.
Don’t get me started on sex education in middle and high schools. Some schools have shelved it completely, and many went to abstinence only education under the last administration. Some schools barely touched on puberty, and almost NO sex education programs cover identities; like LGTBQ, embracing sexuality with disability, asexuality, gender variance, etc. Basically, we’re telling all of these students that their identity, that their body changes, that their wants and needs are taboo, and that they don’t have the human right to get to learn about themselves, about who they are.
People can be turned away from housing in most states because of their gender presentation/identity, and sometimes their orientation. There goes the human right to have shelter. In more states than I care to list, people can be fired for being gay/lesbian/queer/bi, and in even more states, they can be fired for being trans, genderqueer, androgynous, etc. I’m sorry, but that is ridiculous. We chastise people for not having jobs, for being on unemployment…but then we don’t protect their right to work? Seems a bit silly, doesn’t it?
And the right to health care of some sort? Ha. I have domestic partner benefits through my partner…which are currently up in the air, because the state we live in voted to remove DP benefits from state employees. Luckily, a judge halted it before it went through, but there still is no final decision on that. Many workers through out the US don’t get DP benefits — some don’t get partner benefit, and others don’t get benefits at all. Being able to have a yearly check up, to choose what type of birth control/contraception (if any) that you would like to use — THAT is part of sexual freedom. Being denied benefits because of your sexual orientation? A flagrant violation of sexual freedom.
There is so much more. We could talk about adoption rights, we could talk about the right of a woman giving birth to be able to choose a midwife, a doula, or even just vaginal birth over a C-section. We could talk about bloggers losing their jobs, or being terrified of that happening. Of kinksters living their lives in closets. Of transgender and genderqueer people who live every day in fear because the huge amount of violence that has been wrought against their community.
Sexual freedom, and often the lack thereof, is everywhere. If you don’t think it affects you, think again.
What does sexual freedom mean to you? What does it look like as a human right? And what can we do to support sexual freedom?
Thanks to The Woodhull Foundation for putting together this Sexual Freedom Blog Carnival. Check out the Woodhull Foundation and their work towards increased sexual freedom.