NEWS

Sex ed for all

Heterosexual individuals are not the only ones seeking sexual education classes; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community need them too.

All individuals are invited to participate in a sex education workshop, which is one of many events put on by the Ripple Effect. The Ripple Effect is a weekly health series that addresses topics and health disparities that relate to the LGBTQ community. This week’s topic is Advanced Queer Sex Ed, which is specifically geared toward same-sex relationships.

“I really like it (the workshops) since the people who come in are so incredibly knowledgeable about their topics,” said Christina Bischoff, a junior studying ecology and evolutionary biology, who classifies herself as queer. She is also one of the co-directors for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Pride Alliance.

“One nice thing is that they’re really catered toward LGBTQ people and I think that’s something you’re not going to find anywhere else on campus,” Bischoff said.

The event will be held today from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Kiva Room of the Student Union Memorial Center. The last time the sex education session was held, 40 to 50 people attended, Bischoff said.

Lauren Pring, from Health Promotion and Preventive Services and Jai Smith, one of last year’s Pride Alliance co-directors, will speak at the workshop. Smith now works at Wingspan and the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation.

“We came up with this curriculum where every week we sort of discuss a different topic that will hopefully improve some of those disparities,” Bischoff said.

This semester, there will be sessions on alcohol, healthy relationships, suicide prevention, loving your body, violence prevention and stress management.

“A lot of people do assume that, for some reason, we (the LGBTQ community) don’t experience domestic violence, but actually the statistics are pretty high for our community,” said Greg Daniels, a pre-physiology junior who classifies himself as gay. This year, he is an intern with Pride Alliance.

The last suicide prevention workshop especially made a difference for Daniels. He said he still deals with depression on a day-to-day basis.

“I think it (the suicide prevention workshop) helps me,” Daniels said. “Last year, that one was really powerful.”

Having the workshops available creates resources for him and friends who may need them, he said. During the suicide prevention workshop, people paired off in groups of two or three and were given a scenario that they might possibly have to deal with. As a group, they would decide what they would do in that type of situation, Daniels said.

The sexual education workshop is more about same-sex relationships. Rather than solely focusing on condoms, there will also be discussion of dental dams and gloves, “since only certain people have the need for condoms,” Bischoff said. Classes provided in middle or high schools were usually geared more for heterosexual individuals, Daniels said.

The sex education session will also address general health topics such as sexually transmitted diseases, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancies, Bischoff said.

It is important for people to know resources such as the Ripple Effect are available because not many people are aware of it, Daniels said. Heterosexual individuals also like attending the sessions if they have LGBTQ friends.

“The workshops are getting bigger and bigger each year and I think that’s just based off the fact that there’s a lot of positive information,” Daniels said.


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