Why Are We Still Skeptical About Introducing Sex Education In Schools?

I still remember being in 10th grade and asking my teacher about the difference between the organs of a transgender person and that of a male or female. The teacher, who was not more than 27 years old, denied answering my question with a smug face. Well, I still had mates whom I had to explain that crossing of ‘x’ and ‘y’ chromosomes shaped biological sex, and that being a gay and a transgender person are two different things altogether.

Shouldn’t educational institutions be ashamed for real? Not while teaching “that” chapter of a biology  textbook, but after knowing how their students come to really understand its meaning—the means through which they access this sensitive information. Just reading the text and skipping the teaching part of “that” chapter won’t automatically insert the practical meaning of it in their heads.

It’s not okay to have a preconceived notion that everything is understood eventually or that maturity teaches everything.

Showing a movie about the menstrual cycle and the demo only to the girls in a co-ed school didn’t help in overcoming the taboo either. Moreover, it only had the girls whispering about it, and the boys asking “what happened in your special lectures?”. There wasn’t anything we could say really. Because we were conditioned to be shush about it, to not let that bra-strap show anyhow. There’s none or very little that will change in efforts to normalize ‘everything’ now when what the schools are doing is just forcing a kid’s ears shut even to the mildest utterances of the ‘S’ word.

And NO, it is NOT okay. It’s not okay to have a preconceived notion that everything is understood eventually or that maturity teaches everything. No, it doesn’t. Because that one friend who got ‘porn’ for them didn’t voice out that increasing breast-size is as normal as them having newly-grown stubble. It’s high time we stop levying rules and barriers on girls and start questioning where are we going wrong in building a neutral society with thoughts that don’t question our morale.

Featured image for representation only. Source: Getty Images
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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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