(Hello Again) and Infinite Props to NY Presbyterian
July 31, 2009 § 2 Comments
First of all, let me just say that I’m thrilled to be returning to Women’s Glib after my embarrassingly long vacation. I’ll be better from now on, I swear!
I recently attended a health and sexual education class provided by NY Presbyterian hospital. The class was mandatory for all Summer Youth Employment Program employees, and, needless to say, I was dreading it like no other. I’ve been to so many sex ed classes that skirt around issues, don’t delve into anything that isn’t strictly fact, and seem like their goal is to make people less comfortable, not more informed. Why should this one be any different?
To my surprise, this one was totally different, and here’s why:
The class was taught by a mix of people, some teenagers and some professionals. While, yes, there were some cringe worthy one-liners such as, “um… does anyone um… know what um… the scrotum is?” there were some really great benefits to having this class taught by teens. It was pretty clear that my whole class felt at ease because the environment was less like a class, and more like a conversation. My favorite quote from one of our peer educators was, “You gotta tie of the condom and throw it in the trash, not out the window, would you want a nasty condom falling on your head?” When things got confusing, or some of the facts weren’t straight, there were trained professionals to step in and clear everything up.
Which brings me to my second point… we were taught by people who hadn’t just taking a week long crash course in health education. These people actually worked in the NY Presbyterian clinic. They had, quite literally, seen it all. Nothing that they told us sounded like a text book recitation. This resulted in a much more engaging class, because no one was trying to separate these issues from real life. Since the conversation had that tone, we had surprisingly open debates about ethical issues as well as the symptoms of gonorrhea and how to put on a condom.
My classmates totally opened up. They asked great questions, and others provided great answers. Some told deeply personal stories, and were not afraid to express their views, no matter how controversial they were. At first I was a little nervous when one of my classmates expressed his feelings on abortion. He believed that the decision for a woman to have an abortion should be a “fifty-fifty thing,” and a woman should not have one if her partner is willing to take care of the child himself. I ended up being glad he said it though, because we had a lively debate which would have otherwise never occurred! Young women were exclaiming, “But do you have to carry it for 9 months?” One young man (and this is possibly the highlight of my day) said, “Nah, it’s gotta be ninety-ten.”
We all left the class feeling satisfied, and, most importantly, knowing much more. I am so shocked by this experience that I just wanted to share it with all of you!
There will be more where this came from.