Cultural Sensitivity: Raising Awareness of Issues Surrounding Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
By: Janet Tinkham, Education/Outreach Coordinator of AIDS Response Effort, Inc.
November's Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in honor of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed that year. A vigil was held to acknowledge all of the transgender people who were victims of violence that year. November 20 became the date that is recognized annually not only to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of anti-transgender violence, but to continue the fight for justice. To this day there is still anti-transgender bigotry and violence directed at individuals who strive for basic human rights and the freedom to live in peace. We CAN join forces and work together to illicit change. The first step is to educate ourselves so that we may go forward to help raise awareness, understanding and compassion for those transgender people who are so misunderstood, and marginalized in today’s society.
Draw the Line, Respect the Line
By: Liz Verrecchia, of JMU's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
This year, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in Page County will be involved in the Draw the Line, Respect the line program. Page County has higher rates of teen sexual activity in comparison to other parts of the state. In Page County, 12.6% of eighth graders reported ever having sexual intercourse. For girls ages 10-19 in Page County, the rate of teen pregnancy is 27.7, significantly higher than the average rate in the state of Virginia, 18.6 (VA Center for Health Statistics, 2011). Addressing that problem begins by assisting students in developing a foundation based on the knowledge of personal limits. This, in turn, allows students to develop and maintain healthy sexual limits to reduce their risk from HIV, other STI and unplanned pregnancy.
The Draw the Line, Respect the Line curriculum is based on the following principles:
- Not having sexual intercourse is the healthiest sexual limit for students.
- Students can set their sexual limits.
- Students can be motivated to maintain their limits.
- Students may encounter challenges to their limits.
- Students can overcome challenges to their limits.
- Students who respect the limits of others will be less coercive.
- Each student has unique needs.