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Sex Education Is Also a Right

Inter Press Service | 11-13-2012

Learning about respect in a relationship, sexual orientation, sexuality, gender equality and family planning forms part of the right to sex education that is still not enjoyed by all children and adolescents in Latin America.

“They talk to us in school about teen pregnancy and safe and responsible sex,” Leonardo Martínez, a 12-year-old student in Havana, told IPS. “I did homework about children’s rights, and thanks to that we learned more about how important sex education is.”

However, Javier García, who is the same age, commented, “We have to talk more about other things,” after participating in a community meeting about violence against women as part of a national event that was held this month in eight Cuban provinces. “We experience these differences, but we don’t know how to deal with them.”

“Sexuality needs to be thought of in terms of pedagogy and human rights. We need to move from a medical approach to a more educational approach,” said Argentine sexologist Mirta Marina, coordinator of her country’s National Programme for Comprehensive Sex Education.

Latin America is “going through a process of development” in this field, but “it still has many restrictions, mostly because of the conservatism that has been passed down for centuries, which makes it difficult to talk about these matters within the family and at school,” Marina told IPS in Havana, during a regional meeting on comprehensive sex education.

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