Even when it seems like the rest of the world is not.
Sexual health and access to necessary medical help and information has been an ongoing battle in the forefront of LGBTQ+ rights.
Tuesday, Sept. 4 was World Sexual Health Day, an awareness day that promotes global advocacy to promote the best practices in sexual health, according to the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) website.
Yet, only a day prior to the celebration of seuality and inclusivity, two women in Malaysia that were publicly caned and fined for being found guilty for attempting gay sex in a car this previous spring. World Sexual Health Day is an attempt to ensure equal sexual rights globally across the board.
Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality, not just the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity, the WAS website states. It requires a “positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships,” as well as the possibility of experiencing pleasure, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Here are the 16 WAS rights to Sexual Health:
1. The right to equality and non-discrimination
2. The right to life, liberty, and security of the person
3. The right to autonomy and bodily integrity
4. The right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
5. The right to be free from all forms of violence and coercion
6. The right to privacy
7. The right to the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual health; with the possibility of pleasurable, satisfying, and safe sexual experiences
8. The right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its application
9. The right to information
10. The right to education and the right to comprehensive sexuality education
11. The right to enter, form, and dissolve marriage and other similar types of relationships based on equality and full and free consent
12. The right to decide whether to have children, the number and spacing of children, and to have the information and the means to do so
13. The right to the freedom of thought, opinion, and expression
14. The right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly
15. The right to participation in public and political life
16. The right to access to justice, remedies, and redress
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of World Sexual Health Day, WAS promotes sexual health and rights as fundamental for all.
Recent advancements in LGBTQ+ sexual health rights include the signing of Assembly Bill 2719, which made access to health care easier for LGBTQ+ seniors.
“It’s incredibly important that we ensure LGBTQ older adults have access to the services and support they need to maintain their health and live their lives with dignity,” Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur said in a statement. “We’re deeply grateful to Gov. Brown for signing AB 2719 and to Assemblymember Irwin for being such a strong champion for our LGBTQ elders.”
Other state-wide advancements are in the classroom, as more health classes begin to teach more LGBTQ+-inclusive curriculums. The Los Angeles Unified School District implemented the Rodriguez Resolution for the new school year, which promotes the following:
• Recognize October as LGBTQ+ History Month
• Mandate a high school textbook adoption committee to work with the Division of Instruction to include students as part of the committee
• Increase LGBTQ+ competency training for educators, staff, administrators and parents
• Add a platform to achieve.lausd.net that shares LGBTQ+ information and resources.
• Conduct an analysis of single user, all gender bathrooms to find out whether they are compliant with State Law AB1732
Even literature is becoming more inclusive of the queer community. August McLaughlin’s “Girl Boner” has an informative chapter explaining that sexuality should and must be inclusive of the trans, genderqueer, non-binary and otherwise non-cisgendered community.
But as California advances, the country warily looks to the Federal Administration, particularly President Donald Trump’s most recent selection, Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court.
“If confirmed, Brett Kavanaugh will have a chance to ensconce President Trump & Vice President Pence’s hate-fueled anti-LGBTQ agenda on the nation’s top court for decades to come,” Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD said in a press release on Wednesday. “In a nation that has only forged forward in our affirmation of rights for women, LGBTQ people, immigrants & all vulnerable people, Kavanaugh’s confirmation threatens our progress, as well as our deepest & most closely held American values.”