January has been a very important month for Advocacy! 2014 kicked off with some very encouraging comments by David Cameron supporting sex education needing a change to protect the girls that are affected by sexual violence, something all too common place in the UK. This led to the House of Lords vote on 28th January where the motion for statutory SRE was defeated, and by a worrying margin. Despite some great speeches in support of the amendment to the Children and Families Bill for England, the Lib Dem Peers failed to support Labour in the vote in favour. We tweeted many of the Peers but no answer or explanation was given. There is still encouraging news in this event, as the media coverage was great in raising awareness for the issue more than ever and the large public support by shadow MPs was brilliant. The hope is, that the teachers in schools delivering PSHE now realise the importance of the SRE aspect of learning life lessons and include it in their syllabus more comprehensively.
We also did a campaign on HPV Awareness which was great to let more people now about the most common STI and its link to cancer. It was especially successful in garnering more awareness for the petition that Sexpression:UK supports to include boys in the HPV vaccination scheme. Please sign this petition if you have not already. We also supported the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign which we are particularly pleased to do so as the founder Lucy-Anne Holmes gave an enthralling speech at the Scottish Sexpression Conference in Dundee. We are very proud to support this cause and thank branches for voting on this issue. The conference was a fantastic weekend and we must thank Dundee for hosting and organising it, along with some others from Aberdeen and St. Andrews. There were many issues raised at the weekend and we welcome any blogs that you have on them that we can put up on our website which is expanding greatly this year. Please send them to Josh if they are final or contact myself if you want to discuss anything, I’d be very happy to help.
February is to be LGBT History month and we hope people can send in some blogs to me about the many issues that surround this issue. This is a very emotive subject and exciting as the 4th of February could be a historic day for Scotland, the best country in the world, due to the Equal Marriage bill hopefully being passed. So tell your MSPs to support it if you haven’t already! Please also join the Facebook group if you want to get more involved in Advocacy this year.
MP of the month for January: Yvette Cooper! She proposed and campaigned for support of the House of Lords to vote in favour of statutory SRE and we are very grateful for her efforts. The British media really responded well to her opinions and facts that backed up such an important issue of consent. Unwanted sexual harassment is far too common place in the UK and we at Sexpression:UK agree with her strongly that the best way to combat the problem is with education. It may not solve the problem, but would make huge progress, which the House of Lords failed to take action appropriately on. We hope that the government reconsiders SRE again and look to include it in national education curriculum.