On the 13th May 2014, Sexpression:UK sent a representative group to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sexual Health, held in the House of Lords, consisting of Sam Shergill, Nick Batley and I. We had the pleasure of keeping company with some esteemed members the sexual health world, including, of course the much loved BASH, Terrance Higgins Trust and Brook. After Andrea Duncan (Programme Manager, Sexual Health Team, Dept of Health) outlined the success’s and limitations of the Framework for Sexual Health Improvement in England – published just over a year ago – she was subjected to quite a lot of scrutiny by the knowledgeable ladies and gentleman in the room. Leaving the Q&A early due to other engagements, it was clear there was still plenty of air to clear, and lots of questions that still required answers.
Second to speak was Luciana Berger MP (Shadow Public Health Minister) who outlined what sexual health policy would look like under Labour. I’m sure it will not have escaped your attention that Labour have committed to making sex and relationships education compulsory in all schools. You heard me correctly; academies, primary schools, free schools and faith schools a like; Labour do not want anyone missing out!
When Sam asked Luciana if LGBT issues would be a guaranteed part of Labours SRE policy, we were met with much reassurance from both Luciana and Baroness Gould. Although admittedly, their sexual health policy still has plenty of kinks to work out (no pun intended), Luciana was impressively receptive to all of the feedback she received. (That being said, when BASH questioned her about vaccinating boys/men against HPV, while acknowledging the necessity of such a move, she seemed reticent to promise any direct action on the issue).
Yesterday also marked the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s global day of action; the launch of the ‘I Decide’ campaign. Jacqueline Sharpe, Chairperson of the Board for IPPF took time to remind us that for all the progress happening in the UK, around the world, women and girls are still being denied the right to decide what happens to their bodies. As leaders around the world begin deciding what replaces the Millennium Development Goals, the ‘I Decide’ campaign is focused on making sure sexual health and reproductive rights and freedoms are at the foundations of these new goals.
If you get to decide what you do with your own body, whether to get pregnant, who you love and how, and you think that everyone deserves these rights, show your support by signing this petition: http://www.ippf.org/vision2020
Your signature will be one of the one million signatures the IPPF are hoping to collect and present to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in summer 2015 – putting sexual health and reproductive rights at the top of the global agenda. I’m sure you’ll agree, that’s a pretty awesome reason to sign.