“Just a few years back, I was sitting in a Texas public school and had almost zero knowledge about my sexual health because no one wanted to talk to me about sex,” says James Lee, president of the Texas Freedom Network Student Chapter at the University of Houston. “You would think sex was a four letter word growing up in Texas. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of seeing friends of mine negatively affected by the lack of sexual education in our Texas schools.”
Which is why James and the the rest of the Student Chapter is bringing TFN’s Leadership Development Institute to the University of Houston on November 12. Among the topics covered will be an overview of the current state of sex education in Texas. The training also aims to teach participants how to develop a persuasive political message and to effectively organize at the grassroots level. The Institute explores organizing strategies such as issue education, voter registration and block-walking. Scheduled guest speakers include Susan Tortolero of the UT Houston School of Public Health, and representatives of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and the Texas Freedom Network.
James feels that the unwillingness to deal with sex education affects LGBT youth disproportionately. “For the most part, Texas schools teach abstinence until marriage sex education. In Texas it’s still not possible to be wed if you’re a lesbian or gay couple. So, when a gay student hears this kind of language they have less of an incentive to pay attention because they can not marry.” James adds “I have nieces and nephews who’re currently attending public school, I don’t want them to have to worry about some of the things my generation had to, they’re our future and we can’t let them down.”
Attendees to the Leadership Development Institute must register online to attend the free training, space is limited.