And now, a chance to hear a little bit more about the charity I’m supporting through Blogathon – Options for Sexual Health, or OPT for short- in this guest posting by Jessica Peart. Jessica is the Co-Director, Applied Knowledge and Co-Manager, Executive Services at OPT.
“Options for Sexual Health envisions a society that celebrates healthy sexuality, its diversity of expression, and a positive sexual self-image for individuals throughout life.”
It’s a challenging vision to pursue. The laws and mores of our society are more directed at containing sexuality than celebrating it. We’re still encountering sexual health education programs that focus on risks instead of preparing young people for lives of sexual fulfillment. And when the federal government denies funding for gay pride events it sends a clear message that is does not respect and acknowledge sexual diversity. We’ve also been challenged in recent years to distance ourselves from phony “crisis pregnancy centres” that use branding similar to our own, but which do not provide women facing unplanned pregnancies with accurate information on the full range of options available to them: how convenient for the centres, but how not so convenient for these pregnant women requiring access to unbiased referrals!
But OPT has some initiatives that will move our vision forward. This year, we’re finding out from teens in BC exactly what they want to learn about sexuality and what they’d like to see in sex educators. And we’ll be supporting those young folks to put into place the changes they want to see. They are, after all, the generation that will carry OPT’s vision into the future. We’ll be helping residential care facilities for seniors and others support the essential role that intimacy plays in our lives at any age and state of being. We’re part of a movement to increase the safety f men and women engaged in sex work. And soon, all reproductive health nurses in BC will receive training from OPT – through a partnership we have with BCIT – on how to counsel, diagnose and administer medications for contraceptives and sexually transmitted infections. Those nurses leaving the program will leave with our perspectives and values for supporting the sexual health and sexuality needs of British Columbians, because in all our programs and activities, we guarantee that individuals will receive well-informed, confidential, and non-judgmental care.
Based in British Columbia, Options for Sexual Health is Canada’s largest non-profit provider of sexual health services through clinics, advocacy, education programs, and the 1-800 SEX SENSE information and referral line. Visit www.optionsforsexualhealth.org to find out if there’s a clinic near you, learn more about your sexual health, or to find out how you can support our programs and services and the overall fulfillment of our vision: we’ve still got a ways to go!