6// The Catholic conservative teaches sex ed
Like I said, I grew up Catholic aka pro-life, against birth control, abstinence-all-the-way Catholic. I did catechism classes every Wednesday at St. Mark's and was confirmed, too. My chosen report in our mandatory health class in high school was on the negative effects of birth control and I even considered picketing in front of the Planned Parenthood that was kiddie corner from church. Then I went to college.
In my head I'm laughing right now because I'm thinking about that Catholic fathers' video that discourages parents from sending their daughters to college because it will change them. The narrator wasn't completely wrong on that. College does change a young person but in so many wonderful ways.
I got a job as the event coordinator for a University of Wisconsin organization called Sex Out Loud, a peer-to-peer sexual health education program. My freshman year I saw their bold posters of their programs everywhere and they did not shy away from showing dildo and vibrator drawings. It was definitely in your face. My freshman year I also took my first women's studies course. I think at Wisconsin it's Gender and Women's Studies 103, aka women's health. The course was a gamechanger. Instead of learning about basic concepts of health like I had growing up, here was truly in- depth information about hormones, sperm, and issues that affect women today. Hook-line-sinker...I fell in love.
I decided to apply for SOL because I wanted a better job and I wanted to have the opportunity to learn more. I remember saying in my interview that I may not know a lot about sexual health but I wanted to learn and I was more than happy to keep an open mind. The experience was mind-blowing. I actually was learning the science of sex and also a lot about how our education system fails its students in not teaching them more about having safe sex.
It also taught me that although my original viewpoints weren't necessarily wrong, not everyone lives the same path and it's not okay to limit people from resources. Instead of basing my personal viewpoints on others' opinions, I had solid facts and information. Not just that, but I had the experience of working with students and learning everything that they knew about sex, from real facts to misconceptions. It also opened opportunities for me to volunteer with domestic abuse and sexual assault awareness organizations. I believe that now I am more helpful to the community than I was by judging others.