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Being the change

Youth and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Feature

Youth Week is just around the corner from 17-25 May. Now you may be asking – what’s so special about youth? Um, everything! And what’s this got to do with Family Planning? Again, everything!

Be the Change

This year’s Youth Week theme is “Be the Change”. It encourages young people to lead the way on social change and support their friends to do this too. It inspires other people to value and support young people so they can really contribute.

As a young person, you can be a huge force for change in your communities. You have energy and drive and innovative solutions that adults may not have. Young people are also really great at getting together with their peers to get stuff done.

Embrace Diversity

Youth Week 2014 also encourages everyone to embrace diversity. May 17 happens to be the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).

Young people have a huge role to play in this. At Family Planning we see young people doing really amazing things to support diverse sexualities and gender identities.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersex (LGBTQI) people can face negative attitudes in the community, even from family and friends. No-one deserves to be bullied or discriminated against so if you know someone going through this, be the change, make a stand. Showing your peers you support and care for them can make a big difference.

Youth and Sexual and Reproductive Health
As a young person, you are also special to Family Planning because you have specific sexual and reproductive health needs. This is a time when you have a lot going on physically, mentally and socially.

You’ll also explore new relationships and your own sexuality. Education and skills to keep safe from unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unhealthy relationships are also important.

At some point you might also need to find sexual and reproductive health services that are confidential, affordable, friendly and non-judgemental. Our clinics are all these things and are free if you’re a NZ resident under 22.

We know this free service works because affordability is one of the main reasons people visit our clinics. A survey we did in 2010 said that free visits were the main reason young people came to see us. Another reason was because our staff are nice.

Some comments we got from young people who did the survey were:

“I really like to come here because my mates said you don’t get judged.”

“I got great service. The people were lovely. I definitely recommend other teens to come here.”

Youth and Sexual and Reproductive Rights

As a young person you do have something in common with adults though: your rights.

Sexual and reproductive rights apply to everyone no matter what their age. What this means for young people is that you can get contraception (including condoms) and other services and your visit is confidential.

We do encourage you to involve your parents/carers in your decisions but we will never share your patient records with anyone unless we think you’re a danger to yourself or others.

Everybody also has the right to say “no” to any sexual activity. Both parties have to say and show “yes” to give their consent. The legal age of consent in New Zealand is 16.

Embrace diverse sexualities and gender identities

Take charge of your sexual and reproductive health and seize your sexual and reproductive rights.

Value and support the ideas, rights and needs of youth in your community.

Be the Change.

For more information

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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