By Guadalupe Muñoz
Illustration by Storyset
Each year the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy holds its Annual Symposium focused on adolescent health outcomes. Although virtual this year due to COVID, the Symposium created space for collaboration and connection. Here is what I learned from the 2021 Symposium.
1. New standards around sexual and reproductive health in Texas include information on healthy relationships, including respecting boundaries
This was surprising and exciting to learn! In my experience, I have felt that learning about healthy relationships is something too often left out of the conversation when it comes to health. Empowering young people to identify and have healthy relationships enables them to see that they deserve to define their boundaries and have their choices respected, including those about sex and reproductive health.
Visit Texas Is Ready to learn more about the revised sex-ed curriculum standards!
2. Approach pornography through a media literacy perspective
Pornography is a difficult topic to approach, especially when you don’t know where to start. Using a media literacy approach encourages young people to think critically about what messages they are receiving and whether or not they are realistic.
Read more about the findings and tips for analyzing media here:
3. Teens can access free and confidential services at Title X Clinics
Title X clinics provide sexual and reproductive healthcare to everyone regardless of income, identity, or personal circumstance. This means teens can access free birth control, pregnancy tests, STI testing, and treatment through title x clinics!
Visit everybodytexas.org to find a clinic near you
4. US citizenship is not required for teens seeking a judicial bypass
A judicial bypass is an option for teens who cannot tell their parents about their pregnancy or their decision to have an abortion. The process involves scheduling an ultrasound and meeting with an attorney and a judge. The judicial bypass process is free and confidential to all teens regardless of citizenship status.
Visit janesdueprocess.org to learn more about accessing family planning services as a teen
5. Provide context - “no naked data”
Data and statistics can be helpful when making a point, but they don't tell the whole story. Instead, we should consider adding context to create a narrative that addresses the systemic issues responsible for creating the conditions we experience. When encountering a new piece of data, think about what assumptions are made and how they may play into stereotypes and downplay the root causes.
Guadalupe Muñoz, Health Educator, is based in the Rio Grande Valley. As a health educator, Guadalupe aims to empower young people to make informed decisions about their sexual health and relationships. Guadalupe enjoys working on their garden, spending time with her pups, and finding new hobbies in her free time.