ChoiceWords Blog

Sex Education In The United States Is Broken, But It Doesn’t Have To Be

For far too long and in far too many schools, LGBTQ+ kids haven’t seen themselves reflected in curricula — to this day, five states still require that only negative information be provided about being queer, and another 12 require a positive emphasis on heterosexuality, the Guttmacher Institute notes. This has serious ramifications. “As a queer young person, I had a lot of conversations within romantic and platonic relationships about the validity of queer sex,” says Makayla (M.K.) Richards, a Georgia State organizer for the organization URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity. “I was wondering, ‘Is this valid if it’s not penetrative penis-and-vagina, or cis-hetero-normative, sex? Does my pleasure matter if it’s outside of the scope of what society would deem as ‘normal?’” But beyond a conversation about the topic in their general… Read more »

Everything you need to know about Juneteenth, the new federal holiday

“As a kid, I always looked forward to the Juneteenth festival my mom took me to. Growing up in Birmingham, in a Black neighborhood, going to a Black school, we usually learned Black History in the context of a struggle—against Jim Crow, against enslavement, against the systems that sought to obliterate Blackness and Black people,” said Danielle Hurd-Wilson, Interim Deputy Director of Field and Programs at the nonprofit URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, in a statement. “But the Juneteenth celebrations I went to growing up were centered around the joy of liberation and the vast, vast possibilities that lay in front of Black people who were to no longer be treated as property.”

If ‘Roe’ Falls, Abortions Could Be Criminal

The criminalization of abortion could take many forms. Penalties, fines, and jail time are all on the table. “The criminalization of pregnancy and pregnancy-related outcomes is not a new phenomenon in the U.S.,” says Preston Mitchum, the policy director for the nonprofit Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE). He says the trend will only worsen…

How Biden and the Democrats can save abortion access before the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

On the 48th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in January, President Joe Biden put out a statement declaring that his administration is “committed to codifying Roe v. Wade.” Many legal experts believe WHPA is the law that would get that done. “This is a bill that addresses exactly the types of bans and restrictions like the 15 weeks case that’s in Mississippi,” Jackie Blank, the federal legislative strategist for the Center for Reproductive Rights, told Salon. “It creates that statutory right [to abortion] automatically,” Preston Mitchum, the policy director at Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, explained.

After 100 days, how have Biden’s policies helped American women?

Kimberly Inez McGuire, executive director of the advocacy group Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, noted that the amendment bars many marginalized people — those who are Black, Latino, working class or living in rural areas — from having a safe abortion. “We have not seen the bold leadership we wanted in word nor in deed,” said Inez McGuire, who wants to see the Biden administration put pressure on Congress to repeal the Hyde Amendment once a new budget is put forward. She also sees opportunities for the Biden administration to be more aggressive in supporting LGBTQ communities, particularly transgender people, who have been targeted with discriminatory bills in state legislatures throughout the country. Many of the bills will restrict transgender youth’s ability to participate in sports, as well as… Read more »

Ivey signs bill to update Alabama sex education, remove anti-gay language

“Ending state-mandated homophobia in sex ed is a hard-won fight by advocates who’ve been working toward this for years,” Courtney Roark, Alabama policy and movement building director for URGE, wrote in a statement Thursday. “This win is just one step in the direction of the sex ed we’d like to see in Alabama, which is sex ed that is comprehensive and LGBTQ+ affirming.”

Arkansas governor’s surprising veto of anti-trans law

“Though I can’t speculate as to Gov. Hutchinson’s true intentions, this decision demonstrates the beginning of a shift among conservative politicians about whether interfering with the health and well-being of transgender young people is a bridge too far,” Preston Mitchum told me Monday. Mitchum is the policy director for Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, a network of community activists founded by Gloria Steinem and focused on sexual health.