This past Wednesday, July 24, our LA intern team hosted the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Reproductive Justice Summit. With almost 60 attendees, the day was filled with topics and conversations covering national and international gender issues.
From free donuts in the morning to yummy gluten-free, vegan food at lunch, the day was full of productive conversations about reproductive health and feminism. The lovely LA interns covered topics including disability and reproductive health, the male birth control pill, reproductive injustices in El Salvador, sex education, sex in the media, LGBTQ healthcare,and many more. The event also included an open spaces activity to discuss issues that audience members were interested in. Conversations included the female orgasm, intersectionality, and white privilege in feminism. Participants were encouraged to tweet the day away:
My presentation discussed the lack of funding from pharmaceutical companies for the male birth control pill. Originally, I had stumbled across this topic my second year in college when I realized all of my female friends (except me) were taking the birth control pill. I was even more surprised when people gave me shocked looks upon hearing I wasn’t on birth control. I began to wonder: why is our cultural assumption to alter the body, especially in reproductive terms, always geared towards women? While most of us already know the answer to this, I used my presentation to bring awareness to the current research being done on the male birth control pill and our society’s gendered perception of contraceptive use.
Another intern, Kelsey Brown, recently graduated from California State University at Long Beach and discussed LGBTQ people and healthcare. When asked why she chose this topic, Kelsey told me:
This topic has been a work in progress my entire life. The lack of information directed at me, a queer young woman, in my high school sex ed, college health center, and private doctor visits were glaring and felt too personal to ignore. Who but myself could I trust to untangle the intricacies of my healthcare concerns?
Kelsey took action on her own college campus when she worked with the health center at CSU Long Beach and made significant changes by speaking with doctors, nurses, and doing outside research. Through her presentation, Kelsey promoted a shift in the way LGBTQ healthcare is conceptualized and started a petition for attendees to sign in support of comprehensive sex education in the U.S.
Overall, the event was a safe and confidential environment for people to share their opinions on current and controversial topics. As a recent graduate from a conservative private university, it was very comforting to be in a room full of open-minded and welcoming people. Hopefully, the summit proved to be a valuable resource to everyone who went!