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#12: What about us? Sexual Health of Youth Experiencing I/DD

Every person is a social and sexual being and everyone deserves to experience healthy relationships and sexual and reproductive health. Yet young people with disabilities in Oregon are more likely than their peers without disabilities to experience relationship violence and sexual assault. They’re more likely to be sexually active than their peers, but less likely to use condoms or birth control methods. Despite this reality, young people experiencing intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) often do not have access to the sexual health education that can help them build the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about their health, increase safety and seek mutually fulfilling relationships. Why? The powerful forces of stigma, fear and discomfort around sexuality and disability prevent individuals, communities and systems from supporting the relationship, sexual and reproductive rights of young people experiencing I/DD. Learn more from our speakers about what can be done to promote and provide rights-based, inclusive sexual health education for young people experiencing I/DD.

Shanya Luther will provide an introduction of the topic. She is a social-sexual ecologist and professional trainer in the field of human sexuality, with nearly 20 year’s experience. She writes, speaks and presents about all facets of sexuality, gender, and relationships; utilizing an ecological framework, attachment theories, developments in neurobiology, and trauma informed care.

Nadia will talk about her unique perspective and insight pertaining to holistic sex education. Nadia Lockheart is a community education intern working on behalf of the Sexual Health Equity for Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (SHEIDD) Project through the Multnomah County Health Department. A transgender woman diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, she is all too well aware of the intersectional struggles shared by LGBT+ and differently-abled youth when it comes to sexual rights, and has worked extensively since 2009 as an evangelist of sexual freedom, diversity and inclusivity.

April Kayser will provide a call to action. She has over a decade of experience working in social services and community health. April obtained her BA in international community development from the University of Oregon. Currently, she works for the Multnomah County Health Department as a sexual health educator, teaching sexuality education to middle and high school-age young people and conducting trainings. She is here to share some of the insight she’s gained from leading SHEIDD.

Can’t attend in person? Good thing we are on Facebook Live the night of the event! Check out our Facebook event page.

This event is free and open to the public of all ages. If you are a health professional and would like to sign up for CME credits, please register here.