Decolonizing Sexual Health Education Statement from BLUSH

At BLUSH we strive to move Sexual Health Education into the present moment and currently we are working on the understanding of the decolonization of Sexual Health Education.

Decolonization is a word that is ever present in our contemporary Canadian culture presently and yet if we ask how we would decolonize a practice like education, many of us would have a difficult time articulating how we would do that or even what it meant. At BLUSH we have been thinking about the practice of decolonizing sexual health education, to decolonize a practice we would have to understand how the colonial system has been built to limit, control and access. Some of the traits that are held in the colonial practices:

First, to colonize a place is to take over said place without regard for who was there before you. The foundation of colonization is a practice of coercion and taking without asking. This perpetuates a culture of entitlement, coercion, and rape. BLUSH engages in the dismantling of coercion culture through it engagement in building a culture of consent.

Second, heteronormativity is a colonial process that limits the aspects of human experience. Heteronormativity sees the world in a Binary state of male and female genders, straight and gay sexualities and Cis-gendered and Transgendered people. Heteronormativity maintains that relationships must fit into a specific paradigm to be legitimate. Heteronormativity erases the nuanced nature of gender, sexuality and the spectrum of attraction/ relationships.

Third, the Patriarchal system where the male identifying bodies hold the most privilege which fosters an understanding of entitlement and power over any bodies that are not visibly or biologically male. This idea of patriarchy reduces all other bodies to being less than or inconsequential all together. The patriarchal belief system entitles the male bodies to access other bodies even against their will, with impunity.

Fourth, White Supremacy and Racism are guiding forces in the colonial mindset. Colonization is based in the act of expanding the European access to Indigenous lands in the act of nullifying the Indigenous existence through erasure or assimilation. In this dismantling of long lasting democratic societies, families and communities and their ways of being, there is the loss of understanding of gender and sexuality outside of European white settler knowledge.

So to practice the decolonizing of sexual health is to shine light in the darker spaces. Decolonizing sexual health is a practice of Creating a Consent based Culture where there is an equal distribution of power. Decolonizing Sexual Health Education is an act of dismantling Patriarchal, Heteronormative and Racist belief systems that perpetuate homophobia, transphobia, and a culture of coercion. The decolonization of sexual health education moves towards empowerment of all bodies in the knowledge of bodily autonomy, consent, sexual health, gender expression, and sexual identity without holding oppression over these different bodies. Decolonizing Sexual Health gives room for humans to be their full beautiful selves and truly there is nothing more beautiful than the opportunity to be one’s full self.