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Young people have something to say about sex. (From the Editor).

"Write about what you know," my creative writing instructor said to me when I was deciding on the subject for a short story. "And write from the heart. That's how you will reach people."

Throughout my years as a writer and editor, I have never forgotten this advice. I was reminded of it reading the 20-plus articles we have selected for this special issue of the SIECUS Report titled "Young People Talk about Sex." The young authors clearly have something to say about sex. They are speaking from the heart, and they have reached me. I think they will reach you, too.

WRITE FOR US

We decided last fall to dedicate an entire of the SIECUS Report to the voices of young people. We posted a "Call for Submissions" on numerous list servs, sent it to colleague organizations, and asked educators to pass it on to their students. Our request of young writers was simple:

Calling All Young People! Write for the SIECUS Report

Are you an aspiring writer? Have something important to say? Want to get published? Put your writing skills to the test. Write an article for a special edition of the SIECUS Report: "Young People Talk about Sex."

Use the following topics as a jumping off point. You could tell us about your own experiences, what's going on with your friends, your family, your school, or your community. You could tell us about something you've heard, seen, or read lately. You could show off your journalistic skills and write a news article. Or you could just give us your opinion. The topics are:

* Sexuality Education. Adults in the United States can't seem to agree on what, if anything, teens should learn about sex in school.

* HIV/AIDS. Yours is the first generation that has grown up in a world that always included HIV and AIDS.

* Sex Is Everywhere. You live in world where the media tells you how you should look, what you should wear, and what is considered sexy.

A NEW EXPERIENCE

Many of our colleague organizations work directly with young people every day Some programs that we work closely with, like SEX, ETC., a newsletter and web site sponsored by the Network for Family Life Education at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, regularly give young people the opportunity to voice their opinions and ask questions about sexuality-related issues.

For SIECUS, however, this was a new concept and we didn't know exactly what to expect.

NEW WRITERS

Within days of posting the request, we started receiving everything from short paragraphs and articles to term papers and personal essays. Most of these young writers chose the subjects we had suggested as starting points. Some, however, selected their own topics.

The majority wrote articles about sexuality education-or the lack of sexuality education-in schools. Others dealt with such subjects as the fear of contracting HIV/AIDS, the concern about sex as it is portrayed in the media, and the belief that gay and lesbian youth should live openly without shame or fear of harassment.

I was thrilled to hear from so many young people and found their articles to be engaging and often inspiring. As an editor, I found that this issue of the SIECUS Report provided a new challenge. In truth, I made a special effort not to edit these submissions. I really think it is important that you read what the authors have to say in their own words.

I have said that my hope for the future in terms of sexuality education, sexual health, and sexual rights rests with young people. They will make it happen because they will demand it. These articles confirm that belief.

OTHER INFORMATION

We have also included in this issue of the SIECUS Report new information for educators and young people themselves on sexual health.

Specifically, we have developed a new SIEGUS Annotated Bibliography: Facts on Sexuality-Related Issues for Young People.

I hope that you enjoy this issue of the SIECUS Report as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. It's solid information about youth and sexuality-direct from the source and from the heart.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Edwards, Mac
Publication:SIECUS Report
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Words:686
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