Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Deputized as a Voter Registrar, and Officially a UT Healthy Sexuality Peer Educator

After a mostly relaxing break, my first week back on campus has been full of new experiences.

On Thursday, I went to a training through Planned Parenthood to become deputized as a voter registrar. It was a painless process, and our trainer, Cheryl Reese, was a joy.

I learned two things at this training that were upsetting to me though. First of all, the "walk-away" voter registration cards previously had a blank destination address on the front, so that you could take a registration card and register in your appropriate county. These cards were mass printed in English and Spanish. Now, per the Secretary of State, the forms counties have access to have their county tax office address pre-printed.

Not only does this limit access to voter registration, the SoS sent 50 copies of the voter registration cards in Spanish. FIFTY. Cheryl called the SoS office and asked if the new Spanish cards were a sample. She was informed that their office would have to print any additional Spanish copies. They are, but what a shame.

The second thing I learned was when it is acceptable to have someone else register you to vote without you physically being there.
1. A child may register their parent
2. A parent may register their child (who is 18+)
3. A husband or wife may register their spouse

"A husband or wife may register their spouse." Another blatant injustice to same-sex couples. I can't understand the stance that "marriage is a sacred religious institution." If there were no federal benefits (there a over a thousand) that didn't consider marital status, I could support that claim.

After reading the articles for this week, this is another unfortunate example of inequality across groups.

Regardless of my personal opinions, I can now register you to vote if you live in Travis County!

Something else came out of this event: an idea for a new UT student org called Voices for Reproductive Justice.

In collaboration with Planned Parenthood, three of these girls (and myself) want to start VRJ to promote education and access to health care. Tentatively, we plan to distribute condoms, register students to vote, and provide opportunities for students to attend relevant lectures or films. (We will see how far we get with distributing condoms.)

Which leads me to the next exciting news...

In the Spring of 2011 I applied to be a Healthy Sexuality Peer Educator. We submitted applications, got called back for interviews, some got accepted (25/40), and then we endured a very demanding semester of creating weekly scholarly research article reviews along with other required reading. We also had a group project at the end in which we drafted a new student workshop (including a survey for the research component, FUN!). 

Basically it was demanding, but totally up my alley. And yesterday, those of us who made it through that semester reconvened with our incredible professor, Guli Fager. She was tough on us, but during the 3-hour session yesterday, she doted on our improvements and the student workshops we created. It felt really great. Plus, we got our shirts and lanyards! We start teaching this semester! It's a 3-semester program, so I will also teach Fall of 2012.

The teaching includes workshops (such as Sex Trivia) and Methods of Contraception (MOC) classes. (If you can't make it to an MOC, here is a great source to help you understand different types of contraception Bedsider Birth Control Methods.) Not only will facilitating workshops and teaching classes be a great learning experience, it's also be beneficial to my resume! 

Well, I used to journal avidly, but stopped after I left high school. I enjoy writing, so I am very excited about this blog (although I am using it as a source of procrastination right now).

I leave you with this awesome video I saw in my HSPE class last semester.


DODvClips (16 September 2010). The Return of Count Spirochete (1973). Retrieved 22 January 2012, from

Federal Marriage Benefits Denied to Same-Sex Couples. NOLO Law For All.

Method Explorer. Bedsider.

Thank the White House for Ensuring Access to Contraceptive Coverage for Millions of Women. NARAL Pro-Choice America.

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