After the 12th Asia-Oceania Congress of Sexology (AOCS) concluded on Sunday August 5th 2012 in Matsue, Japan, a group of six international experts in sexuality began a little journey to the second largest city in Japan: Osaka. Months before, we had been invited by Yuko Higashi, Professor from Osaka Prefecuture University and Member of the Advisory Committee at the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS), to participate as speakers of a Seminar on Sexual Health for students and advocates living in Osaka. Yuko’s petition was to talk about our work as international experts in sexual health and to dialogue with the students and advocates who became interested in our work. I was the last speaker of the group to talk to the audience. The five international experts that talked before were: Milton (“Mickey”) Diamond (an indisputable legend of sexology), Alain Giami (Scientific Director of UNESCO’s Chair in Sexual Health), Sam Winter (Professor from the University of Hong Kong specializing in transgender identities), Elizabeth Riley (a psychologist from the University of Sydney who specializes in transgender children) and Matt Tilley (a Professor from Curtin University in Australia).
I entitled my presentation “My work as a young sexual educator and sexual health advocate”, and I mainly focused on the sex education work I developed with high school students in Cuernavaca, with Latin women living in New York City, my work as an organizer of World Sexual Health Day in Mexico, and my work with the Youth Initiative of the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS). After my presentation finished, the ones who were interested in youth’s sexual health approached me and in a round table format, I answered their questions about design of sexuality workshops for youth and about the global sexual health challenges of young people. I had never had such a rich conversation with such a group of passionate and respectful students and advocates. I was amazed to see the interest they showed and how they are truly concerned about the situation of Japanese youths. We also discussed about the great need of establishing more intercultural dialogues and more international efforts to enhance youth’s sexual health. This Seminar in Osaka, along with the Round Table of the AOCS in Matsue, will become important milestones for many youth advocates in Japan. History will start changing for better if more young people dare to ask and shake things up for better… Thanks Yuko! This international experience will help this wonderful group of Japanese youths to continue shaking things up!