World Sexual Health Day

Turn It On! Sexual Health in a Digital Age

The Centre for Gender & Health Equity hosts World Sexual Health Day Canada for the second year running. Since 2010, the World Association for Sexual Health  has been calling organizations, communities and individuals to celebrate sexual health, wellbeing and rights for all through World Sexual Health Day. Focusing on a unique theme each year, WSHD is celebrated on September 4 across the globe with active participation from close to 50 countries. This year’s theme is Turn It On: Sexual Health in a Digital Age. Visit World Sexual Health Day Canada to check out the 2021 calendar of events, submit your WSHD event and download the media kit.

Inequities in sexual health and wellbeing are shaped by socio-structural, systemic and political factors. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened existing barriers to accessing support, community and services. This year, WSHD focuses on sexual health in our digital age, and what that means for policy, practices, public health and education for the protection and promotion of gender equity.

For over 10 years, CGSHE has been working towards advancing gender and sexual health equity through policy, practice and research. We are deeply committed to an intersectional feminist* approach to recentre voices and leadership historically marginalized in conversations of sexual health and reproductive justice** including Black, Indigenous and other racialized women, trans women, and LGBTQ/2S communities.

The World Health Organization defines sexual health as a state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing in relation to sexuality. A deficit-based model to sexual health is neither practical nor realistic and, as the global pandemic has thrown into stark relief, our communities continue to face deep-rooted and long-standing inequities. The World Association for Sexual Health urges all to ensure that human and sexual rights are recognized and respected. By taking an active role in promoting, disseminating, and supporting World Sexual Health Day events and initiatives across Canada, we hope to bring together organizations, groups and likeminded individuals working towards the same goal, while celebrating WSHD globally.

*Gender equity and sexual health equity require an intersectional feminist approach. The term intersectionality was first coined by Professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989 to describe overlapping and interacting forms of oppression including racism, transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia. To truly understand and meaningfully work toward gender, sexual health and reproductive justice, we must ensure that we are inclusive of these experiences.

**Reproductive justice emerged in response to low- income women, Black women and women of colour, and LGBTQ/2S people feeling isolated from the women’s rights movement. Reproductive Justice was first termed by SisterSong Women of Colour in the US and is defined as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities”. Reproductive justice focuses on access rather than rights, asserting that legal rights alone do not mean having access, due to socio-structural factors. 

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