When we at OU FORUM were trying to decide on the topic to cover for this month’s issue, our managers and editors went back and forth for quite some time between the broad themes of sexuality, gender, and reproductive justice. It’s a muddy territory to wade through. Gender and sexuality are intimately related, and issues of sexuality intersect a great deal with the struggle for intersectional reproductive justice. In the same respect, OU’s LGBTQ+ community encompasses people who are marginalized because of their gender, their sexuality, or both. As one editor pointed out, combining gender and sexuality into one issue might give the essentialist impression that gender determines sexuality, which is of course not the case. Therefore, we decided to focus on sexuality for the February issue and then on gender for the next issue, which will be released in March.
Now, for a some background on our topic: Reproductive justice, coined in 1994 by Black feminists at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt, is more than the right to choose whether or not to have a child; it is the right to not have, or to have, children and to raise them in a safe, nurturing, healthy environment. This means having access to health care, freedom from abject poverty, and the ability to make choices for oneself and one’s family.
An important conference that offers inspiration for our February issue is the Take Root Conference. Take Root focuses on sexual education, reproductive health, and sexuality. Created by OU and OSU students, the conference includes discussion panels, info sessions, workshops, and a networking reception. This month, as social justice scholars and activists from across the South prepare for the conference, we at FORUM will define reproductive justice and take a look at sex, sexuality, and queer identity.
If you attend the Take Root conference, be sure to stop by the FORUM table and say hello. We’d love to meet some of our readers!
Student Section Editor