CHOOSE YOUR OWN MYX
We are all different. What works for one person may not work for someone else. We all have our own unique MYX.
Understanding your options and getting to know your rights can help you choose the best MYX for you.
We all have questions, doubts, curiosity and fears about sex, sexuality and gender. We also all have rights to access information and services to help navigate through all of life’s choices.
MYX can help you discover not only what your rights are, but what MYX is right for you.
We are all different. What works for one person may not work for someone else. We all have our own unique MYX.
Understanding your options and getting to know your rights can help you choose the best MYX for you.
Gender means way more than your biological make-up. It’s about the way we behave and the activities we take part in. It’s about the way we define ourselves.
It’s also about society’s expectations and stereotypes and how they shape your experience as a man, a woman, an intersex person or a transgender person. This starts from the moment we’re born, the way that our birth is announced to the world, when newborn girls are put in pink dresses and boys in blue trousers.
There’s no doubt that your gender identity can affect the decisions you make, the work you choose, your sexual health and your well-being. It can influence your sexual relationship choices. It can impact who, if or when you marry. After all, it’s part and parcel of who you feel you are.
Sex is something you are born with, a biological thing based on our sexual organs. Some people whose genitals are not clearly male or female are termed intersex. But many young people, even those who aren’t intersex, don’t feel that their sex necessarily fits with their gender identity.
Gender identity is not something we’re born with. It develops as we grow, and is influenced by social and cultural expectations and practices. These expectations and practices are sometimes called ‘gender norms’. Gender is not just about being a guy or a girl - it’s about the opportunities, limits, and expectations that you have based on being male, female, trans or intersex. Nearly everyone behaves in ways that don’t match the stereotypes associated with their gender. In fact, almost everything that guys can do, girls can also do. And almost everything that girls can do, guys can also do.
From the moment you’re born, whether you come from Swaziland or Spain, the expectations placed on you as a female or male can have an influence on pretty much everything in your life - the way you play, the clothes you wear, friendships, school life, education, career, marriage and beyond.
As we grow up, these roles are influenced by society’s expectations. Many people - parents and teachers, religious and political role models, the media and even your own friends and peers - may reinforce gender norms. Women may find they are unable to choose their own partner or express themselves politically. Men might feel obliged to demonstrate their masculinity through violence.
When emotional, physical and sexual violence is committed against people because of their gender, it is called gender-based violence. It can happen to men, women, transgender or intersex people.
This is when someone forces another person to engage in a sexual activity against his or her will. This may come from physical force, verbal threats, manipulation, deception, cultural expectations or bribes. Sexual coercion is a violation of human rights.
In many societies, people who don’t conform to gender norms can be at risk of violent attacks, because other people discriminate them. Some the most affected people include men or women who have same-sex partners, transgender people, intersex people and people living with HIV. Hate crimes are a violation of human rights.
If we all stand up to harmful gender stereotypes, we can speed up the changes. Girls and communities around the world are increasingly aware of women’s rights. Organisations are working with men to challenge harmful expressions of masculinity and to lead fuller lives as part of their families and communities. Attitudes towards homosexual and transgender individuals are improving. And awareness of sexual violence is increasing.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but the wheels of change are already turning and you can contribute, too. Read on...
Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights and everybody is entitled to them. This means everyone has the right to comprehensive sexuality education and information. It means health services should be friendly, welcoming and non-judgmental. It means confidentiality. It means protection. It means adults should respect your right to make decisions for yourself.
Your needs may be different, but your rights are universal.
Here’s what you need to know:
Every human being is entitled to basic rights no matter where they live.
Human rights can’t be taken away or given up, no matter what age, gender, race or nationality you are. Everyone has rights simply for being human.
Each human right is as important as the next. They work together as a set. Not one human right should be given preference or prominence over the other.
It’s a two - or three or four - way thing. Fulfilling one right may depend on the fulfillment of others. For example, ensuring the right to health relies heavily on the rights to education and information.
Other people’s rights deserve to be respected as much as your own. Everyone’s rights come with the responsibility not to infringe on others’ rights and also to speak up if you know someone else’s rights are being violated.
Here’s the lowdown:
Whoever you are, whatever you believe in, wherever you come from - you should expect to enjoy the same rights and protections as everybody else and be able to exercise your right to make decisions, including about your sexuality and sex life.
Want to get involved? Good. It’s your right to have your voice heard in relation to all aspects of sexual health and rights. For example, you can work with your local government to demand for sexuality education in schools or you can volunteer to accompany other young people when they go to a health clinic.
Everyone should be able to express their sexuality without the threat of violence. Young people need special protection from all forms of:
You and only you have the right to decide if, when and with whom to share information about your sexual orientation, sexual activity, HIV status, history of pregnancy or abortion. You have a right to access confidential services where service providers keep your secrets. But don’t forget that many young people and adults - including parents, friends, doctors, and teachers - can be a support system when making decisions.
You, and all young people, have a right to enjoy your sexual rights, while being recognised as an individual in the eyes of the law.
Dreaming? Fantasizing? Wanting to talk about the way you feel? Yup, we all have the right to express our sexuality and find our own MYX without fear or threats...
We’re not just talking physical health. Every young person has the right to the highest standard of youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health service. They are accessible to everybody, are either free of charge or priced affordably, and are offered at convenient times.
We all have a right to accurate information and education about sexuality, sexual health, reproductive health, sexual rights and reproductive rights.
Why? Because good sexuality education helps us make informed decisions and live healthy and fulfilling lives.
Is 16 the right age? Or 21? Maybe you want to wait until you’re 35. The point is, the choice is yours. We all have the right to choose when, if, how and whom to marry and have children. And we have the right to make these choices without seeking permission from parents, spouses or other elders.
Sexual rights - relate to a person’s sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual behaviour and sexual health.
Reproductive rights - relate to a person’s fertility, reproduction, reproductive health and parenthood.
We don’t mean growing in terms of height, or weight, or the length of your hair. When we talk about evolving capacities, we mean your changing emotional, intellectual, physical and mental abilities. Young children need help making decisions, but as we grow and develop, our rights and responsibilities continue to evolve, too and we’re able to make decisions for ourselves. Evolving capacity refers to the process of developing the ability to take full responsibility for your own actions, rights and decisions - all at your own pace.
The best way to tackle injustice is to get busy. If you feel strongly about wanting to uphold the basic rights of all human beings, there are lots of things you can do. Here are just a few:
1. Stand up for a friend or classmate who is being treated unfairly. This may be someone ridiculed because he or she doesn’t conform to gender norms; or someone who is discriminated against because he or she is living with HIV; or a girl who is treated badly for being pregnant.
2. Give practical help by accompanying friends to a health clinic or the police.
3. Join organisations or groups that campaign for sexual and reproductive rights. These might include NGO’s, youth groups, health clinics, helplines and community watch groups. Want to know more? Head straight to Join the MYX
4. Join groups that advocate for laws that protect rights, especially for people who are often excluded by society for being different.
5. Organise events with parents, teachers or religious leaders. Ask a local leader to speak out on issues such as forced marriage.
That’s the beauty of the world we live in. Sexuality is a part of all of us - not just those who are sexually active. In this we are all the same. But from that point on, there are lots of differences.
We have different desires, different needs, different goals and different realities. We speak different languages, grow up under different climates, and experience different cultural norms.
This is diversity and it is a good thing - something to celebrate together.
That’s because we’re human beings and while we have lots of things in common, we are all unique.
There is diversity in faith and culture. Diversity in race and nationality. Some people are rich, some are poor. We are all differently abled. Some people are living with HIV. We all look different, we all feel different. We all like different types of relationships and sex.
We have a right to be ourselves, and to be accepted for who we are.
But, just as importantly, we have to respect other people’s diversities. If we can celebrate these as much as we focus on our own uniqueness, we can help to eliminate rejection, stigma and discrimination. It’s more than tolerating each other; let’s celebrate the differences that bring spice to life.
It’s the celebration of different sexualities. In every society and community, there are people who are heterosexual or homosexual, bisexual or transgender. Everyone on the planet has a different MYX that’s right for them.
Lesbian - a woman who is romantically, physically or sexually attracted to other women, and who identifies as being lesbian
Gay - a person who is romantically, physically or sexually attracted to people of their same gender and who identifies as being gay.
Bisexual - a person who is sexually and romantically attracted to both men and women and who identifies as being bisexual.
Transgender - a gender identity of someone who self identifies as being a gender that is different from the gender assigned to him or her by society.
Intersex - a person who has both male and female genitalia
In some places, it’s a crime to be in a relationship with or have sex with someone of the same sex. In most places, gay and lesbian couples don’t enjoy the same rights to marry or live in civil partnership as heterosexual couples.
LGBTI people should be able to live freely in all areas of their life and work without stigma, discrimination and violence.
Discrimination against a person based on their sexual identity, desire or consensual behaviour is a violation of human rights.
Being tolerant is a start but not enough. It’s one thing to accept sexual diversity, but what we’re really aiming for is a celebration of individuality.
Some people are already comfortable with sexual diversity. Others are ready to celebrate it. A lot have mixed feelings, but others are frightened or angry when confronted with people who are homosexual or transgender.
Do you know any laws or practices in your country that discriminate against groups or individuals? Find out and start campaigning for equality! For more info, go to Join the MYX
Here are some of the choices that young people around the world make every day:
These decisions may not be easy. You may find it helpful to talk to an adult about them. Sharing can make you feel less alone, but nobody should tell you what you do or force you to do anything.
Can’t stop looking at somebody? Find it difficult to shake off that strange feeling inside? This is attraction. It can be fun, nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time!
But when it comes to choosing a partner, physical attraction is not the only thing. It’s important to be able to talk openly with your partner. You both need to be able to trust each other and feel safe with one another. Ask yourself if he or she makes you feel good, physically and emotionally. If not, ask yourself why not.
There are lots of tools out there to help you make your decision about what type of contraception is best for you and how they work... here is one we like.
You had unprotected sex, you missed your period, and the home pregnancy test is positive. You may be pregnant.
The most important first step is to confirm if you’re pregnant by going to a clinic and having a pregnancy test done.
Second, you can ask your health provider, family member or another trusted adult about your options.
You may want to share the decision with your partner or your parents, or you may prefer to keep it to yourself. But remember: nobody should tell you what to do.
If you’re continuing the pregnancy, you need to find a clinic that provides good care and support for you during your pregnancy.
If you wish to continue with the pregnancy but want to find an adoptive family for the baby, you must find an organisation that specialises in this service.
Every woman should be able to access legal and safe abortion services, but many countries have laws that restrict access to these services. Visit websites and libraries to find out the laws in your country so that you can decide what to do. Click on these helpful sites to find out more
If you decide to terminate your pregnancy, your next goal is to find a safe abortion service. You can ask a trusted health provider, teacher, family member or friend and also search the web. Unfortunately, there are many websites that try to take advantage of women seeking information on abortion, either by selling fake medical abortion drugs or giving inaccurate information. Click here for some sites you can trust
When you find a clinic, make sure it is clean, and that the staff explain everything and answer your questions. Ideally, you want a clinic that is experienced in dealing with young people. If you feel uneasy, get up and leave.
There are two types of abortion.
Medical - if you are still within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, ask a qualified health provider for advice on whether this option is available. This can be done at home in most countries, by taking specific drugs - mifepristone and misoprostol. They cause bleeding which usually lasts up to two weeks. There is a risk that medical abortion can fail, but this risk is small when taken as directed by a qualified provider. If medical abortion fails, a surgical abortion is usually necessary to complete the process.
Surgical - this is done in a clinic or hospital by a medical professional. It is quicker but carries a small risk of infection or damage to the cervix or uterus.
Sex should be an enjoyable experience. We don’t just mean vaginal or anal intercourse but all the other ways of enjoying somebody’s body, such as touch and taste. It’s also great to explore your own body.
We’re not here to judge the reasons why you may or may not decide to have sex; we’re just here to give you the facts...
There is no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is that it’s a positive experience for both you and your partner.
It’s also a good idea to think it through beforehand. This means getting the right contraceptive advice, learning about safer sex, and having open communication with your partner. Remember, you can always say no and you must ask for a yes.
There are loads of reasons for wanting sex, but the most important thing is that both partners feel ready. It’s especially great when both of you love each other and want to express this love through sex, but there is no rule that says you have to be in love to enjoy sex.
When it’s consensual and safe, exploring your sexuality is a good thing. Just make sure you’re 100% ready.
There are just as many - and probably more! - reasons for not wanting sex. You may feel too young, or not comfortable enough in your relationship. Perhaps you’re worried about becoming pregnant or STIs. Sex outside marriage may be against your religious beliefs or morals. You’ve possibly had a bad experience in the past. Or you’re anxious about your performance. Or you may have no reason at all, but just don’t want to.
Whatever your reason for not wanting sex, the only thing to remember is: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO.
In the process of discovering your MYX, you need to be aware of the laws in your country. Sometimes you may come up against a law relating to sex that makes what you want to do illegal. For example:
In some countries, there are laws telling you when it is legal to have sex. The age at which it’s legal to have sex is called the age of consent. Some countries have no such legislation. In other places, there is one rule for boys and another for girls.
Consent means saying ‘yes’ after fully understanding all your options; your parents or guardians may have had to sign something to say you can go on a school field trip Well, they’re giving their consent. Or, when you give a doctor or nurse permission to take your temperature? That’s also consent.
It’s not as simple as a yes, though. You have to know what you’re saying yes to. It’s about knowing your options, having time to weigh them up and choosing one. Same goes for sex.
The best thing you can do is find out what you can and can’t do by law in your own country, or in countries you plan to visit. If you find some of the laws unfair you can link up with other young activists to advocate for change. Meet them here (link to Join THE MYX)
Living with HIV doesn’t mean you can’t have a fulfilling sexual relationship and it doesn’t limit your sexual partners. You may enjoy a relationship with somebody who is also living with HIV, but you can also have a happy sexual relationship with anyone you choose. It’s your right.
When possible, try to:
Need to know more about living with HIV? Click on these links for information about tackling stigma and prejudice, and how to have a healthy pregnancy while living with HIV. (Links to HHH and Girls Decide)
Only you can make this decision. If you are living with HIV, you have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose your HIV status. Many people tell their partner, family, friends and colleagues that they are living with HIV and receive acceptance and support. Some, however, may become upset or react badly. Only you know best if and when it is safe for you to disclose.
Before you decide, take time to consider some important points:
In an ideal world, you and your partner will discuss options to have safer sex beforehand. This conversation could prevent many problems, and it will probably bring you closer together.
Explain your reasons for wanting to use a condom or contraception. Perhaps because you care about him or her and you want to secure your future relationship.
If you find talking difficult, leave information about safer sex in a place where he or she will see it. Or get prepared by placing a condom by the bed or another convenient location like your wallet or purse.
If things are heating up before you’ve managed to have a conversation, don’t assume it’s too late to bring it up. It’s never too late. Slow things down and start talking. Make it part of the sexual experience. You’ll probably find that pausing things briefly can make the sex more exciting.
Take a look around and imagine all the different MYX’s that work for other people To better understand your own MYX, it can be helpful to consider other people.
Everybody should be able to explore their sexuality, regardless of where they come from or what they believe in.
There are lots of other people around the world who believe that young people’s sexual and reproductive rights should be upheld and that all young people should have access to information and services to make informed decisions about their sexuality. Join the MYX, and you’re joining a movement of young people across the world who are advocating for rights, celebrating diversity, promoting choice and gender equity and committed to open dialogue about sex and sexuality.
MYX is your site. Your campaign. Your discovery. You can follow MYX on Twitter, expand your MYX by bringing friends to Facebook, or even put your MYX to work by volunteering at one of our Member Associations
Think of this space as a MYXing pot for your stories, ideas, photos, films, drawings and thoughts. Remember, MYX is not just about you, it’s about all young people, all over the world. It’s the bigger MYX!
Express yourself and email your MYX
MYX CITY is a safe zone where you can try things out, learn stuff, chew things over, and think about other young people. We’re not saying you have to change the world, but you can try to make it a little bit better.
Welcome to MYX city, a city in trouble! The people of MYX city need your help to restore their sexual rights. Start with the intro module then click on the other modules to download and play. Once you complete a module you’ll be given part of the final password you’ll need to undertake the final task and restoreall the rights to the city!