Andrew Jenkins is a devout feminist and queer social justice activist hailing from the west coast. He started his activism as a student organizer on campus, where he mobilized young people to fight for sexual and reproductive justice. In 2011, Andrew organized the first convening of LGBT military personnel – post repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – as the Conference Director for OutServe. He also served as the Fundraising Committee Chair on the Young People For Alumni Board of Directors, engaging and training the next generation of progressive leaders. Soon after, Andrew joined the Choice USA team, where he brought his unwavering passion for youth leadership development and feminist praxis to his work in the field, engaging, training and mobilizing the upcoming generation of pro-choice leaders. He now serves as the Program Director for a youth leadership development company in California.
As a friend and colleague from Planned Parenthood so eloquently put it, Kansas is a “petri dish”—a place where the most extreme anti-abortion laws are conceived and tested. But students are organized and we are fighting back.
After months of political ads, voter registration drives, presidential debates, and the circus that is an election cycle, we’re finally approaching the big day. And although this is a new year and a new election, some things never seem to change. Erroneous claims of voter apathy. Widespread fear that young people won’t show up to the polls. The ‘knight in shining armor’ complex masqueraded as a legitimate way to engage Millennials. But don’t sweat it.
The progressive community is deathly afraid of talking about sex and young people. We have to stop running away from sex like it’s our movement’s dirty little secret, because despite the supposed mainstream appeal and political expedience that comes with a watered down sexless narrative about birth control, it also comes with a swift price.
Beginning this month, for the first time in the history of this country, access to no-copay birth control will be a reality for millions of young people across the country. To underscore this moment – or fail to maximize its transformative potential – would be a grave mistake.
Growing up in the United States is like playing a foucauldian game of discipline and punish. Disciplined by a morally bankrupt narrative about sex and sexuality and then punished for daring to question it.
With the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade a little over a month away, and the 2012 election right around the corner, I can’t help but think about the popularly speculated relationship between abortion rights and young people.