In hopes of ameliorating the stigma around sex, Occidental’s Planned Parenthood Club aims to create a safe space for students to express their sexuality and learn about reproductive services and policies. Throughout the semester, Planned Parenthood Club hosts a variety of events in order to raise awareness about sexual health practices on campus. The week of Feb. 9, the club promoted sex positivity through a series of events, including a photo campaign about what sex positivity means to students and a workshop on sex toys and how to better utilize them. Following the workshop, the club took a field trip to Romantix, a sex toy shop in Pasadena. To conclude the week, Panned Parenthood Club’s president Nikita Wolf (senior) and Planned Parenthood Club’s vice president Daviona Moore (junior) hosted a sex positivity mixer on the Weingart patio, which Wolf said allowed attendees to celebrate their sexual preferences.
“In my past experience with sex education and body positivity, I felt that I wasn’t very comfortable in my body and my sex education was inadequate,” Wolf said. “After I got introduced to the Planned Parenthood Club, I realized that sex education can be fun, especially when learning with other people.”
Like Wolf, Moore sought to gain a deeper understanding of sex education and reproductive issues in college, leading her to join the club.
“I stumbled upon the Planned Parenthood Club before coming to Oxy because I was scrolling through the Oxy website and found an article about this event we do every April called Menstruation Celebration,” Moore said. “I thought this was really cool and I wanted to be a part of this.”
In 2015, Sara Samaha ’15 and Mary Atyemizian ’15 started Planned Parenthood Club. Both students interned with Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, according to former member Alex Morse ’18. Although the club is relatively new to Occidental, Wolf said it has become a prominent force on campus. Organizations like Dance Production, Alpha Lambda Phi Alpha sorority and ASOC Senate have co-sponsored past Planned Parenthood events, such as the #TBT with Sex Positivity dance.
“This club is something a lot of folks on campus know about,” Moore said. “Even if they don’t actively come to us, they know we are there if they need extra information or resources.”
According to Wolf, Planned Parenthood club has the ability to bring people together, creating an inclusive and safe environment to discuss sexual health. Wolf said sexual health and reproductive rights are relevant to everyone, whether they are sexually active or not, and that students should remain open to the notion of delving deeper into their sexual identity.
In addition to being sexual health advocates on campus, Wolf said Planned Parenthood Club extends its influence to the surrounding community. Wolf hopes to participate in neighborhood canvassing later in the semester, informing residents of Planned Parenthood health clinic’s plans to relocate from Colorado Boulevard to another nearby location. With the census quickly approaching in mid-March, the club also plans to inform people about how to fill out the survey; the data helps ensure local communities are represented by the government.
Planned Parenthood Club’s annual end-of-the-year event will be Menstruation Celebration, concluding with a Period Party, according to Moore. These events will follow a similar pattern as sex positivity week, hosting a variety of activities pertaining to sexual health throughout one week in April.
“Typically, we will pick a theme regarding periods. In the past, I know we did menstrual cups because this is a sustainable way to have your period,” Moore said.
Over the past few years, Planned Parenthood Club has increased its outreach by educating first years on sexual health, holding screenings on abortion and decreasing stigma around menstrual health, according to executive board member Quinlan Genrich (sophomore).
“Planned Parenthood is focused on very global issues, but in a local setting,” Genrich said. “They increase accessibility within Oxy and work with the affiliate student body. This semester we are trying to up our outreach, getting a larger cross-section of Oxy students to come — even if it’s just for 15 minutes.”