The Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health (ACASH) postponed a “Consent for Kids” fair on Saturday that was slated to have included “a gender creative fashion show, in which children can try on different clothes to explore self-expression.”
ACASH was planning to host the event at Springville Road Regional Library. According to its Twitter profile, the organization received emails and phone calls requesting that the event be canceled because it is “inappropriate for children and adults.”
The ACASH posted the following event description on Birmingham265.org:
Join the Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health for our Consent for Kids Fair on May 20th from 11am-2pm at the Springville Road Public Library in Birmingham. This is a free and public event for kids and their parents to come learn about communication, body boundaries, identity expression and more. We will have a gender creative fashion show and photo booth, a consent story hour (reading the books in the list below), pin the ovary on the fallopian tube game, drawing table, freeze dance, and tons of resources for parents and young adults–highschool and college aged youth. Snacks and refreshments will be provided as well. We are partnering with Take BHM, URGE, the Birmingham Public Library, Yellowhammer Fund and Planned Parenthood Southeast for this event. We hope you’ll join us!
According to ACASH, the books were for ages 3-9. The list included:
“Will Ladybug Hug?” by Hilary Leung
“Bodies are Cool?” by Tyler Feder
“Don’t Hug Doug (He Doesn’t Like it)" by Carrie Finison
“C is for Consent” by Eleanor Morris
“We Listen to Our Bodies” by Lydia Bowers
“Rissy No Kissies” by Katey Howes
“Can I Give You a Squish?” by Emily Neilson
ACASH claimed that the callers warned the event would be disrupted and were “personally attacking and threatening library staff.” It said its decision to postpone the event came “out of an abundance of caution to ensure safety for all those involved,” but it still plans to host the event at some point this summer.
ACASH advocates for “age-appropriate” sex education in K-12 schools, offering online resources for students.
However, not all of these resources seem age appropriate. One series of animated videos labeled for ages 10-14 contains videos titled "Condom Negotiation," "Having Sex: Intimacy and Emotions," "Does Penis Size Really Matter," "How To Be A LGBTQIA+ Ally," "How the Boner Grows," "Being Female, Male, Transgender or Fluid," "Abortion with pills: What is it?," "What are Pronouns?" and "Porn is not Sex Ed."
The organization also denounced policies requiring teachers to tell parents if their child identifies as a gender apart from their birth gender at school or would prohibit minors from receiving sex changes.
In September, 1819 News discovered that State Health Officer Scott Harris and State Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey sat on the board of the ACASH, serving as ex officio members due to their positions.
Education officials told 1819 news that Mackey was not informed about his ex officio position on the ACASH board, and he asked them to remove his name.
Instead of responding to 1819 News, the Alabama Department of Public Health remained silent and even decided to disable comments on social media posts. Harris was later quietly removed from the board, as was reported earlier this month.
On Tuesday, Harris spoke at a "Substance Use and Social Justice Symposium" at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB), where he criticized legislation in Alabama referring to transgender people. Harris said that the ADPH is "appalled" by some of the legislation in Alabama.
Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation in 2022 that prohibited providing puberty blockers, artificial hormones, and sex surgery operations for children under 19.
1819 News asked Harris to specify which legislation he referred to, and he declined.
When 1819 News reported his comments on Wednesday, Harris told lawmakers that the report was "taken out of context." However, 1819 News released the full audio from Harris' remarks on Thursday.
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