Report on IF & ASBI International Youth Conference on Sexuality

14 October 2019

After one year of intense work on the issues of sexuality and body awareness, the IF  Youth Group, with support from IF and its Italian member organisation ASBI, held the International Youth Conference: ‘’Sexuality, Affectivity and Fertility: youth with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus between desires and taboos’’.

After the welcoming words from Cristina Dieci (ASBI President) and Carmen Clemente (IF Communication Coordinator), the IF Youth Group presented the project on sexuality, including conclusions from the survey, and their plan for 2020. Their presentation is available here.

We had the pleasure to hear Giampiero Griffo, board member of the European Disability Forum and President of DPI Italy, on the importance of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities when talking about sexuality and reproductive rights.

There was time to discuss the role of the sexual assistants for people with disabilities, different opinions and benefits. Various presentations were given and and knowledge was shared on the topic by experts such as Dr Sara Grosso, specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics, who highlighted two important issues: the relevance of this conference for doctors, as they were able to hear questions and concerns of young people with SBH, and the duty of doctors to be updated about issues specifically connected to SBH. 

We also had the opportunity to hear the positive testimony from one young person with SBH about his experience with sex assistance. Sexual assistance is a very controversial topic and more debates and clarifications are needed. We were very happy to openly talk with young people with SBH about their opinions, as this is the way to break taboos! For accurate information on this topic , IF suggests to check the Love Giver website.

One of the most interesting experiences of the conference was a speed-dating session in which the participants had the opportunity to have conversations in small groups about different topics: dating, physical healthcare and its benefits on mental health and relationships, and experiences with gynaecologists, among other topics. 

The project of the youth group is going in the right direction and there is an ambitious plan for 2020 so stay tuned! 

You can find photos of the conference at ASBI’s Facebook page and a video will be shared soon!

Please do not hesitate to contact Carmen Clemente IF Communication Coordinator at [email protected] if you have any questions.