July 1 2022
by Beau Knowles Knox LGBT Businesses
The beginning of July brought us news from Planned Parenthood of Tennessee. Read more as we learn about the new programs that are beginning directly from the PP's Health Educator Noé Monárrez.
"My name is Noé Monárrez and I’m the Health Educator for Knoxville/East TN on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi. I’ve been in this position for a little over a year now, and now that I’ve gotten my footing secure, I’m hoping to expand our programs and improve our relationship with our community (which is where y’all come in!). Since I’m actually from Knoxville, I know the area pretty well, but the people less so. We’ve had so much movement and travel, plus with different businesses closing or opening since the pandemic began, that I’d love to lift what my programs are and how I would appreciate y’alls support!
Currently, I coordinate two (2) programs in Knoxville/East TN:
The first is our Condom Distribution Program- essentially, someone either contacts me directly, or PPTNM in general, asking for free safer sex materials (external or internal condoms, lubricants, and/or dental dams) and they get directed to a local Distribution Site or are eligible to receive supplies via mail, free of charge. This is where my first ask comes in: I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have WAYYY more local, designated Distribution Sites [in East TN] for our community members to access. The only criteria for a business or organization to be a Distribution Site is 1) they can hold/store their safer sex supplies in a temperature-controlled space, easily accessible by any individual and 2) DO NOT SELL these materials to individuals. Because the objective of the program is to improve public health around sexual interactions and to reduce STI rates in our community, the condoms, lubes, and dental dams must be financially accessible TO ALL (hence, free of charge). If you are interested in being a Distribution Site, your only responsibility would be to keep an eye on your supply and simply request more when you run low. Aside from that, easy peasy!
The second program I coordinate in Knoxville/East TN is our FYI Peer Education Program (flyer attached). This program is designed to provide comprehensive sexual education, leadership development, and advocacy skills for adolescents and high school students. We run through the academic school year, meeting on average every two weeks (via Zoom for this upcoming year). Students will have additional requirements integrated into the program that will make them eligible for a stipend at the end of each semester. Seeing as how TN state law effectively prohibits us (Sexuality Health Educators) from stepping into public schools, and TN law only mandates abstinence-only sexual education, there is a massive information gap in our community when it comes to sexuality education. As such, my second ask is this: if you, or anyone you know, has a teenager in their family, or works with teenagers/adolescents, that are interested in sexuality education and developing advocacy skills, please PLEASE connect them with me! Our program IS application based, with the application link or via QR code. I would LOVE to increase my numbers of active students in the program for this upcoming school year.
Education and advocacy never rest! If you are interested in anything I’ve just mentioned, please feel free to reach out to via Email or DM on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @jnoemonarrez
[Side note: for current public-school educators or employees, if you choose to display our FYI flyer in a public school, please ensure that our PPTNM logo is covered/removed to protect against any legal retaliation]