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Advocate Spotlight: Meet Caitlyn Caruso!

advocacy, advocate, make a difference, lgbtq, sex education
By , 18, Staff Writer Originally Published: October 7, 2016 Revised: November 3, 2016

Caitlyn Caruso has been standing up for the rights of LGBTQ students since middle school, when she organized a Day of Silence event at her school and was met with homophobia from some students and push-back from school administration. Today, Caitlyn is a high school senior in Las Vegas, who advocates for comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education and continues to push for equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community. Her advocacy led to an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. On the show, Caitlyn, along with other young people, talked about her work getting comprehensive sexuality education in Las Vegas schools. When Caitlyn was asked by a Daily Show correspondent why sex education is important, she said, “We need to be able to make these healthy, responsible and educated decisions about our own bodies.” Not only is she working on bringing comprehensive sex ed to Las Vegas, Caitlyn is also part of Advocates for Youth’s Young Women of Color Leadership Council, where she helps educate others about sexuality and HIV by talking at schools and national conferences.

At 18, Caitlyn has accomplished many things, and that is truly inspiring, which is why we took some time to learn more about what inspires her.

Passion

“I am passionate about a lot of issues, but one of the issues that rises to the top is equity across all communities and identities. Equality is a sham that proclaims all should have equal hands up, but equity ensures everyone else has the same starting point, [even] when some communities are starting 10 yards behind. When we do our work, we must center the most marginalized communities in our discussions. This is a principle I try to carry with me with all the issues I am passionate about.”

Inspiration

“I am inspired by the strong womyn in my life that put in work on a daily basis, like the womyn of color I am graced with in my life—previous Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, Januari McKay and Trina Scott. I am inspired not only by them, but by myself. I know I do good work, and I like to revel in that.”

When we do our work, we must center the most marginalized communities in our discussions.

Burns Her Up

“One thing that makes me really angry is when the lawmakers of my state like to pretend that they know what’s good for young folk without consulting us about any of it!”

Ridiculous Myth

“One myth I heard about sex growing up was that the clitoris was a hole.”

Likes

“I like community and being carefree after a long, hard day of work.”

Dislikes

“I dislike that there is so much work to be done, and it can sometimes feel impossible to do all of it.”

Remove It From the Dictionary

“I would remove the word ‘hate.’ I don’t think that word belongs in my vocabulary, at least.”

Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr?

 “I am a Twitter freak (@mylovelycaitlyn), but I recognize how useful Facebook is for organizing!”

Dream Dinner

 “If I could have dinner with anyone in the world, I would have dinner with Assata Shakur. Her fearlessness and resilience is just what I need in my life.”

Essentials If She Were Stranded on a Desert Island

 “If I was stranded on a desert island, I would bring a boat maker and the novel Bad Feminist, and I would bring beans and rice.”

Show Her the Money

“If I had one million dollars, I would finally start the organization I’ve been sitting on, and I would gather young folk and pay them for the organizing work that they do. My friends and I have wanted to start a youth-run nonprofit doing work around the most marginalized of our communities from a queer people of color lens. Providing such resources here on the west coast. I know, could make a difference in the climate of sex ed and youth involvement.”

Visit the Sexetc.org Action Center and learn how you can change sex ed in your school.

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