Reclaiming Spaces: In Celebration of Vulvas and Vaginas

Parliamentarians, experts, community leaders and staff meet on Parliament Hill to reclaim space in health research, in politics, in policy making, in our communities and at the doctor's office to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of vulvas and vaginas.

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — On May 31, 2022, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, MP Pam Damoff, MP Andréanne Larouche, MP Leah Gazan, MP Elizabeth May, and Senator Marilou McPhedran co-hosted Reclaiming Spaces: In Celebration of Vulvas and Vaginas to celebrate and acknowledge vaginas and vulvas as a source of strength, empowerment, and pleasure. This event focused on reclaiming space - in health research, in politics, in policy making, at the doctor’s office - to celebrate the power and importance of vulvas and vaginas.

With the recent news in the United States regarding Roe v. Wade, conversations about sexual and reproductive health are more important than ever. Reclaiming Spaces: In Celebration of Vulvas and Vaginas brought together experts including Cynthia Loyst (The Social), Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah (Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity) and Frédérique Chabot (Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights), to discuss the importance of vulvas and vaginas.

The event featured remarks by Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of UNAIDS and an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, MP Andréanne Larouche, MP Pam Damoff, MP Leah Gazan, MP Elizabeth May, and Senator Marilou McPhedran.

 

Quotes

“We must destigmatize conversations surrounding the vulva and vagina. Reclaiming the terms vulva and vagina is important within public policy, health policy, and public safety. The importance of this conversation regarding vulvas and vagina is integral at a community level, as well as at a public policy level. Whether it is regarding the way we talk about vaginas and vulvas at the doctor, with our friends and family, or on Parliament Hill, the terms vagina and vulva shouldn’t be taboo or make us feel embarrassed and ashamed. Destigmatizing conversations about autonomy and reproductive and sexual health are integral, and it starts on Parliament Hill. Reclaiming Spaces: In Celebration of Vulvas and Vaginas and the conversations that followed highlighted that a safe and inclusive environment to discuss vaginas and vulvas is wanted and we look forward to this conversation continuing on and off Parliament Hill.”

Pam Damoff
Member of Parliament for Oakville North—Burlington
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety


“Canadians who think that the American rollback of sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR) can’t happen here are not paying attention. In Canada today many women and girls still experience their bodies being stigmatized, sexualized, controlled, violated. Parliamentarians must uphold Canadian law, must defend against resurgent and regressive forces that seek to denigrate and control female bodies because full SRHR, human rights, and development are all linked.”

Marilou McPhedran
Senator for Manitoba
Co-Chair of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians for Population and Development


This event is an opportunity to boldly celebrate vulvas and vaginas, recognizing their importance in our politics and language, as well as in health research, art, and everyday life. As the NDP critic for Women and Gender Equality, I am committed to expanding and protecting access to sexual and reproductive health care as a basic human right.”

Leah Gazan
Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre


"In the current context, amongst the questioning of the right to abortion in the United States, it is important for women to reclaim their bodies, and this is also done by democratizing the use of real terms to describe the female genitalia. We are now in 2022.”

Andréanne Larouche
Member of Parliament for Shefford


“I am grateful to my friend Pam Damoff for creating this opportunity for women to step up and speak out for reproductive health and for our rights. At 67 years old, I confess I am one of those having trouble speaking of our vaginas and vulvas. How extraordinary that as a woman in political life, not known for timidity, I need to move outside my comfort zone to embrace these words! I am honoured to join parliamentary colleagues in "celebrating vulvas and vaginas!”

Elizabeth May
Member of Parliament for Saanich—Gulf Islands
Parliamentary Leader of the Green Party


"Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is proud to co-host this event and join elected officials and civil society partners to reclaim space where policies and laws are made to talk openly about bodies, gender, and power. As we witness some leaders doubling down on their efforts to control women’s sexual and reproductive health and to force the determination of people’s gender based on their genitals while our actual health needs are cast aside, we will continue to champion comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health and rights, in schools, in research, in public spaces and on Parliament Hill."

Frédérique Chabot
Director of Health Promotion
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights


CONTACTS:

For Information (media only):

Sarah Thomas
Office of Pam Damoff
MP, Oakville North-Burlington
(e): [email protected]
(t): 613-992-1338

Action Canada
Ani Colekessian
Director of Communications
E: [email protected]

Posted on 2022-06-01
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