Sexual education in a school at the Brazilian Amazon

brazil class

Campinas, Brazil (Feliphe Schiarolli, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Maria Clara Pinheiro da Silva, an academic of the medical course at the Federal University of Pará in Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The school is a decisive space to contribute to the construction of social patterns of relationships based on the respect for sexual diversity through the deconstruction of stereotyped and restrictive social representations concerning all minorities, among them, the LGBTQI+ population. As the first contact of the individual with society, therefore, this social space must be understood as universal and collective. It should awaken the student’s awareness that school is a place of respect for the individual differences of human beings.

The experience in community to identify the descriptors allowed to sensitize the students of the medical course, of the Federal University of Pará, from the reality of the students of the State School of Primary and Secondary Education Brigadeiro Fontenelle. The perception among the 8th and 9th graders of the school is about the need to introduce the discussion about the discovery of sexuality, so that it is important to address acceptance of diversity in community as being the pillars of the guiding elements of the discussion about the individual’s biopsychosocial state in an expanded view of health. After all, the practice is not the only place for doctors to act. The community needs the immersion of the doctor in their difficulties.

The medical academics followed the model of Situational Strategic Planning, which addresses the social situation, aiming to guarantee the efficiency and of implementing the action project, from the definition of priorities defined through the situational analysis. The planning followed the explanatory, normative, strategic and tactical-operational moments to carry out an action in which the adolescents interacted with a representative of the LGBTQI+ movement, a psychologist and a legal representative. In addition, an excerpt from the film “Prayers for Bobby” was shown and, at the end, papers for students to give their opinion about the event.

After reading and recording the opinions of the participants, the medical students verified what was observed during the action: adolescents knew little about sexuality, especially when it involved LGBTQI+ population. The speech of 3 references in this subject had a positive impact on the students, as reported by them in the papers distributed, when they thanked the event and reported their own experiences. However, the surprise was not only among teenagers, but also among medical students, who were unaware of any definitions of acronyms. Contradictory is the definition of an action in which these academics, with the initial purpose of teaching sex education, were apprentices as well. Understanding not only the particularities of LGBTQI+, but also their rights in clinical care was one of the key points.

The challenges faced are many, starting with the precariousness of the building, limiting the professionals’ performance. However, the search for knowledge is urgent, to the medical care supply, with dignity and respect, the peculiarities of this people. A school in the Brazilian Amazon was a learning space not only for its students, because the future doctors absorbed important points to be put into practice in the future.

About the author

Maria Clara Pinheiro da Silva is an academic of the medical course at the Federal University of Pará and member of the International Federation of Medical Students Association Brazil UFPA Committee, in which, as Local Officer of the National Exchange Director and member of the Local Exchange, promotes national and international exchanges. She works as a volunteer in the Diabetic Friend Extension Project and participates in the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology of Natural Products, as Coordinator of the Pharmacology Monitoring in the module of Molecules, Cells, Genesis
and their Levels of Organization and develops research on drugs acting on the nervous system of animal models.

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