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Ate Anna    A special year for SERC

Since the first issue of the Pilipino Express started in November 2005, Ask Ate Anna, the sexual health column of the Sexuality Education Resource Centre (SERC), has appeared bi-weekly, answering readers’ questions related to sex and sexuality. Linda Plenert and Anna Ling of SERC are the writers of this column.

Throughout these years, Ate Anna received tremendous support and positive feedback from the readers. Ate Anna has answered questions related to a variety of sexual health topics – women’s sexual health, male sexual health, body development of children, parents talking to children about sexuality, media influence and sexuality, dating, sexual orientation, raising children between two cultures, gender role changes in a new culture, family communication and relationships, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, etc.

If you are a regular reader of this column, you will know that many of the questions that other readers asked were real issues to many people as well. Very often, people want to know but are too embarrassed to talk and to ask about these sexual topics with their friends, families or even with their intimate partners. This column provides readers with accurate information on sexual and reproductive health so they can make better decisions about their sexual health and the well being of their families and themselves.

With the regular appearance in Pilipino Express, Ate Anna is a familiar name to readers. Some of the readers might have met Ate Anna in person through the annual community education event, the Meet Ate Anna/An evening with Ate Anna. The event has been held in March every year, in partnership with Pilipino Express for the Filipino community. However, the SERC agency where Ate Anna works may still be unfamiliar to some readers.

This is a good opportunity to introduce SERC and its history, as this is a special year for SERC. SERC is a community-based, non-profit organization. We respect choices and believe everyone has the right to make informed choices regarding their sexual and reproductive health. SERC promotes sexual health through education.

In 2009, SERC is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Its founding organization, the Winnipeg Birth Control Society was established in 1934, formed by Mary Speechly, Olive Patton and Margaret Hillsman. They worked underground to provide information on birth control methods and provide access to these methods. The Birth Control Society was part of the movement to legalize contraception. In 1969, contraception was decriminalized and this year marks the 40th anniversary of legalized birth control.

In the past 75 years, the organization underwent several name changes. In 1966, the Winnipeg Birth Control Society was changed to the Family Planning Association of Manitoba (FPAM). In 1976, FPAM was renamed Planned Parenthood Manitoba (PPM). As the organization evolved, the work has expanded to a broader mandate of sexuality and continues working with diverse communities. This was very different from the early years of the organization with the focus on birth control information only. So, finally in 1997, in reflection of the diversity of the organization’s work, it was renamed the Sexuality Education Resource Centre (SERC).

In addition, this September, SERC is excited to have a new look and a new space. A new SERC logo with theme colours “red and olive” will replace the old logo with the “little guy” raising both arms up. (Some sharp-eyed readers very likely noticed the change already. For others, take a moment and have a look at the top left of the new logo). We will also be moving to a new location to Suite 200–226 Osborne Street North (corner of Osborne and York). This new space is easily accessible to many bus routes.

Next issue, Ate Anna will answer readers’ questions and continue to promote sexual health through education. Ate Anna welcomes your questions or comments. Please write to the new address (see above) or email:


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