Even though our government remains tight-lipped over legalising homosexuality, the health ministry has come up with a resource kit to interact with the adolescents and address some of the most sensitive queries that they may have at their age.

In a welcome move, the resource material drafted by the health ministry, tells people that it was alright to be feel attracted towards the opposite sex and even towards the same sex for that matter. The kit also affirmed that one of the most important aspects in a relationship is respect and that it was pertinent for people to understand the meaning of consent.

Asserting that it was important to have transparency in any relationship,  the resource material adds that it was normal for boys to cry, something that is frowned upon. It asserts one should be able to speak about their problems to their partners in a respectful manner.

“Yes, adolescents frequently fall in love. They can feel attraction for a friend or any individual of the same or opposite sex. It is normal to have special feelings for someone. It is important for adolescents to understand that such relationships are based on mutual consent, trust, transparency and respect. It is alright to talk about such feelings to the person for whom you have them but always in a respectful manner. Boys should understand that when a girl says ‘no’ it means no” Indian Express quoted the excerpts from the resource material as saying.

In a bid to shatter the stereotypes, the kit says that it wrong to say that boy was not man enough because he was sensitive and urges the youth to stop judging someone on the basis of stereotypical masculine and femine traits. The reproductive health section of the kit also speaks about sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and also list measures to have “safe sex”. Along with enough information about condoms and contraceptive pills, the resource material lists masturbation as the safest option to have safe sex.

“A boy can cry to give vent to his feelings. He can also be soft-spoken or shy. Being rude and insensitive is not a sign of masculinity. It is alright for boys to like things like cooking and designing that are normally associated with girls; adopting the role of the other gender does not mean that he is not male. The same applies for girls who talk too much or like to dress like boys or play games like boys. It is wrong to label such people as ‘sissy’ or ‘tomboy’,” the manual reads.

As a part of the peer-education programme the resource kit is going to be circulated across the country. Health and Family Welfare has launched the SAATHIYA Resource Kit including ‘Saathiya Salah’ Mobile App for adolescents, here today, as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program. “One of the key interventions under the programme is introduction of the Peer Educators (Saathiyas) who act as a catalyst for generating demand for the adolescent health services and imparting age appropriate knowledge on key adolescent health issues to their peer groups,” the press release says.