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Ruben Alan Avila Reyna

Ruben Alan Avila Reyna - 2019 Nominee
Position: Mexico Country Coordinator
Organization: International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Current Location: Mexico, Latin America
Bachelor's Degree in International Relations from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Certificate: Women, Gender and Postconflict from UN Women Colombia (2017)
Certificate: Human Rights, Discrimination and Extremism from Instituto de Drets Humans de Catalunya (2018)
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Local Youth Award 2017 (Category: Social Development)
    Awarding Organization:
    Instituto Estatal de la Juventud de Nuevo León
    Date Awarded:
    December 20, 2017
  • Award:
    25x25 Young Leader
    Awarding Organization:
    SheDecides
    Date Awarded:
    February 4, 2019
Ruben is a young leader who works empowering other young people to know, promote and defend their SRHR as part of the fundamental right to health. He also works building safe spaces for youth to speak about their SRHR especially for LGBTIQ+ people – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

In 2014, I co-founded the first LGBTIQ students group in my University, where I worked for 3 years organizing and opening safe spaces for youth people to speak and learn about sexual and reproductive health and rights. We also colaborate with different NGOs and Public Institutions to organize events as the 1st Sexual Diversity Week (More than 15 activities and 20 speakers)
Between 2015-2016 I colaborated with Amnesty International as facilitator in a human rights education program with the objective of empower youth people and adolescents to learn and advocate for their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In August of this year with the support of IYAFP, I'll launch a program to training youth people to be Youth Conselors on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

My interest working on Family Planning and sexual and reproductive health was born with my personal experience as a youth gay man, living in a conservative country (Mexico) I didn't received comphrensive sexual education and as a gay man, everything was more difficult to me when I decided to have sex.
This experiences made me think about how many youth people like me, never had a safe space to talk or ask about things related to sexual and reproductive health.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

1) Today I have the oportunity to speak in important spaces about the needs of youth people (for example LGBTIQ youth) and also I have the opportunity to advocate for the meanningfully youth inclusion on decision making.
2) For me is really important support the empowerment of other youth people who will lead the agenda. We' wont be youth forever so its really important to share our experiences and knowledges to others.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

I'm developing my first global project related to build a "new normal" in family planning. What? Yes, a new normal in family planning where LGBTIQ people are included.
I want to use this grant award in the creation of an online platform working to change the narrative about the sex, love, family and life of LGBTIQ people.
Also to work in the creation of resources for health providers and others professionals working in FP and SRHR to know about how to introduce LGBTIQ people on their work

Photos of the nominee in the field/at work
Speaking at the Women Deliver 2019 Youth Pre-Conference Presentation of the 25x25 young leaders from SheDecides and ICPD25 (25 youth leaders from 25 different countries, all was born in the same year that ICPD, 1994) Speaking in the Opening of the 1st Sexual Diversity Week 2016 in the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.

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