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Katie MacEntee, Lukas Labacher and John Murray

Young people use activism to advocate for their sexual health rights

and to counter the social, political, and environmental threats to their

health and well-being. By fully integrating themselves into the process

of civic engagement—by incorporating pieces of themselves—youth

can bring about successful change. Young community members can

use civic engagement to speak out about their perceptions of how they

are aff ected by health-related issues or how they are stigmatized by the

community. In doing so, they are able to counter the ways in which

policymakers, often distanced from the ramifi cations of inadequate social

policy, portray the issues (Shucksmith and Hendry 1998). An interactive

photo project that took place at the 2010 International AIDS

Conference in Vienna, Austria, shows how civic engagement or what

we think of as speaking out can move beyond rallies and online video

and audio messages directed at policymakers and into the realm of digital

photography and body language. Surprisingly, in a digital world in

which body language and body parts are continually at risk of being

sexualized, this interactive project illustrates how digital photographs

of girls’ hands can be used to speak out in a positive, creative, and empowering

way about girls’ and young women’s perceptions of sexuality

and HIV.