MAY IS NATIONAL SEX ED FOR ALL MONTH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2021
MAY IS NATIONAL SEX ED FOR ALL MONTH
Together, We Can Ensure Equity and Access for All
May is Sex Ed For All Month, a national effort spearheaded by a coalition of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations committed to ensuring equitable and accessible sex education for all young people. For the third year in a row, the coalition will raise awareness on the importance and need for sex education that is consistent with this year’s theme, Equity and Access for All.
Throughout the month, the coalition will continue its pledge to help ensure all young people have equitable access to the sex education and sexual health care they need while ensuring these critical resources are available to young people of color, LGBTQ+ youth, immigrant youth, young people with disabilities, and systems-involved youth, as well as those who have lower incomes and live in rural areas.
Events during the month will include a Youth Town Hall (May 4, 2021, 3:30–5 pm EST; streamed online), a briefing for state legislators (May 21, 2021, 2–3pm EST), and a federal Congressional Briefing.
Polling has consistently shown strong support for sex education among parents, educators, young people, and the general public. However, only 17 states require sex education to be medically accurate, and 35 states require schools to stress abstinence when sex education or HIV/STI instruction is provided. Currently, the U.S. does not have a national sex education program and sex education is not funded at the federal level, leaving the funding and quality of programs to vary significantly across the country. This leaves many young people without the knowledge and skills they need to make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health.
“When sex education is normalized and prioritized, it has the power to change our society,” said Jennifer Driver, Senior Director of Reproductive Rights at SiX. “Sex education is more than just a curriculum in the classroom. When those most marginalized are reflected in sex education, we equip all young people to better advocate for themselves, their peers, and their communities toward a more equitable society.”
“For example,” Driver continued, “when sex education challenges us to examine how white supremacy permeates how we view sexuality in this country, it reveals the way our society continues to oversexualize young girls, particularly Black girls, and forces us to acknowledge the harmful ramifications of when we center cisgender, heterosexual relationships. Sex education is a life-long journey, and comprehensive sex education policies help by setting early healthy foundations that carries us throughout our life.”
This year’s Sex Ed For All Month is being coordinated by the Sex Education Collaborative—representing 24 national, regional, and state-based organizations with extensive experience training educators to deliver school-based sex education—in collaboration with the federal Sex Education Coalition, as well as other national partners. Organizing partners include Advocates for Youth, Answer, Healthy Teen Network, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Power to Decide, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, State Innovation Exchange (SiX), and URGE, among others.
Young people have consistently called for increased access to sexual health information and healthcare services, as they face vast systemic inequalities and structural barriers that prevent positive health outcomes. Decades of research has found that in addition to helping to prevent teen pregnancy and STIs, sex education can help prevent child sex abuse, create safer school spaces for LGBTQ young people, increase healthy relationships, reduce relationship violence, improve social-emotional learning, and increase media literacy. Research also has shown that sex education can have a transformational impact on school climate by utilizing intersectional approaches that affirm race, gender, and other aspects of identity. High-quality sex education can contribute to dismantling barriers to social and racial justice by promoting equity and inclusion in classrooms and school environments.
Throughout the month, join us in celebrating Sex Ed For All by calling on elected officials to invest in high-quality sex education that meets the full needs of young people. Support sex education programs that promote critical thinking, communication, decision-making, consent, self-esteem, and self-efficacy and provide young people with equitable access to the education and care they need and deserve. Get involved this month by telling us why you believe in Sex Ed For All by following and using the hashtag #SexEdForAll on social media.
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