Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Organizations Issue Call to Action for Sex Education

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Over 180 Groups Kick Off #SexEdForAll Month with Information, Events, and a Video Challenge - Power to Decide

May is Sex Ed for All Month, an initiative spearheaded by a coalition of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice organizations committed to ensuring all young people have access to the education and health care they need to secure the future they envision for themselves.

Throughout May, the Sex Education Coalition—including Advocates for Youth, Answer, Healthy Teen Network, In Our Own Voice, NACCHO, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Planned Parenthood, Power to Decide, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, and URGE—will bring digital resources directly to young people, continue to support parents and educators as they navigate remote learning, and keep advancing policies that ensure all young people are equipped with the education, information, and resources they need to make informed decisions. Organizing partners represent every facet of the fight for sex education, from educators and trainers, to parents, to policy makers, to young people themselves, including those living in rural settings, communities of color, LGBTQ+ youth, immigrants, youth with lower incomes, and youth in foster care.

Over 180 organizations have signed on to the Sex Ed For All Month Call to Action, which will be shared with federal, state, and local legislators to demand funding and legislation to ensure every student receives quality sex education.

Decades of research show strong support for sex education among parents, educators, young people, and the general public. Unfortunately, too many young people in the U.S. do not receive the tools they need to make informed sexual and reproductive health decisions because funding and quality of education programs vary significantly across the country.

With schools closed in nearly every state due to the COVID-19 pandemic, young people, parents, educators, and advocates are encouraged to participate in the #SexEdForAll video challenge by sharing how sex education can promote social change. The video challenge will bring real voices across the nation together, elevating the importance of why all young people—no matter who they are, where they live, or what their income is—have the right to the information and skills they need to protect their health.

To view the video, and share your story for #SexEdForAll month, visit here.

Each week during May, groups will highlight a different aspect of the fight for sex education and how you can be an advocate from home:

  • May 4-8: Sex ed for all for social change: An introduction to why we need sex ed for all, and what we need to do to get there.
  • May 11-15: Engaging young people directly: A focus on youth, including providing digital sex education resources for young people and lifting up youth voices in advocating for sex education.
  • May 18-22: Focus on parents and educators: How we can support parents and educators from home, and how parents and educators can be advocates in the fight for sex education.
  • May 26-30: Policy priorities and demands for sex education: Engaging policymakers on how federal funding and policies supporting sex education and sexual health services can help young people, including a call to action for federal, state, and local legislators.

Young people need and deserve quality sex education and sexual health care all year round, no matter what. Get involved this month by telling us why you believe in sex education for all: participate in the #SexEdForAll video challenge and follow the hashtag on social media.

Please find quotes from Sex Education Coalition member organizations

“Young people have the right to lead healthy lives and that includes sex education that is of high quality, age appropriate and honest. Sex Ed for All Month provides policymakers at all levels to center the needs of young people, particularly those most marginalized and commit to equipping them with all of the information and skills they need to be sexually healthy. We can’t let sex education fall through the cracks as social distancing continues,” said Debra Hauser, President, Advocates for Youth.

“For nearly 40 years Answer has provided and promoted unfettered access to high-quality sex education. This May we are proud to observe Sex Ed for All Month and continue advocating for sex education for all young people, especially those who are most vulnerable. The right to age-appropriate, medically accurate, sexual health information is too often overlooked when it comes to young people of color and young people who are immigrants, in foster care, or identify as LGBTQ. Even as students and educators engage in remote learning, we must ensure all students have access to the quality sex education they need and deserve. We must also provide parents and educators with the knowledge, skills and temperament to provide the sex education that empowers young people to make informed and healthy decisions for themselves,” said Dan Rice, M.Ed., Executive Director, Answer.

“Access to high-quality, comprehensive sex education and health services is essential. And it’s a human right. Unfortunately, we know that not all young people get the sex ed they need. A global pandemic can magnify the disparities and inequities that exist—both now and before. We have a responsibility to make sure our nation’s young people have access to the sexual health education and services they need to be able to lead healthy, sexual lives. Healthy Teen Network is proud to be a part of this national coalition and share the call to action for #SexEdForAll. Sex ed for all youth. Sex ed for all places. Sex ed for all times,” said Janet Max, Vice President, Healthy Teen Network.

“All young people deserve quality sex education that is evidence-informed, skills-based, and affirming of diverse genders, sexualities, races and ethnicities, and families. Comprehensive sex education is more than condoms and contraception, important as they may be—it provides young people with the tools and resources they need to navigate relationships, strengthen bodily autonomy, set and achieve goals, and increase health-seeking behavior. In short, it’s one of the best means we have to enable adolescents and young adults to make healthy decisions while reducing systemic inequities. As the voice of local health departments, which work in communities across the United States to engage and empower young people, NACCHO is proud to share the call to action for #SexEdForAll,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA, CEO, NACCHO.

“Even in these unprecedented times, we must continue to champion the importance of sex education for young people. We know from years of research that sex education helps young people develop the age-appropriate skills they need to make healthy decisions for themselves, their relationships and their futures. It also helps them to be more thoughtful about the world around them. All young people—including those in rural areas, youth with lower incomes, communities of color, LGBTQ youth, and immigrant youth—need to be affirmed. Sex education that centers a young person’s experiences offers unbiased and relevant information around healthy relationships, identity, sexuality, consent, body image, and more,” said Dr. Sara C. Flowers, Vice President of Education, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This year during Sex Ed for All Month, many parents and caregivers are helping their kids learn remotely due to stay-at-home orders, and we encourage them to have supportive, ongoing dialogue with their children and teens about sex and relationships. Resources from the experts at Planned Parenthood and our partners can help start these conversations. We hope they’ll also advocate for quality programs at the federal, state, and local levels so that all young people have access to sex education.”

“For the second year in a row, we are proud to stand alongside our sister organizations to bring critical attention to Sex Ed For All Month, an effort focused on ensuring all young people—no matter who they are or where they live—have the quality sexual health information, access to reproductive health services and the agency to make informed decisions regarding their reproductive well-being,” said Gillian Sealy, PhD, MPH, CEO, Power to Decide. “Even now, as we live in these challenging times, Sex Ed for All Month provides the potential for us to positively influence a young person’s life so that we can help ensure that all young people have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child.”

“Even amid nation-wide school closures and stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, this year’s Sex Ed For All Month observance provides a powerful and necessary opportunity to uplift the need for advancing sex education in this country. This May, we are excited to share resources that allow us to provide young people with high-quality sex education—without anyone having to leave home. At SIECUS, we believe that sex education is a vehicle for social change. It has the power to foster a new generation of young people who believe in bodily autonomy, healthy relationships, affirming each other’s identities, and building a stronger community of connection and respect. In a time as challenging as this, it’s crucial that we focus on naming and sharing the society-shifting power of sex education. We are proud to join our partners across the country in doing exactly that,” said Christine Soyong Harely, President & CEO, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change.

“Young people deserve to learn about sex, pleasure and health without the toxic burdens of shame and misinformation. Queer, trans and intersex folks deserve to see ourselves represented and respected in sex ed lessons taught in our nation’s classrooms. Today, we are far from that vision. For many young people, comprehensive, inclusive sexual health education and services have been pushed out of reach by discriminatory policies, lack of funding, and outright lies. We all—no matter our orientation, gender, race, income, zip code, or immigration status—deserve to make sexual and reproductive health decisions with dignity. Whether sex ed happens from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic or in a classroom, young people need accurate information and tools to explore sexuality, identity, and consent. Sex Ed for All Month is a powerful reminder that comprehensive, LGBTQIA+ inclusive sexual health education is absolute necessary for a just and healthy society. It’s time to fund real sex ed, stop the stigma, and include everyone in sex ed," said Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity.

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Julian Teixeira
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