This May, we’re celebrating Sex Education for All Month. #SexEdForAll is about ensuring all young people have the power to access the education and health care they need to make healthy decisions, achieve the best futures for themselves, and live their lives on their terms.
So let’s celebrate the work that young people have done — and will continue to do — as leaders in this movement! Here are the stories of just a few rockstar activists who are advancing sex education in their communities.
Plan B Vending Machines on a College Campus in North Carolina
At Davidson College in North Carolina, Planned Parenthood Generation Action students used a school campaign grant from Planned Parenthood South Atlantic to survey students about access to over-the-counter sexual wellness products. They found a huge barrier on campus — students wanted better access to emergency contraception. The closest pharmacy sold Plan B One-Step at a relatively high price ($49.99), while the student health center sold it at a more affordable price ($25). But the student health center was closed in the evenings and on weekends.
So, the students installed a vending machine chock full of Plan B One-Step ($18), as well as pads (4 for $2), pantyliners (8 for $2), ibuprofen (2 doses for $2), pregnancy tests ($4 each), condoms (free), dental dams (free), and lubrication (free). The vending machine is popular, and students campuswide have praised the effort.
Teenagers Help Ban “Abstinence-Only” Programs in Colorado
A bill to block Colorado’s public and charter schools from teaching ineffective abstinence-only programs is headed to the governor’s desk to be signed into law — and that’s thanks in large part to the state’s student activists. Several students testified in support of the bill, prompting fierce backlash from anti-sex education politicians. But the students and the lawmakers supporting the bill prevailed.
One of the students who testified before the state legislature was Clark Wilson. When Clark was in eighth grade, his teacher showed students a used piece of tape to shame them into believing that those who have sex before marriage are “impure.” Now, the bill is set to ban harmful lessons like that statewide, as well as mandate teachings about safer sex and consent in ways that are inclusive of LGBTQ students
Condoms in High School Bathrooms District-Wide in California
Alba Alvarado made condom and sexually transmitted infection (STI) pamphlets available in high school bathrooms throughout the San Rafael, California school district. How? The then-high school senior did research, gave presentations, wrote a policy, and pitched it to the school board. She urged the school board leaders to make condoms accessible for students by installing condom dispensers.
Almost a year and a half later, Alvarado’s proposal passed — but without funding. In support of the policy, the National Coalition of STD Directors coordinated with Trojan Condoms to donate 20,000 condoms to the San Rafael school district.
Period Podcast from Middle Schoolers in New York
Students at Bronx Preparatory Middle School in New York City started a podcast called “Sssh! Periods” that combats stigma about menstruation. The eighth-graders were inspired to create the podcast because they heard students and teachers at their school talking uncomfortably about menstruation — and they also noticed that some people in their community couldn’t afford menstrual products.
On the podcast, the girls discuss why they oppose the "pink tax" — which refers to how menstrual products are not tax-exempt in New York, unlike other medical necessities. They also share personal stories of hearing shaming language from others about periods, and empower their listeners to let go of unnecessary “menstrual etiquette.”Learn how to advocate for sex education in your community!
Updating the Sex Education Curriculum in Massachusetts
At Westford Academy, the only public high school in the town of Westford, two recent graduates made updating their 20-year-old sex education curriculum their senior year capstone project. Their proposed changes included incorporating sexual orientation, gender, and relationship safety into sex education. State officials say the graduates’ work proved to them that inclusive, evidence-based sex education needed to be a priority for school staff, and they’re now updating the curriculum.
Sex education that includes and supports LGBTQ identities can be a powerful tool to help keep LGBTQ young people healthy, and help everybody be better allies
Planned Parenthood and Sex Education
Sex education that's evidence-based and delivered by trained professionals is extremely effective and widely supported in the United States. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of sex education, reaching 1.2 million individuals each year, 64% of which are middle school and high school students.