Rep. Sydney Jordan’s comprehensive sex education bill won approval from the Preventive Health Policy Committee in the Minnesota House last week. This legislation would require consent-centered, LGBTQ-inclusive, medically and scientifically accurate, and age-appropriate sex education in school districts and charter schools.
Across Minnesota youth continue to share their stories in legislative testimonies, letters to the editor, and on social media. A recurring theme: Inadequate sexual health education leaves youth with questions and shame.
Sometimes these questions arrive with their first experience menstruating.
“I remember feeling lost and confused when my first period arrived."Tally, Youth Advocate
Other times, the feelings stem from exclusions in the curriculum.
We did not learn about LGBTQ+ sexual health and identity. The topic was completely ignored, which made me, as a member of the community, feel completely ignored and also afraid—afraid that there was something wrong with me as I was not included in the conversation at all.”Maple, Youth Advocate
Moreover, omissions in sex ed curriculum leave Minnesotans in danger.
"As a special education student—I didn’t not receive sexual education in school. I did not learn about consent, or healthy relationships, or my body, or how to keep myself safe and healthy. I have learned those things since….through mistakes that cost me dearly in trauma and dignity…instead of learning them in a classroom."Jillian, Youth Advocate
We must do better. As physician and house representative Kelly Morrison pointed out, the bill is an example of evidence-based policy that Minnesota should embrace: "These are just basic facts about our bodies and how we exist in the world...we need to empower our children to know about themselves."
This legislation is now headed to the Education Finance committee. We will continue to stand with the young Minnesotans fighting for their right to live healthy, informed lives.Stand with these young advocates and tell your legislators to pass comprehensive sex education.