Youth Organizing Campaigns
Sex Education Justice
Sex education is not just about looking at gross pictures of STIs (sexually transmitted infections), putting condoms on bananas, and awkwardly talking about the changes our bodies go through. Sex education is about young people getting the information they need to make empowered decisions about their body, gender, and sexuality. Sex education justice involves providing all students with information about healthy/unhealthy relationships, sexism and patriarchy, gender as a choice, and sexuality and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) identity, as well as providing students with tools for how to deal with harassment and how to make informed pregnancy decisions from all the available options (including parenting, abortion, and adoption). Sex education justice also involves providing students with disabilities, students who are ELLs (English language learners), and immigrant students withsexual health information that is relevant and accessible.
Forward Together's youth programs are working on a Sex Education Justice in Oakland Unified School District campaign. This past spring our youth participants led a Youth Participatory Action Research project to assess the state of sex education in Oakland high schools. It involved collecting over 500 surveys from students of widely representative ages and races and surveying three of the big high schools as well as the smaller charter, continuation, and alternative high schools. They also conducted focus groups with youth from different youth organizations to get more in-depth information about the sex education young people what to see in their schools. Our findings and final report can be found here.
Our goal is to ensure that all Oakland students get a comprehensive sex education that has a justice framework and addresses their specific experiences. We're aiming for a sex education program that takes into account the diverse identities, backgrounds, and cultures that make up the students of the Oakland Unified School District.