Across the country, as part of The Sex Ed Sit Out, parents pulled their kids out of school yesterday to protest “graphic, gender-bending sex education.” (As usual, the self-parody absolutely performs itself.) As the protest’s chief organizer, Elizabeth Johnston, told Breitbart, “A few of us moms were disgusted by the evidence we were seeing on social media of graphic sex ed in the schools and the stories about gender transition parties and teaching kids to question their gender.”
Well, some of those kids got together on Monday to counteract the protest by providing youth-led sex education on social media.
Advocates for Youth, a sex-ed nonprofit, hosted the day-long event called #SexEdLive. Young activists from the organization as well as a range of other groups—including Latinas Increasing Political Strength and The Young Women of Color Leadership Council—used FacebookLive to share information on everything from condoms and HIV testing to consent and respecting people’s preferred gender pronouns. You know, graphic, gender-bending stuff. Unsettling, isn’t it, to think that teens might be taught how to protect themselves from STIs and to exercise basic human empathy?
After following along for a while, what ends up being most remarkable about this day-long campaign is how utterly absurd The Sex Ed Sit Out seems in light of the basic, factual, and fundamentally humane information that actually constitutes sex education. Here’s a sampling of the dangerous messages shared during yesterday’s #SexEdLive videos:
“If anyone is coercing you into sex, stay away from that person.”
“Part of having a good sex life is also being healthy and making sure you communicate with people.”
“Sex, it’s about deciding for yourself.”
“The bottom line is to always have sex with someone who is enthusiastic about it and their consent is clear.”
“Even if you are being abstinent, it helps to have backup protection.”
At one point, Sadie from the Young Women of Color for Reproductive Justice Leadership Council addressed the abstinence-only model that constitutes so much of sex ed in this country: “Not everybody wants to be abstinent,” she said before adding that, “at the end of the day, most young people are engaging in sexual intercourse to have fun.” These kinds of statements of basic fact are exactly the kind of thing that terrify abstinence-only advocates—and the best way to explode their “graphic, gender-bending” lies is to show sex ed as it actually is.
And, who knows, maybe #SexEdLive even reached some of those kids who got pulled out of school yesterday. As an activist named David said in his #SexEdLive segment, “Some parents are keeping their kids out of school today to protest sex ed, but me and other youth organizers ... are here to fill in those gaps and make sure everyone gets the information they need.” Given that President Trump is redirecting federal funding to abstinence-only education, there’s definitely more work ahead.