Honest, Accurate Gender and Sex Education For Youth (and Adults!) In An Era of “Alternative Facts”
In a world that feels like it’s regressing into the Dark Ages, it’s that much more important for accurate information to be accessible to everyone. Even at the best of times, sex ed is a touchy subject. Despite having sex shoved in our faces through the media, our culture can be surprisingly sex-negative or sex-ignorant. And forget about incorporating LGBTQIA folks into the mix! Thankfully, there are resources out there that seek to combat all that with actual facts, not “alternative” ones.
The Daily Dot introduced me to a site called Amaze.org, which provides some pretty awesome videos for young kids and teens explaining a wide range of topics, from puberty and sexuality, to the differences between gender identity and gender expression. They even go into things like consent, what healthy relationships look like, and figuring out the difference between normal, hormone-related mood swings and mental illness. With their tagline “More info. Less weird,” their goal seems to be #RealTalk in an age-appropriate way.
Check out these awesome videos on cis girl puberty, gender identity, and consent:
You can also check out their YouTube channel HERE.
Another wonderful resource is a site I’ve known about for years: Scarleteen. Whereas Amaze.org has age-appropriate videos for younger adolescents and pre-adolescents, Scarleteen is for “teens and emerging adults,” so the topics and advice-giving skews older and it’s focus is on text rather than video.
An Immodest Proposal (on “virginity” and female pleasure)
With Pleasure: A View of Whole Sexual Anatomy for Every Body (on re-framing sexual anatomy discussion around pleasure, rather than reproduction)
Even better? They’re not afraid to get political! Check out their free guide, Rebel Well: A Starter Survival Guide To A Trumped America if you need some help figuring out an action plan for staving off the Dark Ages.
Lastly….you might not think of a religious institution as a place where you’d want to go get your sex ed on, but the Unitarian Universalists have a pretty amazing sex ed curriculum that people of all ages, whether they’re members of the UU Church or not, can take advantage of to broaden their sexual knowledge. It’s called Our Whole Lives (or OWL), and according to the website, they provide a “comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education curricula for use in both secular settings and faith communities.”
I know about OWL, because I have several friends both UU members and not (and religious and not) who’ve benefited from the program as adults. After all, learning about things like sexuality and gender is an ongoing process. There’s no such thing as “having learned everything,” and OWL provides an awesome resource for that ongoing learning in a safe environment that’s not only all about providing accurate information, but information based in inclusivity and social justice.
As we continue to hear horrible news story after horrible news story about how our federal and state governments are slowly but surely chipping away at our rights and our bodily autonomy, we should remember that there are sources we can turn to in order to ensure that we stay informed, and that our children stay informed. If school districts stop providing certain information, we can educate ourselves. Real honest-to-goodness facts must always find a way.
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