May is Sex Ed For All Month! It’s a month where we advocate for youth access to the sexual health information and resources they need in order to make healthy decisions for themselves.
We believe that sex ed must be nonjudgmental, medically accurate, and inclusive of young people who have historically faced discrimination or been excluded in conversations around sexual health, including young people who identify as LGBTQ+, BIPOC, immigrants, youth with disabilities, lower income youth, those living in rural areas, and system-impacted youth.
Right now, only 17 states require sex education to be medically accurate. Only nine require sex ed to be culturally appropriate and free from biases based on race, ethnicity, or sex. And upsettingly, seven states explicitly require teachers to portray LGBTQ+ people negatively, or to not represent them, their identities, and their health needs at all.
In California, we’re lucky!
Since 2016, the California Healthy Youth Act (also known as CHYA or “Chaya”) requires public and charter schools to teach comprehensive sex education at least ONCE in middle school and ONCE in high school.
And by “comprehensive,” we mean you should be getting information about:
- Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sex trafficking
- Adolescent relationship abuse, intimate partner violence and sexual coercion
- Sexual orientation and sexuality
- Gender identity, gender roles and gender stereotypes
- Healthy relationships
- Consent, communication and healthy decision-making
- HIV prevention and other STD prevention including testing and treatment
- Pregnancy prevention, parenting, adoption and abortion
- Local health care services
It is your RIGHT to receive this information!
Even though it’s state law, some schools have been slower to adopt CHYA. If you feel like you’re not getting the full scoop when it comes to sex ed – like conversations about healthy relationships, decision-making, and more, you need to speak up and speak out.
If you are not getting this information, you can contact the ACLU and check out their action toolkit – they can help you make sure your school is providing comprehensive sex education and following the law.
For more information on the CA Health Youth Act visit: myschoolmyrights.com/sex-ed.