Finding new ways to talk about sex education isn't easy but the youth of Forward Together wowed audiences last week at Oakland Speaks as they unveiled their research project, Let's Get it On: Oakland Youth's New Vision for Sex Ed.
Through a peer-to-peer education model, the youth organizing program at Forward Together spent the spring collecting data from high school students in the Oakland Unified School District. The goal of the project was to assess student's experiences with sex education and to determine whether they were satisfied with the state of ex ed in their schools.
Through this process the youth delved into an assorted number of issue areas including access to contraception, homophobia and the stigmatization of teen pregnancy. Digging deep, they pushed back against the pervasive stereotypes often associated with young people and sex and challenged themselves and others to think more critically about it. As youth often do, they found creative and tangible ways to express what they learned to their friends and family members at the culmination of their summer program.
Through dance, poetry, song and skits, the talented youth kept the audience roaring with laughter and occasionally shedding a few tears. They talked candidly about the dangers of abstinence only education, the reality of unhealthy relationships and the healing that comes after years of body policing and sizeism.
These young people are a testament of what is possible when we lift the veil of shame around talking openly about comprehensive sex ed . When we provide our youth with all of the age-appropriate information they need to make the best decision for themselves we can expect better, healthier results.
Check out some highlights from the event!