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Written by: Sierra Carter
Training Manager
She / Her / Hers

What is essential, empowering, and all month long? It’s Sex Ed for All Month!

Sex Ed for All Month is an opportunity to share our collective commitment to a world where all young people have equitable and accessible sexual and reproductive health education. Young people have the right to access the sex education and healthcare they need to achieve positive outcomes for their lives. It’s a human right.

In a society where most people want high-quality and free stuff, comprehensive, age-appropriate, and honest sex ed should be a simple and easy selection to “add to cart”. It comes packaged with a Swiss army knife of effective and transferable life skills that instill confidence, build rapport, and achieve goals and dreams. Sex education is about so much more than risk reduction and disease prevention. It’s an invitation for young people to learn in a safe and inclusive space, ask judgment-free questions, and experience joy in celebrating all bodies, abilities, and identities.

As I reflect on my own experiences as a sex educator for over a decade, I’ve had the honor and privilege to serve thousands of Tulsa County youth, who are some of the smartest, funniest, and most genuine kids you’ll ever meet. I have witnessed firsthand just how transformative sex ed can be for young people. You can see how the information they engage with lifts their self-esteem and spirit, the strength and courage in their voice, the hope and determination in their eyes, and their kindness and appreciation for each other.

This work is not possible without parents and trusted adults, nor do we want it to be. We cannot express enough gratitude for their presence and advocacy efforts at school board and parent night meetings, along with their encouragement for their child to participate in our invaluable programs. School districts that once started out as cold calls have grown into heartfelt ‘thank you’ emails from parents and enthusiastic ‘same time next year?’s from school staff and admin. It truly takes a village to coordinate sex ed in schools, and your trust and support are huge.

While there have always been rainbows in this journey because of LGBTQ+ youth’s pride for life, I must also admit that it isn’t always blue skies and sunshine. In fact, teaching sex ed today is ten times harder than it was ten years ago. Our young people are under attack – from bans on sexual and reproductive healthcare, to legislation and policy created to further discriminate against youth identities, to limiting opportunities for students to learn who they are and the history that shaped their very existence and experiences. At the very least, sex educators are able to provide an injection of love, acceptance, and respect that our youth need right now.

Sex education in Tulsa County has been fueled by the extraordinary power of partnership. From our very inception, we’ve led with collaboration as our superpower. Leveraging the shared mission and vision of schools, universities, community organizations, government agencies, businesses, faith-based entities, and health clinics makes all the difference for the youth we aspire to empower every day. As a result of our unwavering endeavors, together we have achieved a 67% decline in the Tulsa County teen birth rate and Oklahoma has dropped to 5th highest in the nation for teen births! Pause for applause and celebration.

Although in this moment of relishing in our most recent accomplishments, it is only mandatory and just that we recognize the most admirable recipients of the MVP award in this work – the young people. They put in so much work each day, learning how to navigate the world around them while advocating for their rights and well-being. They are the true team captain, offense, and defense in this field, and we don’t win unless they do! So, the next time you meet a young person, greet them with a fist bump and tell them to keep up the tremendous work! They are the true changemakers.

The bottom line is that we all want what’s best for our kids, and sex education works. Every year, we inch a little closer to more equitable and accessible sex ed, and we need your help. If you believe that all young people deserve to grow up safe, healthy, and confident, we encourage you to be a champion with us. You can take action to advocate for sex education in your community starting today. Find out who is making decisions regarding sex ed at your local schools, how decisions are made, and what, if any, is being taught. You can ask a young person what, if any, sex ed they’ve received in school, did they feel included, and what they wish schools would teach that they currently don’t. As a champion, tell the decision makers that young people deserve high-quality, comprehensive, developmentally appropriate sex ed that consists of a wide range of topics, including body safety and healthy relationships.

As a member of our community, as a trusted adult, and as an individual who believes in the power of young people as much as we do – we thank you.

From a forever dedicated sex educator in Oklahoma – Happy Sex Ed for Y’all Month!

Sierra Carter

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