As I write this, people across the world are preparing to say sayonara to 2020, many of them deliriously excited and relieved, thinking of the past year as a literal dumpster fire they can watch burn down to so much ash and blow away on the cold winter breeze. Reset: 2021. Am I right?
But many others of us know — or are just beginning to comprehend — that the events of 2020 were only a symptom of larger systemic issues. And while the end of 2020 has brought us a new President-elect and a new vaccine and other small victories, the breaking point that was the past year is only a new beginning. One that necessitates ongoing attention and hard work.
Luckily, within the realm of sexuality, educators and researchers are still at it. And perhaps the latest bits of research to come out will inspire new forms of advocacy and new educational initiatives and new legislation in the coming years:
- This article on the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model came out in November, but I only recently learned about it (thanks to Kim Cook and the Sex Education Alliance newsletter). This model — which posits that it takes a village to educate and support students — is not specific to sexuality education. But, as Kim points out, its implications in that area are clear. Educators, parents, community organizations, faith communities, and all of the other systems kids pass through as they grow add to the person they become. The values they adopt. The lessons they internalize. How might they work together to further the messages of comprehensive sexuality education?
- There’s already a ton of research on the benefits of comprehensive sexuality education in regard to sexual health (ie. pregnancy and STI prevention). But a new literature review slated for publication in the January issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health looks beyond those initial benefits and finds that sex education that begins in elementary school and is seeded throughout the school curriculum, provided with a social justice lens, can lead to appreciation of sexual diversity, prevention of dating and intimate partner violence, development of healthy relationships, prevention of child sex abuse, improved social/emotional learning, and increased media literacy.
- The Guttmacher Institute released their annual report on state policy trends, which includes a count of how many policies were enacted that expand access to reproductive health education.
- As a founding member of the Sex Education Alliance (SEA), I was asked to take an active role in their very first virtual Meet and Greet, which is happening Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. EST. During the one-hour Zoom, we’ll talk about why SEA was formed, what is envisioned for this community, and what its members might accomplish together. I’m excited to nerd out with other sex educators who are working with families. Join us? You can still pre-register for this FREE event here.
- As part of a larger Sex Ed Lecture Series, Tanya M. Bass and Bill Taverner are hosting a free hour of sex ed networking and strategy sharing, also on Tuesday, Jan. 5. It’s at 7 p.m. EST, though, so you can totes do both this and the SEA Meet and Greet. Pre-register here.
- Speaking of which, the Sex Ed Lecture series has a brand new website!
- Earlier this month, I attended Nadine Thornhill’s free So You Want to Be a Sex Educator workshop. At the end, she revealed a new program she’s launching in 2021: The Sex Educator Super Starter. The whole thing sounds amazeballs and my intention is to apply to join the second cohort over the summer. As far as I know, however, there are still spots available for the first cohort, which gets to work in February. Each cohort is limited to just 15 participants, though, so you’d better hurry.