SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, was founded in 1964 by Dr. Mary S. Calderone and a number of other brave pioneers.
During her tenure as the Medical Director for the Planned Parenthood Federation, Dr. Calderone became concerned about the lack of accurate information about sexuality for both young people and adults.
So, at the age of 60, with determination to live in a world in which sexuality was viewed as a natural and healthy part of life, she founded of SIECUS. She was joined by Wallace Fulton, Reverend William Genne, Lester Kirkendall, Dr. Harold Lief, and Clark Vincent. In the next couple of years, SIECUS’ first Board of Directors was established, our first foundation grant was received, and we published our first book designed for teacher training.
In the decades that have followed, SIECUS has become a recognized leader in the field of sexuality and sexuality education, publishing numerous books, journals, and resources for professionals, parents, and the public.
In the 1970s, SIECUS began publication of the SIECUS Report, which is still used as a key resource for thousands regarding critical sexuality issues. We also grew our influence by attending conferences and developing curricula for medical school and college students.
With the discovery of the HIV/AIDS virus, the 80s began a new chapter for SIECUS. In 1984, SIECUS co-sponsored a ground-breaking conference with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and in 1986 we published one of the first educational books about HIV/AIDS: How to Talk to your Children About AIDS.
The 1990s were a time of great advances for SIECUS. We expanded our outreach to policymakers and communities by opening a public policy office in DC, developing a community advocacy project to help fight attacks on sexuality related issues, creating a media outreach initiative to ensure that sexuality related issues are accurately represented by the media. And, we even took our mission global, establishing an international program. SIECUS also published many books and manuals, including Guidelines for Comprehensive Education: Kindergarten – 12th Grade, which was quickly hailed as a major breakthrough in sexuality education. In 1996, SIECUS’ web site went live. Of course, along with SIECUS’ increased visibility came increased attacks from organizations such as “Focus on the Family” and "Concerned Women for America.”
Still we persevered.
By giving families, educators, and policymakers access to fact-based sexuality information through publications, websites, trainings, and myriad other resources, SIECUS is keeping Dr. Calderone’s vision a reality right now—and well into the future.