SIECUS was founded in 1964 by Dr. Mary S. Calderone and a number of other brave pioneers.
Dr. Calderone served as the Medical Director for the Planned Parenthood Federation. During her tenure, 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 SIECUS. She was joined by Wallace Fulton, Reverend William Genne, Lester Kirkendall, Dr. Harold Lief, and Clark Vincent. Over the next few 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 sex education, publishing numerous books, journals, and resources for professionals, parents, and the public.
In the 1970s, SIECUS began publication of the SIECUS Report. The SIECUS Report 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 HIV, the 1980s began a new chapter for SIECUS. In 1984, SIECUS co-sponsored a ground-breaking conference with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. 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 advancement for SIECUS. We expanded our outreach to policymakers and communities by opening a public policy office in DC. We developed a community advocacy project to help fight attacks on issues related to sexuality, creating a media outreach initiative to ensure accurate reporting and representation of sexuality-related issues. And, we even took our mission global by 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 for sex education. In 1996, SIECUS’ website 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 continuing to advocate for everyone’s right to accurate and comprehensive sexuality information, education, and related health services, SIECUS is keeping Dr. Calderone’s vision a reality now—and well into the future.