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Funders Briefing on Narrative Shift Sex Education as Culture Change Policy Success


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On September 15, 2022, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, in collaboration with Collaborative for Gender + Reproductive Equity, hosted a briefing to explore why funding sex education should be a part of a mission-based funding strategy to support a more diverse and democratic future for America. In 2022, there was a 413% increase in the number of “divisive concept” bills filed in state legislatures (66 bills in 23 states). These bills, and the 73 “parental rights” bills that were also introduced in 14 states (including the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida), all seek to prevent public schools from teaching evidence-based, inclusive programs and curricula that affirm healthy sexuality, LGBTQAI+ identities, honest racial history, and gender equity. These attacks signify the regressive minority reinvigorated efforts to undermine our democracy and future generations’ acceptance and respect for our increasingly diverse world. Sex education is one of the primary programs targeted by these attacks because it is a powerful vehicle for social change, with the potential to lay the foundation for a long-term culture shift that positively impacts individuals and society, particularly on issues of gender and racial equity, sexual and reproductive justice, and violence prevention. At a time when reproductive rights and health care for people who can get pregnant, LGBTQAI+ people, and communities of color are under increasing attack, sex education offers a comprehensive policy solution to ensure future generations value and respect bodily autonomy, reproductive justice, LGBTQAI+ equality, and gender-based tolerance and inclusion.