Vote for the best teen sex ed video

Elizabeth's picture

Missing the excitement of all those awards shows that you'd be enthralled by right now if it weren't for the intransigence of the Producers association? This contest is way better: Teens and young adults making videos demonstrating the need for improved sex ed programs.

You know that I've long argued in favor of age-appropriate comprehensive sex education for kids starting in elementary school and working through high school. You also know that's a hard sell in a nation that increases funds abstinence-only sex ed even while states are rejecting the money and even though research shows it to be ineffective.

To help spread the message about how necessary comprehensive sex ed is, and also about how bad a lot of the sex ed that teens now receive can be, RH Reality Check in partnership with SIECUS, Isis Inc., Advocates for Youth and the National Sexuality Resource Center sponsored a video contest. Young people were invited to send in short videos describing their sex ed experiences or envisioning the kind of sex ed they think is best.

The top 10 videos are posted here and you can vote for your favorite until January 16.

The three finalists will be sent to the Sex::Tech Conference January 22nd and 23rd to screen their videos for the folks who do The Midwest Teen Sex Show, and Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon and RH Reality Check will be announcing the winner there at the conference.

Its important to listen to teenagers. For a lot of us, our experience with high school sex ed is a fading -- or carefully blocked -- memory. It's easy to forget what teens are facing. From the sex ed teacher whose only message is "If you have sex you will die," to the one who explains the mechanics of sex in such overwhelming detail that the classroom depiction bears no resemblance to what we experience in the moment, sex ed often misses the mark. These videos get across the fear, the misinformation, the ignoring of questions and the discomfort and disapproval evident in the way many adults approach talks with teens about sex. But they also convey a simple kind of hope. The teens who made these videos know what good sex ed should include, and they tell us in clear words and images.

In other teen sex activism news Feministing reports that a group of Denver teens are pressing their school to make absences related to child birth excused instead of unexcused. Given the low rate of high school completion among teen parents, it seems like anything that would help them to stay in school would be a good thing!

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