When we say that sex-ed saves lives, it is not an exaggeration. When done right, sex-ed addresses the root causes of negative health outcomes. It gives people the right information to better take care of their bodies. This means: fewer sexually transmitted infections that can have lifelong complications, fewer unplanned pregnancies, a decline in reproductive coercion, preventing cervical cancers or catching them earlier, less health issues caused by ignoring symptoms because of shame or fear. It also helps create safe learning environments for all people and shapes a culture of equality for women and girls, trans people, non-binary people and anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.
Sex-ed gives young people the knowledge and skills to be themselves, challenges rigid gender norms and reduces homophobic and transphobic violence, sexual violence, and gender-based discrimination.
It also reduces instances of bullying, including homophobic bullying. For some students, this is immediately lifesaving; calling trans youth by their preferred name can drastically reduce the chances of suicide.
Sex-ed also teaches the skills to nurture healthy relationships, something that has a direct effect on our well-being and even on our life expectancy. Strong, healthy relationships help us manage stress effectively, problem-solve, and overcome life’s challenges. It also helps tackle sexual violence and toxic relationships.