Students for Quality Education, M.E.Ch.A. rally for expansion of sex education in public schools

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Students for Quality Education member Liz Sanchez speaks at the meeting of the Brea Olinda Unified School District.
(Andre Salazar / Daily Titan)

Rally members voiced their opinions on Monday about the California Healthy Youth Act, an act that expands sex education, outside of the Brea Civic & Cultural Center of Orange County.

Advocates held signs that read, “the future is not binary,” “diversity is real” and “inclusive sex-ed can save a trans child’s life” during the Brea Olinda Unified School District meeting.

Members of both Cal State Fullerton Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan) and the Students for Quality Education showed up to the meeting in support of the queer and transgender community.

The Chicano Student Movement wanted to show solidarity with the queer and transgender community, said Jessica Ferrer, a Chicano Student Movement member.

“Our purpose is to be not only scholars, but activists as well. We still need to graduate but there are still a lot of struggles that intersect within academia, we need to call s— out, we need to be proactive, we can’t be performative activists,” Ferrer said.

Rally host and Students for Quality Education member, Liz Sanchez said expanding sex education should coincide with “expanding cultural history.”

The California Healthy Youth Act or bill AB 329 is important because it will teach people to be more inclusive and empathetic, Sanchez said.

It’s about sex education, but also recognizing racial and gender and sexual identities too because they all intersect,” Sanchez said. “That’s what AB 329 is supposed to be.”

The sex education act was passed in 2015, which revised provisions in the current sexual health education policy.

The act integrated the instruction of comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education in school, particularly for grades seven through 12, according to the act.

The enforcement of the act has had positive effects on school districts because it provides the opportunity to “discuss sexuality in the way we’re experiencing it” and the more it is being spoken of, the better understanding everyone will have, Sanchez said.

Sanchez has been to the Brea school board meetings around six times and said Monday’s turnout was the largest the queer and transgender community in Orange County has had.

The LGBTQ community had only shown up in “pockets,” often times being outnumbered by more conservative people when attending these meetings because people in the community work multiple jobs, go to school and do not have the resources to travel, Sanchez said.

“That’s why it’s important that we’re now trying to share resources to support each other to get here. We had a lot of great allies contribute things to us,” Sanchez said pointing out that a lot of the supplies came from supporters.

Adriana Evaristo, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán member, said it’s necessary for students to have the right kind of sex education and to be well-informed.

“There’s just a lot of misconceptions and a lot of gay phobia in these parents. Some of them have the right intentions but they’re just based in fear,” Evaristo said. “It’s a matter of being well-informed. This has to happen regardless because some students don’t have another choice.”

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