The final season of “Sex Education” drops Thursday. While the Netflix show follows high schoolers educating each other through an underground sex therapy clinic, a group of Chicagoland students are working to teach peers and revamp sex education in schools.
Ava Gonzalez and Anna Yang, a senior and junior at the Illinois Math & Science Academy in Aurora, are co-directors of the Sex Ed Initiative.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What are common questions you hear?
Ava: “I would say they range from what seems like common knowledge to stuff you would have never heard before. People have asked me, ‘What is contraception?’ … It’s interesting to see that people don't really even know what a condom is or different types of birth control.”
SEI has published the “Shattering the Taboo” workbooks for middle and high schoolers. What other projects are in the works?
Anna: “We've continued to reach out to libraries across Illinois, especially those who may not have the best access to sex ed and sex ed books.”
Ava: “We have one installation of a sex ed podcast where we talked to different health officials and professors about what their perspective was on sex ed during different time periods — like the middles ages and 2000s.”
Will SEI influence what you do after high school?
Anna: “Although I'm not thinking of going into direct sex ed advocacy, I want to pursue a career in health care. … [This knowledge] is something I want to pass down to my little siblings and my future kids.”
Sex Ed Initiative co-directors Ava Gonzalez and Anna Yang. (Courtesy of the Sex Education Initiative)