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The Gum Wall

On October 30, 2019, Advocates for Youth and The Trojan Brand unveiled a wall of chewed  gum in Washington DC. You read that right: a gum wall on the National Mall! Trojan and youth activists are tired of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, rebranded as sexual risk avoidance programs, getting away with comparing young people who have had sex with chewed gum and other shaming, inaccurate metaphors. We confronted Washington DC  with this interactive protest art to reveal the true content of these programs and demand an end to sham sex ed.

We are not chewed gum.  Information is the best protection.  

Read about the Trojan Gum Wall in Teen Vogue, Ms.,and Tiger Beat.

Abstinence-only has been repackaged under a new name, “Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA).” But don’t be fooled by their deceitful appropriation of new rights language, it’s the same old shaming, inaccurate lectures.

These lessons do nothing but harm young people by reinforcing harmful ideology and stifling honest discussion about sexuality. Students need quality sex education that teaches them real information and skills they need to prevent unintended pregnancy, HIV, and STIs. They need to learn about contraception, condoms, healthy relationships, and more.  And they don’t need stigma and shame to be any part of their school day. Tell Congress to stop funding for SRA programs. Young people deserve more.

Chewed gum. A shredded paper heart. A cup of spit. A microwave. These are just a few of the wild metaphors abstinence-only, or “Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA)” lessons use to scare young people away from learning about sex and sexuality.  Download the cards for printing here and scroll through the slide show below using the arrows to see real lessons funded by tax dollars:

Learn more about abstinence-only funding and what effective sex education looks like

A History of Federal Funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs

From the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)

The National Sex Education Standards, Second Edition

Clear, consistent and straightforward guidance on the essential minimum, core content for sexuality education that is developmentally and age-appropriate for students in grades K–12.

Building a Foundation for Sexual Health Is a K–12 Endeavor: Evidence Underpinning the National Sexuality Education Standards

A white paper from the Future of Sex Education Coalition