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New Online Map Shows Sexual-Health Resources in Appalachia

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Friday, February 14, 2020   

WHITESBURG, Ky. -- The traveling sex-education workshop that teaches about consent and anatomy in rural Appalachia has created a unique new online map that shows the locations of reproductive-justice-related organizations and health-care providers in the region.

Tanya Turner, who founded the group Sexy Sex Ed, said resources in rural Appalachia often are not included on national maps, which tend to focus on urban areas.

"We mapped all of the sexual health care and reproductive justice that we knew about going on in Appalachia," she said.

In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found close to 40% of high school students nationwide reported having sexual intercourse.

Last month, a group of state lawmakers introduced House Bill 296, which would require all public school districts in the Commonwealth to provide comprehensive sex education to students and establish minimum standards for sex-ed instruction. Turner said she's encouraged by the legislation.

"I think this is a good step in the right direction," she said, "but from what I've seen of the coverage of the bill, a lot of the news coverage has been very 'click-baity' and wanting people to argue about it."

Turner said her organization now has more than a dozen student educators spanning five states.

"Peer-to-peer learning is the best, especially around issues like this that are historically difficult to talk about and have made young people feel really isolated," she said, "especially because so much sex ed has been fear- and shame-based."

As of 2015, fewer than 6% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students reported that their health classes
included positive representations of LGBT-related topics, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute.

The map is online at sexysexed.org, the text of HB 296 is at legislature.ky.gov, the CDC data is at cdc.gov, and the Guttmacher data is at guttmacher.org.


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