A group of McGill University students offers sex education (sex-ed) classes in high schools across Montreal, Canada, fulfilling the mandated sex-ed hours and allowing youth to learn and ask questions to educators closer to their age.
“Even if you’re the most educated person, even if you’re the most personable educator and you have all the knowledge, sometimes it’s more about that connection and the feeling of comfort and safety,” says Felicia Gisondi who founded the McGill University-based organization Sex and Self in 2019.
Since 2018, it is compulsory in Quebec schools for teenagers to receive between five and fifteen hours per year of sex education. The Bodies A to Z program developed by Sex and Self fulfills the mandated hours of sex-ed curriculum and offers teens a safe place to ask uncomfortable questions. Volunteers go through training and practice amongst each other before visiting schools. They educate through seminars, workshops, and resources. In 2020, the program was deployed in 10 English Montreal schools, and the organization is now looking to recruit volunteers from French universities to expand the program and make it fully bilingual. Sex and Self also provide sexual-health wellness pantries at McGill and Concordia universities, offers a Modern Manhood program for boys to develop self-confidence and self-awareness, and runs a monthly book club through Zoom meetings.