Shira Taylor created SExT: Sex Education by Theatre back in 2014 for her dissertation during her time at the University of Toronto, in order to explore the use of theatre for sex education aimed at young students. The play, SExt, has been performed by youth peer educators at Canada’s largest theatre festivals to thousands of students in schools and indigenous reserves across Ontario and Saskatchewan. She has also worked with teachers to implement sex education in an art-based, culturally-inclusive and impactful ways.
“Bodak Consent”– a Bodak Yellow (Cardi B) parody– was created through SexT’s partnership with the Canadian Foundation of AIDS Research (CANFAR). Read the interview below with Shira to find out more!
Thank you so much for talking to Defective Geeks and answering our questions today. Can you tell us about SExT: Sex Education by Theatre, how it was founded and why you wanted to start it in the first place? What are the programs’ main goals?
Five years ago, I walked into one of Canada’s most diverse and over-populated high schools, located in an immigration destination of Toronto, with the idea of having sex education more comprehensive, relevant, and impactful by emboldening youth to sing, rap, and dance about everything from chlamydia to homophobia to racism. This visit led me to create the peer education program, SExT: Sex Education by Theatre, as my PhD Thesis (Public Health, University of Toronto) to empower youth from communities where talking about sex is cultural taboo to take center stage. Our main goal is to support young people to reflect on, challenge, and communicate their realities and celebrate their unique identities through performance art. Youth are invited to tackle current issues head-on in a non-judgmental environment that promotes education, discussion, creativity, and personal discovery.