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Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.

Contact: Ted DeAdwyler
Matt Itelson
phone: (415) 338-1665

Dr.Ruth to speak at sexuality education conference hosted by San Francisco State on Oct.13-14

SAN FRANCISCO, September 29, 2000 -- Dr. Ruth, known worldwide for her frank and humorous views on sexual literacy, will be the featured speaker during a conference on the emerging topic of sexuality education in our country's schools at San Francisco State University on Oct. 13 and 14.

Leading researchers, educators and public policy makers will examine how the teaching of sexuality - in many cases still narrowly confined to only sex education classes in schools -can be expanded across the curriculum.

"Sexuality has a great impact across the educational spectrum, from history to literature to other fields as well," said John Elia, conference co-organizer and lecturer in the Human Sexuality Studies Program at SF State. "The question is not if we should teach it, but rather how we should teach it and how to help people become more sexually literate."

The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held in SF State's McKenna Theatre on Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on Oct. 14, workshops will be held in Burk Hall and the Humanities Building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. SF State's AIDS Coordinating Committee and the Associated Students organizations EROS (Education and Referral Organization for Sexuality) and Queer Alliance will co-sponsor the event.

Dr. Ruth will speak Friday, Oct. 13, at 11:10 a.m. in McKenna Theatre in the Creative Arts Building on campus, located at 1600 Holloway Ave. in San Francisco.

Elia, an expert on sex education and policy, said that the conference's many topics include a look at how schools deal with gay, lesbian and bisexual issues in the classroom.

"How can we make our schools safe for students who do not fall into the cultural norms?" he said. "I think it relates directly to how sexuality is taught in the classroom."

Discussions also will cover the growing movement in schools to promote abstinence-only for teenagers. "I think that strategy is presumptuous, and it often doesn't work," Elia said. "It might be more helpful for youngsters to talk about sexuality in the classroom setting more frankly and co-develop the sexuality education curriculum along with the teacher."

Elia expects the conference will attract many Bay Area teachers who confront these issues daily. Workshop topics will range from the challenges associated with teaching sex education at the middle-school and high-school levels to teaching it at community colleges and four-year universities.

The diminutive Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a giant in the field of sexual literacy. Dr. Ruth, who began her popular radio program "Sexually Speaking" 20 years ago, earned her doctorate in education from Columbia University and studied human sexuality with noted researcher Dr. Helen Singer-Kaplan at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center. In addition to writing four books, Dr. Ruth now delivers her message via television, games, home video and computer software.

Other key speakers include Diane di Mauro, an expert on sexuality education in America and director of sexuality education research at the Social Science Research Council in New York; Jeffrey Moran, author of the book "Teaching Sex" and an assistant professor of history at the University of Kansas; Barbara Vanoss Marin, of the University of California at San Francisco and a leading researcher on adolescent sexual risk-taking behavior; and James Sears, professor of education at the University of South Ca rolina and an expert on pedagogy and the politics of sexualities education.

For more information about the conference, call the Human Sexuality Studies Program at S.F. State at (415) 405-3570 or call the S.F. State Office of Public Affairs at (415) 338-1665.

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Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs