In 1964, the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) was launched at the Kinsey Institute. Its objective was to teach Kinseyan ideology as sex education in our schools. SIECUS (which now calls itself the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) imprinted the new Kinsey variant standard on almost all sex education curricula. Its early leader, Dr. Mary Calderone (past medical director of Planned Parenthood) was the direct link between Kinsey’s university-based research, Planned Parenthood’s grassroots outreach, and SIECUS. SIECUS was a “Resource Center [operating] Specialized Programs to Distribute Information about Human sexuality [through] learned journals, research studies, training materials for health professionals and sample classroom curricula.”111 – from Dr. Reisman’s Stolen Honor
“SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, was founded in 1964 by Dr. Mary S. Calderone and a number of other brave pioneers.
During her tenure as the Medical Director for the Planned Parenthood Federation, Dr. Calderone became concerned about the lack of accurate information about sexuality for both young people and adults.
So, at the age of 60, with determination to live in a world in which sexuality was viewed as a natural and healthy part of life, she founded of SIECUS. She was joined by Wallace Fulton, Reverend William Genne, Lester Kirkendall, Dr. Harold Lief, and Clark Vincent. In the next couple of years, SIECUS’ first Board of Directors was established, our first foundation grant was received, and we published our first book designed for teacher training.
In the decades that have followed, SIECUS has become a recognized leader in the field of sexuality and sexuality education, publishing numerous books, journals, and resources for professionals, parents, and the public.
In the 1970s, SIECUS began publication of the SIECUS Report, which is still used as a key resource for thousands regarding critical sexuality issues. We also grew our influence by attending conferences and developing curricula for medical school and college students.
With the discovery of the HIV/AIDS virus, the 80s began a new chapter for SIECUS. In 1984, SIECUS co-sponsored a ground-breaking conference with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and in 1986 we published one of the first educational books about HIV/AIDS: How to Talk to your Children About AIDS.
The 1990s were a time of great advances for SIECUS. We expanded our outreach to policymakers and communities by opening a public policy office in DC, developing a community advocacy project to help fight attacks on sexuality related issues, creating a media outreach initiative to ensure that sexuality related issues are accurately represented by the media. And, we even took our mission global, establishing an international program. SIECUS also published many books and manuals, including Guidelines for Comprehensive Education: Kindergarten – 12th Grade, which was quickly hailed as a major breakthrough in sexuality education. In 1996, SIECUS’ web site went live. Of course, along with SIECUS’ increased visibility came increased attacks from organizations such as “Focus on the Family” and “Concerned Women for America.”
Still we persevered.
By giving families, educators, and policymakers access to fact-based sexuality information through publications, websites, trainings, and myriad other resources, SIECUS is keeping Dr. Calderone’s vision a reality right now—and well into the future.”Dr. Mary S. Calderone
President & CEO
As President & CEO, Chitra advances SIECUS’ efforts to reshape cultural and societal narratives around sexuality. Leading with an intersectional vision, she is spearheading SIECUS’ work of addressing the impact of sexual stigma and shame on individuals across age, race, gender, gender identity and expression, class, sexual orientation and ability.
Chitra has a professional background in intersectional feminist activism, nonprofit management and fundraising. She joins SIECUS having previously served as Vice President Membership for the National Organization for Women (NOW). While at NOW, she was responsible for managing operations, communications, fundraising and membership engagement. Under her tenure, Chitra increased NOW’s membership by nearly a third in a single year, led the most successful end-of-year online campaign and implemented multiyear strategic planning. In addition to her time at NOW, Chitra has spent much of her career working for progressive nonprofits, including South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT); The Women’s Foundation in Hong Kong; and the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum in Washington, DC (now known as the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument). Currently, she serves on the Board of a local DC-metro area membership organization that is focused on women’s personal and professional development.
Chitra holds a bachelor’s degree from King’s College London, a master’s degree in international journalism from City University, London and a master’s degree in women’s studies from The George Washington University. Born and raised in Hong Kong to Indian immigrants, she spent her formative years in Asia and another five years in London before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2008.
Ms. Boyer joined SIECUS in 2012 leading policy, advocacy, and programmatic efforts in the area of sexual health and rights in addition to providing executive support. Prior to joining SIECUS, Jesse served as the Policy Director for the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA). Jesse’s previous experience includes working for the RAND Corporation as the Office of Congressional Relations’ Health Legislative Analyst; the Government Relations Manager at the American Public Health Association (APHA); and as committee staff for Congressman Henry Waxman. Born and raised in Alaska, Jesseca began her policy career at the state level with opportunities to work for both a state representative as well as for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education. She has also held field and research positions on two U.S. Senate campaigns. Jesse serves as co-chair of the federal Sex Ed Coalition, is a member of the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership Convening Group, and is on the Advisory Board of Sexual Health Innovations. Jesse received her bachelor’s of arts in political science from the University of Alaska Anchorage and her master’s of arts in political science, applied politics from American University.
Policy and Communications Coordinator
As the Policy and Communications Coordinator, Kristina plays an integral role in monitoring and analyzing state policy for SIECUS as well as coordinating strategic communications and publication development towards the advancement of sexuality education and sexual health programs and policies. Previously she was the National Field Coordinator at the National Organization for Women (NOW) where she worked on a wide range of reproductive justice issues. Maintaining an intersectional approach to her work as well as the policies put forth by advocacy groups and legislative entities is Kristina’s top priority. Kristina is a 2015 WIN Young Women of Achievement Award Nominee in the Choice Movement and has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Christopher Newport University.
Policy Research Fellow
Joining SIECUS in January 2017, Taissa conducts research and analysis of policy activity, contributing to and developing various legislative and policy publications and reports. During her time in law school, Taissa was an organizer for the Restoration of Civil Rights Project in Florida, a volunteer-based organization assisting former felons in applying for restoration their civil rights. Additionally, she worked in a clinic where she advocated for and represented clients in court who were survivors of intimate partner violence. A few months after she graduated, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work in public policy. Prior to joining SIECUS, she was the criminal and economic justice policy advocate at the National LGBTQ Task Force. Taissa received her bachelor’s of art degrees in sociology and anthropology from the University of Florida and her juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
SIECUS Board of Directors
Stephen Russell, Ph.D., Chair
Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor in Child Development
Department of Human Development and Family Sciences
University of Texas at Austin
Justin A. Sitron, Ph.D., Vice Chair
Associate Professor & Director of Doctoral Program
Director, Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaborative
Center for Human Sexuality Studies
School of Human Service Professions
Barbara Libove, Treasurer
Director of Social Impact Finance
New York, NY
Providence Community Health Center
Lawrence J. D’Angelo, M.D., M.P.H.
Chief, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine
Children’s National Medical Center
Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
George Washington University
Nadia Lauren Dowshen, M.D.
Director of Adolescent HIV Services
Division of Adolescent Medicine
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Providence Baptist Church
Medical University of South Carolina
Linda A. Hawkins, Ph.D., LPC
Family Services Specialist, Social Work & Family Services Co-Director
Gender & Sexuality Development Clinic
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Keely Monroe, J.D.
Bolder Advocacy Initiative
Alliance for Justice