Earlier this month, the state of Utah enacted a law that would allow citizens to sue platforms with “material harmful to minors,” which includes content that even describes sexual acts. While O.school’s frank, educational content is generally intended for adults, that doesn’t mean it’s “harmful to minors.” For some older teens, the information found on O.school may be of critical importance. We joined a lawsuit led by the Free Speech Coalition to block the legislation.
Why? Because Utah’s law puts us into a bind. We either institute stringent age-verification, which is expensive and feared by most consumers, or we risk being sued if a parent decides their teen has been somehow harmed by accessing the site.
Much of the information on O.school involves honest, medically supported discussions of sexuality, the very type of material a conservative, anti-LGBTQ+ parent or guardian might believe to be harmful, and without redeeming value for a minor. Even if we think we could win in court, such lawsuits are costly and difficult.
We could, like some companies, just block Utah, cutting off important sexual health and wellness information from millions of legal adults in the state. That didn’t seem fair to them, or in line with O.school’s ethics. We’ve often seen that the most conservative areas — those without comprehensive sex ed, with significant amounts of societal stigma around sex — are the ones who need our information the most.
So we’re suing Utah. We don’t know all the constitutional arguments, but we do know that we’re not going to be scared into self-censorship. We’re fighting for our rights and the rights of all those people who come to our O.school to learn about sex without shame.
Because our sexual freedom is worth defending.