A comprehensive new report takes on a topic many people want to avoid: sex education—specifically, what its authors call an “urgent need” for such programs to be LGBTQ-inclusive.
“The truth of the matter is, America does a terrible job of educating youth when it comes to sex ed,” said Preston Mitchum, policy director. Urge (Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity) and one of the many people working on the report, tells Yahoo Life. “America does a really damaging and damaging job especially for youth who are LGBTQ-plus, who are handicapped, who are black, who are Latinx, who are poor people – and especially those who intersect with those identities are on.”
LGBTQ youth, like everyone else, “need and deserve to learn in settings that incorporate their experiences and that give them the education they need to stay safe and healthy,” the report states. “Call to action: LGBTQ+ youth need inclusive sex educationA joint effort of 10 policy and health organizations, including URGE GLSEN (an LGBTQ-student network), Black and pink (supporting imprisoned LGBTQ people) and advocacy groups National LGBTQ Task Force and Human rights campaign (HRC).
The report noted, “Too many LGBTQ + youth are going to schools that lack inclusive policies and sit in classrooms where their teachers and textbooks fail significantly to address their identity, community, and experiences . Nowhere is this absence more evident and potentially greater. In comparison to harmful, sex education. “
Currently, only seven states – California, Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington – and the District of Columbia require that sex education be LGBTQ-inclusive. Seven other states, meanwhile – Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas – explicitly prohibit LGBTQ-related content in schools. And booked in between, notes the report, a hobby of strictly heterosexual, often sobriety-based lessons that can create stigma and hostile school environments for students who are queuing up.
The report analyzes hundreds of sex-education studies, one after another giving some different evidence of what is lacking: LGBTQ youth are not receiving sex-ed information that is helpful to their lives.
For example, only 20 percent of black LGBTQ youth surveyed by HRC and 13 percent of LatinX LGBTQ youth reported that they received safe sex information in school that they found personally relevant – as did only 13 percent of bisexual youth and 10 percent of trans. And gender-non-conforming youth.
Another GLSEN poll found that LGBTQ students were 50 percent more likely than other students to find that school sex ed was not useful, prompting them to search the Internet for information, which is often neither age. -Is not suitable nor clinically accurate. In addition, it found that less than 8.2 percent of LGBTQ students had received sex education in an LGBTQ-inclusive school.
Mitchum states, “Amazingly, they are not getting sex ed that includes their current and potential experiences … but instead one that confirms gender binaries, does not discuss race and racism, consent or healthy Does not discuss dating. ” “Many Sex Aid courses look like this clip from Mean girls…and I say it jokingly, but many young people attest that, for the most part, what they learn is how to prevent STIs and how not to get pregnant.”
“It’s very negative-health-outcomes focused,” agrees Taissa Morimoto, senior policy advocate for the LGBTQ task force and co-author of the report, which has run a series Sex-Aid Leadership Development Projects for young people.
However, it seems that HIV/AIDS education often misses out on risk-based lessons: according to the new report and its analysis of various studies, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of gay and lesbian youth are not aware of HIV/AIDS. Was taught In school, 28 percent of trans youth did not receive those lessons.
“I think about what my sex education was in schools, and we didn’t really have it,” Mitchum says. “We had health, which was inclusive, but as a black gay boy growing up in Ohio, I wanted to learn something else and it was still rooted in things I had no interest in learning about. Where does this leave me to understand, bliss, and to connect with a world that is heterosexual and cisgender? “
Morimoto says, “The visibility part of it is a huge part… when nothing resonates with you in orbit, when it just doesn’t take off, it doesn’t mean much to you, and yourself Being able to see what’s reflected in you ‘re learning is much more effective,’ whether it’s in sex ed or history or English class. “I think sex ed is a vehicle for a lot of things — addressing patriarchy, sexism, and white supremacy. I honestly think that’s why so many decision-makers don’t want to touch it… it Checks us out how we relate to each other. “
To be more detailed and less stigma-reinforcing, Mitchum notes, sex ed should ideally “avoid making assumptions about sexuality and gender, include depictions of same-sex-love relationships, and use gender-expanding terms.” Use the [‘couples,’ ‘people,’ ‘they’], allow us to learn about healthy dating and relationships and consent, and allow us to go beyond stigmatizing language.”
Rather, whatever there is – especially when it is moderation-only lessons – promotes fear of same-sex attraction, reinforces gender stereotypes and straight relationships, mandates heterosexual marriage, and single-parent- The father dislikes families, notes the report.
“When you don’t have inclusive sex ed, we see that it can cause significant harm to young queer people, especially those who are BIPOC… because minority-based stress increases the risk of physical and mental health problems. Goes, including substance abuse, PTSD and eating disorders, “says Mitchum,” while the benefits of comprehensive sex ed … allow us to create a holistic picture of how they see the world. “
To understand why sex ed is so small in so many states, Morimoto explains, it’s important to know a little history. “More than $2 billion since 1996 [of taxpayer money] Moving to programs that promote abstinence only until marriage, and zero funding for comprehensive sex education. This sets the scenario in a federal sense, as there is no support for states to implement such programs. “Restraint-only education – something that black students receive compared to white students nationwide More likely to happen, notes the report – a holdover the Reagan administration; it was extended under the Bush administration and then the pendulum swung during the Obama years. The Trump administration, she says, essentially only from sexual exposure Restraint was rebranded for Rescue (SRA).
“So the name sounds like it’s something better,” notes Mitchum, “but it’s really just abstinence-only education.”
The push for further programs beyond this, Morimoto, admits, is very difficult. “Sex ed and sex in general, as a subject, is very taboo, and when people think about it, they say, ‘Oh no, we’re teaching this and that to our children?’ But the way we understand it is that it has to be age-appropriate, medically accurate, and evidence-based. We’re really starting from one place, what is consent? You deal with people in the world like that. To talk about something that is honorable, in a way that celebrates diversity, and in a way that is justified? “
Inclusive sex ed should also talk about pleasure, Mitchum says—something that many adults just don’t want to pass up, largely for fear that if you talk to kids about sex, they’ll would like to take it. But, he says, “studies show this is Quite the opposite, “Only with abstinence-education actually leads to more teen sex.
“When you don’t talk about sex education, young people actually have sex first, because they’re curious,” Mitchum explains. “The more you keep information away from young people, the more they understand that you have a reason to hide it. It is our duty to provide information to the youth.”
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