A coalition of advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students called this week for more inclusive sex education programs that address the needs of all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The push was led by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U. S., or SIECUS, in partnership with Advocates for Youth, Answer, GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sixty-one additional organizations signed onto the “call for action” policy paper.
“A Call to Action: LGBTQ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Educationurges educators, advocates, and policymakers to take immediate, concrete steps to provide LGBTQ inclusive education for all students—from crucial guidance for LGBTQ students on protecting themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, to ensuring safe, supportive environments in which to learn about their sexual health,” SIECUS said in a news release. “Programs that overlook LGBTQ students, or worse, stigmatize and stereotype them, contribute to unsafe school environments.”
As I’ve reported previously, a patchwork of state and local policies means many schools don’t teach sex education at all, and those that do don’t always include lessons on contraceptives or medically accurate information. In some places, state laws require that schools must teach only about sex between opposite-sex partners.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, California, Colorado, Iowa, Washington and Washington, D.C., are alone in having state laws or regulations requiring sex education programs to include information relevant to LGBT students.
Twitter users used the hashtag #mysexed Wednesday to share about their experiences and support more comprehensive approaches.
#mysexed preached abstinence, abstinence, abstinence, pregnancy, pregnancy, pregnancy. I was gay and closeted and had 1000 questions...
-- Dr. Sean Boileau (@sboileau1) December 2, 2015
#MySexEd back in the 80s seems similar to what my children are learning now. There’s something seriously wrong with that. Time for a change!
-- Cheri (@chezcheri) December 2, 2015
#MySexEd stigmatized anything not taking place between two married people of the opposite gender.
-- Justin Hyphen-Name (@KeepCalmJustin) December 2, 2015
#MySexEd was great - if you were straight. Made *me* feel that no one like me existed.
-- Eliza Byard (@EByard) December 2, 2015
Related reading on sex education:
- ‘How to Put on a Sock’ Video Illustrates Concerns About Mississippi Sex Ed
- Fact-Checking John Oliver on Sex Education (Spoiler: He Was Accurate)
- National HIV Strategy Includes Call for Effective Sex Education in Schools
- Millennials Favor Sex Education, Though Few Find It Useful, Survey Finds
- California Blazes Trail With New Sex Education Mandates
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.