What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Schools need to incorporate more inclusive sex education lessons that help LGBTQ youth understand more about their sexual health.
• Can schools hire more diverse educators to make the curriculum less heteronormative?
After going through the grueling process of coming out to his friends and family in high school, Sean Joyce, a senior at Pace University, remembered finally coming to terms with his sexuality. Although he learned how to feel comfortable in his own skin, Joyce was still unsure of how to safely navigate doing the deed. Everything he had learned in his high school's sex ed program was focused on vaginal sex and pregnancy prevention.
Many factors made understanding his sexuality difficult during puberty, but not having inclusive sex ed made it even worse. Leaving LGBTQ experiences out of sex ed curriculums further ostracizes teens that are learning to come to terms with themselves.
"It makes you feel like you're weird," Joyce said. "You're still learning who you are at this age, and having to seek out information on the internet or somewhere else felt stigmatizing."
"The risk that comes with not teaching these subjects puts folks in danger of not being able to take care of themselves," said Kari Kesler, a cofounder of Seattle-based Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH), which designs inclusive sex ed for teachers to use in the classroom. "But it also makes an entire group of people invisible, sending out a message that they don't matter, and the issues they face aren't important."
In schools that are open to teaching an inclusive form of sex ed in high schools, the FLASH curriculum serves as a solid tool. Lessons that pertain to LGBTQ teens discuss other methods of sex that aren't strictly vaginal, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The roleplaying presented in the lessons features characters of various gender identities. All students learn the same curriculum, no matter their sexual orientation.
Read the full article about LGBTQ sex education by Xavier Piedra at Mashable