Giving Compass' Take:
- Rachel Sanoff, at Insider, dissects how the ever-changing state of U.S. sex education over the past six decades has impacted LGBTQ students.
- How can we work to destigmatize more progressive sex education curriculums in the United States? What will it take to hold policymakers and school officials accountable in implementing sex education that supports LGBTQ communities?
- Read on about the importance of comprehensive sex ed for LGBTQ youth in the U.S.
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US sex-education policy is predominantly decided by state governments and has historically supported abstinence-only programs, which can create a hostile environment for LGBTQ students and threaten the health and wellbeing of young people.
The American Medical Association advocated for standardized sex-education curricula in the 1950s, but in 2021, we've still yet to see this kind of policy implemented.
"We dont have any federal mandate or provisions around comprehensive sex education, and our only federally funded programs are mostly geared toward teen-pregnancy prevention — which is a really narrow lens of what sex education should be," Christine Soyong Harley, president and CEO of SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, a national organization focused on advocacy and policy work, told Insider.
In addition to being wholly ineffective, abstinence-only education endangers LGBTQ youth by barring conversations about their identities, actively stigmatizing their relationships, teaching medically inaccurate information, and failing to discuss ways to practice safer sex. But until 2010, these programs were the only sex-ed courses funded by federal dollars.
That year, former President Barack Obama introduced the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which received $75 million in annual funding, and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), which received $100 million in annual funding.
Cut to the Trump-Pence administration. Former President Trump tried to transform TPPP into an abstinence-only program, and in 2018, announced plans to completely eliminate it (though that never happened).
With President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris now in the White House, sex-education advocates and student organizers hope to develop new federal programs and increase existing TPPP and PREP funding — ideally by redirecting $110 million from abstinence-only funds into comprehensive sex education.
Read the full article about US sex ed and LGBTQ students by Rachel Sanoff at Business Insider.