As we have discussed throughout this textbook, sexual education for children consists of teachers encouraging boys to wear condoms and girls to use birth control. While condoms are helpful in preventing unwanted pregnancies and STIs, it is not a comprehensive form of sexual education. A healthy sexual education will provide a knowledge of sex, work to develop equitable values associated with sex, and it will teach young people the importance of consent. Sex education prepares people for a pleasurable sex life, and it also teaches young people how to prevent problems associated with sex. A well designed sexual education program will promote healthy behavior. It will also instruct children on a wide variety of sexual practices as a way to promote inclusivity and sexual wellness. This shift will benefit all students, not just students that identify as cisgendered and/or heterosexual.
Comprehensive and affirming sex education courses must be designed to promote LGBTQIA+ inclusive material, so that all children learn about all aspects of Human Sexuality. Because queer people are disproportionately affected by negative sexual outcomes associated with sex education, it is especially important for their safety and well-being. According to Hannah Slater in their 2013 article entitled, LGBT-Inclusive Sex Education Means Healthier Youth and Safer Schools, “Young men who have sex with men, who may identify as gay or bisexual, account for more than two-thirds of new HIV infections among people ages 13 to 29.” Additionally, young women who identify as lesbian or bisexual are more likely to contract an STI, compared to young heterosexual women (Slater, 2013). A major problem associated with current educational models that focus on sexual health and wellness is that gender identity and sexual orientation is typically excluded from the conversation.
Not only does non-inclusive sex education marginalize LGBTQIA+ youth from the perceived social norms associated with their sexuality, it can also play a role in the negative stereotypes about non-heterosexual relationships, and can create hostile academic and social environments for queer youth. Non-inclusive sex education may also play a role in developing unsafe sex practices for queer youth when they are ready to have sex.