All students deserve equal access to proper and thorough sex education, but LGBTQ students have been tossed aside by sex ed programs in schools.
Currently, eight states have laws that specifically prevent LGBTQ sex education, commonly known as “no promo homo” laws. In Arizona, teachers are told not to “Promote a homosexual lifestyle,” according to PBS.org.
Although Missouri has laws that require students to be taught about STDs and that abstinence must be the first and best choice taught, it doesn’t have explicit laws against teaching LGBTQ sex education. Webster students are required to take a one semester health class during their time at high school, but that semester mentions little to no coverage of LGBTQ sex ed.
Danny Churra, senior, stated, “It’s something that affects a lot of people and something that should be taught to young people who might be questioning their sexuality and might be having sex.”
Webster strives itself on being an inclusive school, and for the most part, it is, but it still must go into its curriculum and change it to be more accepting of the times. Learning the same heterosexual abstinence-only sex education will not prepare students for how the times have changed in the last 50 years. The sex ed curriculum needs a more inclusive update.
Senior Camille Mussman, Teen Advocates for Sexual Health (TASH) member, said, “I’m not sure what every anatomy teacher in WGHS teaches to students about sex ed, but in my experience taking both anatomy and health, I only really learned about the anatomical aspects of sex organs (not including inter-sex individuals).”
“I think it is equally, if not more, important to talk about communication and consent in a sex ed class as it is to show anatomical pictures of genitals. Students can carry communication skill sets with them throughout life and they are extremely important within relationships (sexual or other),” Mussman said.
Refusing to give thorough sex ed to all students regardless of gender or sexual orientation guarantees the risk of STDs, pregnancies and mental health issues will stay high.
A 2007 GLSEN National School Climate Survey stated students who were given an
abstinence-only sex education reported they were more likely to be harassed and that they felt unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation.
The Human Rights Campaign (hrc.org) stated, “ Inclusive programs are those that help youth understand gender identity and sexual orientation with age-appropriate and medically accurate information; incorporate positive examples of LGBTQ individuals, romantic relationships and families; emphasize the need for protection during sex for people of all identities; dispel common myths and stereotypes about behavior and identity.”
Inclusive sex ed is important for the mental state of LGBTQ students. If they only learn about heterosexual practices, they feel excluded, as if their sexuality or gender isn’t valid. No matter what, their sexuality or gender is valid and must be discussed in health classes. Everyone deserves equal access to sex ed, including students of the LGBTQ community.
Mussman added, “With students of all sexual orientations, only focusing on heterosexual relationships and sex ed doesn’t make any sense. Our education should represent our student body and prepare every single person for any relationships they experience.”
Rosa Parks, senior, is a second year ECHO student, and has made contributions to the paper during Journalism and the ECHO newspaper 2017-2018.