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Sex Education: The Importance of LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools

by Monika Rose, Sponsored Posts

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto


Adolescence is often a turbulent stage in life – the bodies are changing, hormones are raging, some have their first loves, and everybody seems curious about sex. For many kids, it’s incredibly confusing, and amidst that chaos, they face important decisions regarding their relationships, sexuality, and sexual behavior that might impact their lives.


This is exactly why we need a comprehensive education that goes beyond one and often rushed conversation about the birds and the bees. What’s more, it must include relevant material for LGBTQ kids.


LGBTQ-inclusive sex education is mandatory in all of England’s high schools, but it wasn’t the case until 2020, and before that, kids often had no representation in a classroom setting. What’s more, a new law doesn’t mean that everybody agrees with it. That is why we would like to discuss the importance of LGBTQ inclusivity in sex education.


Maintaining Sexual Health and Safety

Sex is a natural part of life, and at some point, a youth might get interested in the topic. However, they need to understand that sex is not something that should be explored in an unsafe environment.


In addition to physical issues such as sexually transmitted diseases, there are also mental ones to consider – for example, having intercourse when you aren’t 100% ready can make you feel guilty and impact your self-esteem. Moreover, victims of sexual assault often suffer from PTSD and depression.


Unfortunately, LGBTQ youth are the most affected by negative sexual health outcomes. In 2019, 41% of people diagnosed with HIV in that year were gay or bisexual men. Numerous studies have shown that lesbians and bisexual women experience an increased rate of sexual violence compared to heterosexual women. The same applies to trans-women.


Learning about safe sex and consent will help youth protect themselves, and if they know how to react in certain situations, they can prevent sexual assaults.


Concerned parents might think that teaching children about condoms or alternatives to heterosexual sex, such as strap ons, will encourage kids to have sex, but the truth is that it’s better to have safe sex than end up with a serious disease or trauma. The education should be detailed and include everything from contraception to the emotional and psychological damage that might occur after sex.


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Exploring Sexuality and Gender

Most people know about heterosexuality and homosexuality, maybe something about bisexuality. Asexuality, on the other hand, is something that isn’t commonly understood. With gender, most still believe in binary division into men and women, but we know some non-binary individuals identify with neither or are gender-fluid. Moreover, they should be treated as a spectrum.


Figuring your own identity often takes years of confusion, during which people struggle to find their place. To make this less of an ordeal, we need to be able to talk about sexuality and gender. Youth need examples to which they can compare their experiences so they can find something that matches them.


In the perfect world, that knowledge would be provided by parents and caregivers. However, they often cannot teach their children because they don’t understand those issues. The sad reality is that some adults are anti-LGBTQ, and they refuse to educate their children or even instill in them a hostile attitude.


LGBTQ-inclusive sex education gives those questioning kids a chance to learn about themselves in a professional setting that will provide them with legitimate information backed by research.


Teaching Tolerance

Kids constantly learn from the society around them. They mimic the behavior of their peers and parents, and they are influenced by the media. If a person learns that the non-heteronormative behaviors are an unnatural phenomenon and they believe in the detrimental stereotypes, they will feel uncomfortable talking about it with other-minded people.


LGBTQ-inclusive sex education will help them understand that there are people who aren’t like most, but they are just as normal as any heterosexual or cisgender individual. Moreover, it will help them empathize with people who struggle to find their place and identity in the world.



Mental Well-being

LGBTQ youth often experience trauma and mental health issues due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. What’s more, they are more likely than heterosexual or/and cis-gendered individuals to experience depression, self-harm, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts, according to Mental Health Foundation.


The issues are not caused by being LGBTQ - being a lesbian or an asexual is not synonymous with a mental illness. It’s the social stigma that has a detrimental effect on the kids' mental health – the daily discrimination, social isolation, homophobia or transphobia, rejection, and difficult experiences of coming out.


With all of that in mind, it’s important to discuss these issues with teens and provide them with the tools necessary to protect themselves mentally and emotionally. LGBTQ-inclusive sex education will help kids understand that there’s nothing wrong with them. It will provide them with a safe space where they can ask questions without fear of being judged. The classes must focus on acceptance and not on rejection and should encourage empathy.

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