A few years ago when I found out that the Family Life Education (FLE)/ Sexual Education program was regulated by the county and state to only push a pro-abstinence agenda in its curriculum, I was deeply disturbed. This curriculum prevents instructors from providing students with critical information about protecting themselves during sexual activities, the importance of consent, and growing comfortable with their individual sexuality. The FLE program is also very heterosexual and cisgender centered, which excludes a large portion of the student body which identifies themselves as a person on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
The main argument backed by highly conservative and/or religious groups and individuals is that teaching students about sex without a pro-abstinence/anti-sex program, will encourage these students to have sex. However, I believe individualized religious or traditional morals can and should be available to students strictly outside of the classroom. By presenting students with accurate and uncensored information, they can make educated decisions and better understand their individualized religious, traditional, or political values. Just because you give students information about sex, does not mean they will use all of that information right away. However, withholding information from students will not necessarily prevent them from participating in sexual activities; It will just prevent them from being as safe and happy with their decisions as they possibly can be.
Going back to the issue of excluding LGBTQ+ sexual education from the curriculum, not providing accurate information to ALL students about non-heterosexual/cisgender sexual health could potentially put students who do identify as LGBTQ+ in danger. Additionally, exposing students to the LGBTQ+ side of sexual health could promote a greater acceptance and understanding between students of all identities. After all, LGBTQ+ students have to sit through hours of lecturing on straight/cisgender sexual education so why not include them in the conversation?
Regardless of individual opinions, the benefits of available information about sex, relationships of all kinds, health and safety, and self identity can only benefit students by decreasing the awkwardness and insecurity around these topics and making them feel more comfortable with asking the important questions that they are curious about to a credible source. It is perfectly ok to teach children religious morals like pro-abstinence etc., but unbiased information should not be restricted. I want to encourage sexual education programs to become more open and more inclusive.
Protect your kids. Protect your friends. We have lost too many to lack of understanding.
Until next post,