20 May 2021
Eighty-five percent (85%) of parents surveyed supported discussion of sexual orientation as part of sex education in high school and 78% supported it in middle school.9 Sex education is a logical venue to help all youth learn about sexual orientation and gender identity and to encourage acceptance for LGBTQ+ people and families. [...] Sex education is legally mandated in 29 states and the District of Columbia.17 When sex education is provided in schools, only 18 states require that the instruction be medically accurate; 32 states and the District of Columbia require that the information be appropriate for the students’ age; eight states require culturally responsive sex education and HIV/STI instruction, and 16 states and the D. [...] Lack of Sex Education has Far Reaching Health Consequences from Adolescence to Adulthood The experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in schools and their lack of relevant sex education has far- reaching implications for their health both as youth and into adulthood — especially as it relates to risk and prevention of HIV and other STIs. [...] Racialized and sexualized language in federal, state, and school policies, school 8 curriculum, and the implementation of school policies directly connect to the disproportionate experiences of sexual and other violence, negative sexual health outcomes, and interaction with the criminal justice system that young Black people and other youth of color face. [...] The lack of resources granted to predominantly nonwhite school districts and the inconsistent patchwork of sex education allows some states to intentionally discriminate against LGBTQ+ youth and youth of color (and, by extension, LGBTQ+ youth of color) by either entirely omitting important information about their bodies and sexualities or by using sex education as an opportunity to validate racist.