By: Jillian James
As society becomes more progressive and accepting, the educational standards must shift along with it. According to Gallup polling, ten million Americans consider themselves members of the LGBTQ community. However, many LGBTQ students in schools aren’t seeing themselves being represented in the classroom, especially when it comes to sexual education.
According to GLSEN, an education organization that focuses on LGBTQ students’ rights in schools, only 19% of US secondary schools have curriculum or materials in sex education classes that are LGBTQ inclusive, and fewer than five percent of LGBTQ students have taken a health class that discussed LGBTQ topics in a positive manner.
This means that LGBTQ have little to no access to education regarding safe sexual behavior and positive LGBTQ relationships. When they do decide to become sexually active, they may be entering a relationship without the knowledge to protect themselves. When LGBTQ students don’t have anyone to turn to, whether it be a parent, teacher, or other adult, then they can turn to other sources like the internet or seek information from their other classmates. This can lead to a warped perception of sexual health.
It has been proven that comprehensive sexual education can lower the rates of STDs and STIs and can support overall healthy attitudes and behaviors about sexual health. It is vital that LGBTQ can see positive depictions of themselves in their classrooms so that they have an example to model their behavior after and so that they can feel accepted and understood by their community.