The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has released a major new report detailing the urgent need for LGBTQ-inclusive sex education programs and supports.
LGBTQ youth, particularly those who are at the intersection of multiple marginalized communities, need to be able to learn in settings that are inclusive of their experiences and that give them the necessary tools to stay safe and healthy. However, whether legally barred or simply ignored, LGBTQ-inclusive sex education is not available for most youth, especially for LGBTQ youth who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.
“Time and again, statistics reflect that the LGBTQ community is disproportionately impacted by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and a lack of access to LGBTQ-affirming prevention and treatment services. This is particularly true for Black and Latinx LGBTQ youth. We must address these disparities at their root—inaccurate and outdated sexual health education,” said Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “It is crucial for LGBTQ youth to learn about their sexuality, their bodies, their relationships, and to learn skills for making healthy decisions into adulthood. This report should serve as a tool to encourage educators to create and expand curricula to include the experiences of all marginalized communities.”
This report comes on the heels of the reintroduction of Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Alma Adams (D-NC) in the U.S. House and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in the U.S. Senate. This bill would help reach the goals set out in the report by providing grant funds to entities to that provide sex education programs that include gender equity and are inclusive of young people with varying gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations. Further, the bill ensures that no federal funds are used for sex education or sexual health services that fail to be inclusive of individuals with varying gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations.
“It is essential that LGBTQ+ youth are able to not only learn but thrive in their educational settings. To make this a reality, sex education curriculum must be culturally responsive to the unique needs and realities of LGBTQ youth– and LGBTQ+ youth of color in particular– to ensure they can make informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health and future,” said Christine Soyong Harley, President & CEO of SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. “Young people must receive this instruction in classrooms that move beyond shame and stigma to celebrate and affirm the identities of LGBTQ+ youth to create a classroom culture that’s inclusive of all young people. Policymakers and educators must take action now to support LGBTQ+ youth through undertaking the proactive recommendations of the LGBTQ Call to Action.”
The report, A Call to Action: LGBTQ Youth Need inclusive Sex Education, was authored and endorsed by Advocates for Youth, Answer, Black & Pink, the Equality Federation, GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, and URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity and provides guidance for parents and families, youth, educators, and policymakers to:
- Become advocates for LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education
- Ensure that school is a safe and accepting space for LGBTQ+ students
- Implement LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education in schools, community settings and online
- Talk to their own children and teens about sex and sexuality
- Work to remove state-level legal and policy barriers to LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education in schools and to require inclusive programs