Recently I attended a kind of top secret research project about LGBTQ+ sex ed. It taught basic sex ed info (STI and pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, etc) and talked about self-advocacy (which I talk about in this blog post). As most of you know, I’m super passionate about sex ed, especially when its inclusive. This project brought the issue back to light.
The thing that stood out to me was the binary (phallic?) focus of sex ed even when it was geared towards LGBTQ+ youth.
I’ve posted a couple times about the need for inclusive sex ed and the need reevaluate the model. Seeing a sex-ed program for LGBTQ+ youth was fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, the curriculum is a HUGE step in the right direction. While it fixed some problems, it brought others to my attention.
So back to the binary bit I brought up earlier. Sex ed being taught in schools is generally heteronormative, meaning it focuses mainly on heterosexual relationships and penetrative vaginal sex. Even within the cirriculum geared towards people that don’t identify with this, there was still focus on penetration. This is super great for men having penetrational sex with men, but leaves a solid chunk of the community out of the conversation.
Women having sex with women is the most obvious example. External or male condoms don’t work for this group of people. There was absolutely some discussion of dental dams, how to use them, and how to make them. At the same time, there was no discussion of the safe use of sex toys or finger cots (finger condoms!).
For other groups of people there was even less information. People who did not identify as male or female, were transitioning, or who are not interested in sex at all got little to no information. Pregnancy and STI’s can be hard to navigate and discuss if someone does not fit traditional ideas of gender identity or biological sex.
Again, its wonderful to see more LGBTQ+ inclusive sex ed. As more steps are taken in the right direction, its important to make sure that everyone is included in the conversation. There are so many different ways of identifying, expressing, and practicing when it comes to sex and gender. All people should have the information and education they need to be safe and healthy.
Usually this would be the place where I propose some sort of solution, but for this one there isn’t much action we can take. So, as always keep your eye out for opportunity, stay educated, and support those around you.
Every good wish,