We are fully aware that history shows LGBT are more sexually active at a young age. It also shows that gay men have been fairly indiscriminate in the past, when it comes to sexual conquests. Lesbians have always been joked about bringing a U-Haul to the first date, implying that they are moving in shortly after meeting a new person. Even bisexuals are accused of being over sexually active because they can play both sides, in effect having their cake and eating it, too. Is any of it true? Yes, there are probably kernels of it throughout, even while the larger parts may be exaggeration. The bigger problem lies in proper sex education, our identities and experiences are never discussed. Also, we do not have anyone to turn to that would help us navigate some of those more sensitive questions. Current times show this is changing, but it’s at a snail’s pace in comparison to the need of it.
I still remember my sex ed class, in high school. It was talked about on the first day that at some future point, the class would be divided between boys and girls for a couple days. Then it wasn’t mentioned again until it was closer to time, the week before Our teach told us that the boys would have one class and the girls would have another, if I am not mistaken, during that time the other side of the class got gym or a free period. You couldn’t teach boys and girls together; it was out of the question. They were afraid it would cause issues discussing those private parts of our humanity. We each went over the same chapters, only difference was in relation to our sexuality. It was an awkward experience, the penis inserts into the vagina, semen impregnates the egg, then conception. There was no talking about feelings and experiences. What puberty really feels like and how it can affect you emotionally. And that was just for “normal” heterosexual sex. Any mention of LGBT was met with deviant behavior and considered not normal. It is no wonder we grow up with sexual and mental dysfunctions.
According to HRC.org “The GLSEN 2013 National School Climate Surveyfound that fewer than five percent of LGBT students had health classes that included positive representations of LGBT-related topics. Among Millennials surveyedin 2015, only 12 percent said their sex education classes covered same-sex relationships.” When I was in school, all those years ago, there were none. We should have the same right as our heterosexual counterparts, it is essential for understanding sexual-orientation and gender identity. We need the kind of information that would allow us to make informed and educated decisions about safe health practices and even to see positive representations of same sex and transgender families. After all, most LGBT youth grow up with the stigma that we are to be feared. Having families who are adamantly opposed to our lifestyles, who in turn do we have to turn to for help and understanding?
GLSEN shows there are five ways to be inclusive about sexual education for LGBT people, four of which are actually the worst ways and one positive. Sounds horrifying to think that there are far more ways to be hurtful to our LGBT youth than there is positive. But is it really? The first way is the ignoring approach, simply do not teach it. It is far easier to not talk about LGBT and healthy relationships than bringing it up. Many teachers feel that it isn’t something that would affect their students. The second way is the demonizing approach. Here you would mention LGBT people, but you would show them in the negative light that many people still feel is the only way to view us. They would prefer to tell you how bad they are and unwanted. Telling only of the solitary life they will have and how their families will kick them out. The third way is stigmatizing approach. This is the more passive aggressive approach, they don’t directly tell you they are bad, instead it is only talking about them when talking about them while teaching about risky behavior. How their sexual activities will lead to STIs and ultimately AIDS. The fourth bad way is the transgender-excluding approach. This approach will talk about lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and any non-heterosexual types, but refuse to discuss the validity of transgender people. Giving them no respect and negating their existence. However, it is a new trend that it is taught in a more positive approach. This is the LGBT inclusive approach; it is not left to a paragraph or even a chapter to discuss. Instead you see aspects of LGBT people discuss in all parts of the curriculum. Giving a positive view of life and love, encouraging the students to see them as normal parts of society. It challenges the modality of on gender binary focus, allows for growth of the individual by no relegating the topics of gender identity and sexual orientation to special topics.
The Trevor Project offers some great resources about sex education. They are as beneficial to anyone who comes out as they are to the LGBT youth. The first link I would like to point it is for Scarleteen.com, on this truly awesome page, there are many offerings that can be beneficial to LGBT youth. Some deal with dating and parents, some address the topics of being asexual and they focus on various ideals of sexual identity and orientation. Then one that sticks out to me the most is on their recent crush list called; Going Solo: The Basics of Masturbation. If you have read any of my blog, before this, you will see all to quickly how I talk about body positivity and being comfortable with who you are. Masturbation is a topic that isn’t covered, in depth, in most sex ed classes. And if it is, it isn’t usually given a positive light. Add on to that how our parents reinforce to us that is will cause bad things to happen to us like blindness and insanity, we treat it as a dirty little secret. The truth it, it is something that should be discussed more openly. After all, it is the first act of sex we typically experience. Before you drop this article to click over to the Scarleteen, be warned that it is not a how-to manual, nor will you find pictures. It is a reaffirming article about how masturbation is natural and healthy. It offers insight into why fors and how comes. It dispenses with common myth and even offers why it is a necessary part of life. We should be open with our partners about our own sexual health and to know that we must know ourselves and this is one way you get to know who you are.
A couple other really awesome links is Sex Etc and the Trans youth Sexual Health Handbook Sex Etc is an info site that covers a vast array or topics, you can find things about birth control, STIs/AIDS info, body image info, abuse and violence info, and information on relationships. It is worth a dive through to read some of their pages. Many of their pages are divided up between stories for contributors, FAQs with general information, and other external resources for information. Again, this is a page that offers information that is as helpful for a LGBT youth or someone who is 35 and just coming to terms with their sexuality. The trans youth sexual health handbook is written by a group of 16-24 year old transgender youths who, as they say, “who have been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.” It came out of a need for information to help those who are just starting their journeys in understanding who they are. It is a means to create body positivity and acceptance in yourself. It covers relationship topics, sex, and even talks about hormone therapies. They are based out of Europe, so some of their links may not be of use for phone numbers, but the information and link they provide are definitely a wealth of information.
This kind of information is important, hell to everyone and not just LGBT people. Our sex education classes in America are lackluster in covering enough topics to safely help us assess our own mental well-being. These are part of the reason there is such stigma around things like sexual kink. Without understanding what drives us and our desires we fall back on the judging because it is different mindset. If more care was taken in some of our earlier education, we might just adjust better in our adulthood. I feel this is a really good addition to the last two weeks of discussing other kinds of sexual activity. It is a means of broadening our horizons to be more inclusive of one another and also teaching that we are not bad for taking part in things that others don’t talk about openly. Take some time to find out who you are, read a few of these links and question yourself and your desires. We need better education of our LGBT youth so that they may become better adjusted to a world that already has enough stigma and hatred.