As a queer person, I’ve often wondered how my secondary school experience would have been shaped had I been provided with even a basic level of sex education relevant to my interest in kissing people that weren’t boys.
Of course, access to good quality sex education is not limited to classrooms, but for most it tends to be a starting point. Being educated in a former convent meant the chances of identity and gender ever coming up in class were near impossible.
Much of my education came in the form of conversations with friends who were also cautiously trying to navigate their own identities within an all girls Catholic school. This, and the internet were essential in ensuring my questions weren’t left answered.
Excluding this information as if it were somehow abnormal does weird things to a person. Is it really that big of an ask to want to know what to do if there aren’t any penises in the equation? Moreover, for those that have TWO penises in the equation? Or those that have a penis biologically but do not identify as such?
Over 25% of the respondents to our survey identify as LGBTQ+ in some capacity, so the information has to be relevant to somebody.
Thankfully there are countries that have made steps within the past year to make things less weird for us all.
Last year both Wales and Scotland made proposed real, legislative change to ensure their state schools are required to embed topics relevant to LGBTQ+ youth into their curriculums. Wales announced a total overhaul of the way sex and relationships are taught, with plans to streamline LGBTQ+ sex education and what is already available into one.
Scotland has looked at the bigger picture, becoming the first country globally to commit to embedding education on LGBTQ+ issues as a whole. The state of England’s sex education policy leave a lot to be desired, with Stonewall reporting that the government guidance for teachers has gone untouched since 2000, with promises to address this over the coming year.
It’d be an understatement to suggest that the picture globally is pretty bleak. In America, only 12 states require sexual identity to be discussed in class, with three of those states requiring that the information given is entirely negative. I had to fact check this several times before I could put it in print.
A deep dive into the injustices LGBTQ+ people face as a whole beyond (and within) the Western world would require – most of you should know the situation is far from ideal. Naturally, sex education pertaining to the needs of the people these countries are working so hard to oppress isn’t a high priority. Though the UN can attempt to advise on what is acceptable, it’s power is not executive.
As I mentioned previously, the internet played a crucial role in allowing. I don’t recall what sites were useful, but the pool was a fraction of what is available to people now. Ten years on, the ever expanding nature of our online culture has enabled LGBTQ+ people to seek out high quality, accurate resources that cover sex, culture and beyond.
Discussions on LGBTQ+ sex and identity have permeated the mainstream in a way that feels both progressive and a permanent feature of the internet. Leading online media organisations committed to producing informative, engaging content on a regular basis – something that wasn’t available when most of us were having to sit through our science teacher bumble through a powerpoint presentation on how babies are made.