NEW REPORT – A CALL TO ACTION: LGBTQ+ YOUTH NEED INCLUSIVE SEX EDUCATIONNational organizations release report detailing policy, legal, educational, and interpersonal actions for LGBTQ-inclusive sex education.
May 25, 2021
(Washington, DC) – Today, leading policy and health organizations released a major new report detailing the urgent need for LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education programs and supports. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (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 (BIPOC).
“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.”
“Only seven states and the District of Columbia have state laws or regulatory guidance requiring sex education that is LGBTQ+-inclusive. Young queer and trans folks, particularly LGBTQ youth of color, can be significantly harmed by sex education that cultivates stigma and enables hostile school environments. Our communities need sex education that affirms the identities and real experiences of young people, so they can make informed decisions about their lives,” added Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity.
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; and
- Work to remove state-level legal and policy barriers to LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education in schools and to require inclusive programs.
“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.”
“It is critical that LGBTQ+ youth have access to sex education that gives them the information, resources, and skills they need to thrive. Though the fight for LGBTQ+ rights has led to progress — that progress is threatened by persistent attacks, including an onslaught of anti-trans legislation in states targeting youth,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “So it is all the more urgent that that LGBTQ+ young people feel supported and can see every aspect of their identities reflected and affirmed in sex education. By providing inclusive, safe, and supportive spaces for young people to learn about sex and sexual health, relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more, Planned Parenthood is committed to helping them lead their healthiest lives.”
This report comes on the heels of the reintroduction of the Real Education and Access for Healthy Youth Act by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Alma Adams (D-NC) in the U.S. House (H.R. 3312) and Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in the U.S. Senate (S. 1689). This bill would help reach the goals set out in the report by providing grant funds to entities 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.
SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change has served as the national voice for sex education for 56 years, asserting that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one worthy of dignity and respect. Through policy, advocacy, education, and strategic communications efforts, SIECUS advances sex education as a vehicle for social change–working toward a world where all people can access and enjoy sexual and reproductive freedom as they define it for themselves.
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity envisions a liberated world where we can live with justice, love freely, express our gender and sexuality, and define and create families of our choosing. To achieve our vision of liberation, URGE builds power and sustains a young people’s movement for reproductive justice by centering the leadership of young people of color who are women, queer, trans, nonbinary, and people of low income. As a state-driven national organization, URGE organizes our communities, provides a political home for young people, advocates for meaningful policy change, and shifts culture, working in states where the challenges and opportunities are greatest.
Black & Pink National is a prison abolitionist organization dedicated to abolishing the criminal punishment system and liberating LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS who are affected by that system through advocacy, support, and organizing.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 600,000 clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.
The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice, and equity for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. For more information go to https://www.thetaskforce.org
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.