Everyone who went to public school remembers the dreaded puberty and sexual education talk. Schools do a great job in teaching about straight sexual intercourse and pregnancy prevention, but what about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth (DeWitt par. 4)? Based on outlines of what teacher’s cover in sex education, anything LGBTQ related is not brought up. The focus is on heterosexual relations and sexually transmitted disease prevention (Curtis par. 3). This focus can prove to be extremely detrimental to members of the LGBTQ community for numerous reasons.
The first reason this is destructive towards LGBTQ youth is because of the loneliness and depression it can provoke. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, LGBTQ youth in grades 7th through 12th are approximately twice as likely to attempt or commit suicide than their heterosexual peers (“LGBT” par. 4). This is in response to not being taught about their sexuality and therefore, not getting the approval that it is okay. They don’t get the impression that their feelings are valid (Curtis par. 6).
Neglecting to teach about different sexualities in school is also harmful towards LGBTQ youth because doing so gives them the impression that they do not have to practice safe sex – no matter who they do it with. LGBTQ youth are rarely given the opportunity to learn about safe sex and they suffer the consequences (Curtis par. 6). According to research done by Doctor Guoyu Tao, bisexual women ages fifteen to forty-four are three times more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease than others (Tao par. 1). Studies have also found that gay and bisexual men account for seventy-five percent of all syphilis cases in the United States (Ducre par. 5). The main reason sexually transmitted disease rates are so high in people that identify as LGBTQ is because they are not educated about sex when they are younger.
Omitting the sexuality talk from human growth and development units also affects people who do not identify as LGBTQ. By not talking about it or discussing it, young people get the notion that it is a bad thing and something that should not be talked about or accepted. This leads to tremendous violence against LGBTQ people, especially in school. According to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a community-based agency serving lesbian and gay male adolescents in New York City, out of 500 surveyed youth, forty-one percent reported facing violence from their family and peers. Of the children who reported violence, forty-one percent of the girls and thirty-six percent of the boys reported attempting suicide as result of the violence (Hunter par. 1). The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network also released a report that stated fifty-five percent of LGBTQ youth felt unsafe at school and seventy-four percent were verbally abused at school (Kerr par. 4). Since students are not taught about different sexualities, they have a difficult time accepting them, with violence being the result.
There are several different arguments on whether or not we should teach about different sexualities in school. By thoroughly analyzing the pros and cons of doing so, our society should be able to come to a compromise.
Curtis, Tenesha. “Sex Education Programs Should Teach That Homosexuality Is Natural.”Opposing Viewpoints. Gale Cengage Learning, 2009. Web. 7 Mar. 2017.
Ducre, Kristena. “Out of the Closet, Into the Clinic: LGBT STD Statistics.” STD Exposed – Sexual Health Blog. N.p., 24 Oct. 2016. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.
Hunter, Joyce. “Violence Against Lesbian and Gay Male Youths.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence. N.p., 1 Sept. 1990. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.
Kerr, Michael. “Depression in the LGBT Population.” Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.
“LGBT Youth.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Nov. 2014. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.
Tao, Guoyu. “Sexual Orientation and Related Viral Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates Among US Women Aged 15 to 44 Years.” American Journal of Public Health. American Public Health Association, June 2008. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.