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The Sex-Education Gap For The LGBTQ+ Community
SEX EDUCATION LARGELY DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR SEXUAL DIVERSITY
There is a problem in the way that sex education portrays the risk of contracting STDs. Studies by the Centre for Disease Control have shown that members of the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to engage in unprotected sex than heterosexual individuals.
This issue is painfully prevalent in the rates of women within the community who do not practice safe sex. Researchers suggest that this is partially due to the perception that women were less likely to have STDs than men. There is also a prevailing notion amongst these women that using barriers during sex will decrease pleasure.
Other studies have shown that lesbian and bisexual women are also at an increased risk of teenage pregnancy due to a specific lack of knowledge concerning contraception.
Men who have sex with other men are also at a higher risk of contracting HIV, with more than half of all new cases annually arising amongst gay or bisexual men.
HETERONORMATIVITY IN THE CLASSROOM
All of this points to the failures of sexual education to account for the sexual lives of members of the LGBTQ+ community.
University of British Columbia researcher, Jennifer Wolowic, states that when asked why they do not always practice safe sex those surveyed said that “they didn’t find their sex ed programs – if they even had one – to be very informative. And even when they asked questions, the focus on heterosexual sex made them feel uncomfortable.”
This focus on heterosexual sexual activity in sex-ed curriculums is having a devastating effect on the sexual health of young members of LGBTQ+ community.
ACTION TO COMBAT THIS TREND
Examples to reverse this trend can be seen in the Ontario Government’s decision to begin talking about sexual diversity and health from grades one onwards in the hope of fostering a sense of inclusion for sexual minorities and the importance of practicing safe sex regardless of sexual orientation or expression.
However, the backlash against these measures has been widespread, with a reported 1 in 6 parents in Ontario considering pulling their children out of the public school system over the implementation of the new sex-ed initiative in 2016.
While this remains a controversial issue, there is a greater need than ever to ensure that members of the LGBTQ+ community can live healthy lives, a proposition that includes positive sex life.