Listen, I respect the Texas State Board of Education for finally updating their 1997 sex-ed curriculum. However, if they don't mention LGBTQ issues and consent, the program is far from holistic.
Where are all the Texan sexual health educators that have read the scientific research on the importance of a complete sexual education?
And, you bet this includes gender identity and violence, sexual orientation, and consent.
Sexual health education is imperative for our society. According to Advocates for Youth, research suggests that comprehensive sex education is an "effective public health strategy to reduce adolescent pregnancy, HIV, and STIs." On the other hand, sex-ed programs that solely focus on abstinence are ineffective due to medical inaccuracies and distortions of health information.
Students want and deserve to learn about sex — a natural part of life. However, in Texas, many Texan students complained that they received little to no sex education. Accordingly, they gathered to rally for an education that includes all the sexual dynamics and they achieved a huge win.
But there are major gaps for improvement that need to be filled before we celebrate.
As of right now, the board voted to teach middle-school-aged students about STD prevention methods, contraceptive methods, and the importance of abstinence. *Eye-roll* Additionally, the high schoolers will learn about birth control beyond abstinence. This is a step in the right direction, but far from enough. What's wrong with teaching young adults that "no" means "no" and that the LGBTQ community deserves respect?
I understand that sex is a taboo topic and not everyone is as eager as I am to scream "Let's talk about sex!" but I have to push Texas a little bit more. No, teaching students about the gay community won't magically turn, convince, or brainwash children to become gay. No, teaching all genders about consent and respect will not make people weak or whatever excuse people have for ignoring sexual consent.
The LGBTQ community lacks protection and is already discriminated against at school, it's time to properly educate and support our society. And it's not just me, Texans of all genders, race, and sexualities are also urging the Board of Education to reconsider their curriculum because it's time to protect everyone.
When it comes to sex ed, it's essential to talk about pleasure, gender and sexual identity, consent, abuse, and a full view of what "safe sex" really means.