Over the past five years or so, there’s been a surge of sexperts cropping up on social media in the form of influencers providing sexuality education for young folx. Some of it is fantastic and some of it is tragically uninformed, disseminated by unqualified civilians who have no training in the subject. The bottom line, though, is that young people are out here eating it up — because the sex ed they’re getting in school is either lackluster or altogether missing.
The ideal purpose of sex education is to educate individuals about human biology, consent and safe sex practices. We all know there’s more to learning about sex, but that’s the baseline. Still, most curriculums are still failing gender-diverse and LGBTQIA+ students. And yes, in some schools, politics is the problem. But other schools, even progressive, forward-thinking ones, are stumped as to how to convey more inclusive sex ed. Recently, researchers from social science R&D company Dfusion examined how teachers can do better — and it involves being trained to reframe how they communicate with their students.
The company’s upcoming program, Skillflix for Educators, aims to introduce gender-diverse and LGBTQIA educational resources by creating short training videos for educators, according to a release. The videos are filmed on classroom sets and feature LGBTQIA actors, advisors, and production staff. One of the project’s main goals is to help educators avoid siloing LGBTQIA education into singular lessons and recognize inclusivity as a more significant issue that permeates all educational topics, not just sex ed.
The training program could be an important tool in the growing movement to finally help students of every identity understand the nuances of a happy and healthy sex life. In Virginia, the Fairfax County Public School system just proposed changes to its sex ed curriculum: all students will learn about menstrual cycles, and terms like “boys” and “girls” will be replaced with “assigned males at birth” and “assigned females at birth.” To be expected, the announcement was met with vocal opposition.
The pushback on more inclusive sex ed, oddly, is inevitable. Earlier in November, critics in Maine of LGBTQIA-inclusive books like “Gender Queer: A Memoir” and “It’s Perfectly Normal” were trying to have the books removed from the state’s education system — despite a Maine school board member saying “I found it to be neutral in tone, strictly educational in nature and contextually appropriate. Illustrations of sex are appropriate in a book about sex.”
With queer people’s rights always up for debate, it’s time for schools to design more inclusive lessons that meets students where they’re at. And while learning more about consent on TikTok is cool, kids deserve an engaging, high-quality sex ed in the classroom too.