Hey, Sex Ed Teachers: Not All Students Are Straight And Cis

These researchers developed a tool to help teachers create a more gender-diverse, queer-inclusive sex education.
A yellow banana on a pink background surrounded by latex condoms in a random pattern. Concept to illustrate safe sex and male contraception. Shot with a with a top down view
A yellow banana on a pink background surrounded by latex condoms in a random pattern. Concept to illustrate safe sex and male contraception. Shot with a with a top down view
J Studios via Getty Images

Over the past five years or so, there鈥檚 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 鈥 because the sex ed they鈥檙e 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鈥檚 more to learning about sex, but that鈥檚 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 鈥 and it involves being trained to reframe how they communicate with their students.

The company鈥檚 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鈥檚 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 鈥渂oys鈥 and 鈥済irls鈥 will be replaced with 鈥渁ssigned males at birth鈥 and 鈥渁ssigned females at birth.鈥 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 鈥淕ender Queer: A Memoir鈥 and 鈥淚t鈥檚 Perfectly Normal鈥 were trying to have the books removed from the state鈥檚 education system 鈥 despite a Maine school board member saying 鈥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.鈥

With queer people鈥檚 rights always up for debate, it鈥檚 time for schools to design more inclusive lessons that meets students where they鈥檙e at. And while learning more about consent on TikTok is cool, kids deserve an engaging, high-quality sex ed in the classroom too.

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