General Question

prolificus's avatar

For public schools, if it was federally or state-mandated that the instruction of human sexuality included a unit on homosexuality and various other gender/sexual identities/expressions, what information would you want included and/or excluded?

Asked by prolificus (6552points) March 17th, 2010 from iPhone

[Preface:  hypothetically speaking, let’s say that ALL public schools teach sex education.  Also, hypothetically speaking, let’s say that you have a child or a relative attending a public school.]

Some schools provide the option for parents to withdraw their child(ren) from sex ed classes. Would you allow your child(ren) to participate in basic (heterosexual, gender binary) sex ed taught in a public school?

If it was optional for you to pick and choose which lessons for your child(ren) to learn, would you be selective?  If so, what would you NOT want your child(ren) to learn?

Finally, what information do you think should be included regarding gender/sexual identity/expression?

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38 Answers

elenuial's avatar

Having a unit just on alternative sexualities would be horrific, as it sends the wrong message entirely—that you can exclude such people and identities if you want. I’d rather it be a tacit assumption that other options beyond heteronormativity exist throughout the curriculum, and that it is constantly addressed throughout.

Otherwise, you get: “Here is good, clean, American sex” for a week, and then for half an hour, “Here’s what these perverts do.” Yeah, no thanks.

Snarp's avatar

Not much. I suppose some people think of sex ed. classes as something like Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, but the reality is much simpler. There are two aspects of teaching human sexuality. One is oriented toward societal and health issues, the other is pure biology. You teach the basic technical requirements of heterosexual sex because you are teaching biology, the rest of it is about teaching people to get along in society and not get sick, pregnant, etc. Homosexuals should use the same kinds of protection as heterosexuals. A gay man puts on a condom the same way a heterosexual man does. Basically the only difference is that you’re telling kids that this exists, there’s no need to explain how to do it. You just say, whether you are a with someone of the same sex or a different sex, you need to protect yourself, and here are the ways to do it.

liminal's avatar

I am strongly with elenuial on this. An integrated curriculum. GA @elenuial!

njnyjobs's avatar

At the end of the other spectrum of what @Snarp is saying, Sex ED or Health as it is commonly called now, should also teach Abstinence programs on the basis that human sexuality is primarily emotional and psychological, not physical, in nature;
In proper circumstances, sexual activity leads to long term emotional bonding between two individuals; and Sexual happiness is inherently linked to intimacy, love, and commitment—qualities found primarily within marriage.

Abstinence programs strongly encourage abstinence during the teen years, and preferably until marriage or adulthood, as the case may be. They teach that casual sex at an early age not only poses serious threats of pregnancy and/or infection by sexually transmitted diseases, but also can undermine an individual’s capacity to build loving, intimate relationships as an adult. These programs therefore encourage teen abstinence as a preparation and pathway to healthy adult marriage or same sex relationships as the case may be.

Arp's avatar

Also, please refrain from covering BDSM. I was scarred for life when my cousin told me about that crap (I was young!) 0_0

JLeslie's avatar

I personally have always thought of homosexuality as being taught within a program focusing on how people are different and how it doesn’t matter. There are people with dark skin, light skin, red hair, blue eyes, tall, short, heterosexual, homosexual, Greek, Spanish, Irish, etc, etc. I don’t see why people focus on the SEX when talking about men who are attracted to and fall in love with other men, or the same for lesbians. Sex Ed in school should be about the mechanics in my opinion. It should teach about the menstrual cycle, hormones, sperm, egg, how babies are made, birth control, STD’s. I think of it as more of a science class.

prolificus's avatar

@elenuial and @liminal – okay. So what information WOULD you WANT included?

jaytkay's avatar

Abstinence-only programs increase teen pregnancy and STDs.

CMaz's avatar

“You just say, whether you are a with someone of the same sex or a different sex,”
Why cant you just say when having sex?

Otherwise @Snarp is right on.

liminal's avatar

I like what Snarp wrote. I also think a section on sexual ethics and how one defines their own is a good idea.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would allow my kids to take sex-ed. I would want this class to address the sex binary and those that fall outside of it – aka we identify female as xyz, we identify male as xyz and we identify those not clearly defined as intersex (adding no particular emphasis to any category). I would want the class to address the gender binary and those that fall outside of it – aka we identify women as xyz, we identify men as xyz, we identify transgender individuals as those having a gender not match their given sex or as those not identifying with any gender (not particular emphasis on any category). I would want the class to teach that there are different sexualities – straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer (no emphasis and mention there are other categories). I want the class to emphasize that sex isn’t gender isn’t sexuality but all are intertwined. Finally, I want the class to discuss HIV and STD and protection against these as well as protection against pregnancy.

CMaz's avatar

“I want the class to emphasize that sex isn’t gender isn’t sexuality but all are intertwined.”
That is theory and opinion. Not belonging in an elementary educational institution.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz No, I believe it is generally accepted (and really what about gender and sexuality not an opinion) that sex refers to biological attributes, gender to social attributes and sexuality to attraction between people. As if people teaching abstinence are teaching anything objective or baised on facts.

CMaz's avatar

“No, I believe it is generally accepted”
You did it again, opinion. :-) Creative opinion. That way of thinking created segregation.

“As if people teaching abstinence”
We are talking about how to use a condom.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz Yes, hi…we should talk about using a condom but that has nothing to do with biological sex (as in male and female) or gender (as in man or woman) or one’s sexuality. In that discussing a condom isn’t about discussing categories – you can say there are male and female forms of contraception (in an ideal world for me I’d say if you have a penis, wear a condom…if you have a vagina, use xyz..this would cover the majority. I talked how I want condoms to be taught about. This topic comes after describing that there are various people out there. And in classes teaching abstinence they LIE about the effectiveness of condoms and we used to pay federal fucking money for this shit.

CMaz's avatar

Right and I am saying, that what we teach should have factual foundation to it. Not opinion.Or don’t fucking teach it or elude to it. :-)

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I think it depends on how long this class is, how many school hours? Or is it a semester, etc. The things you are talking about go outside of just the mechanics, and the mechanics are what I am most concerned about. Are you looking for a long discussion on topics like intersex, homosexuality, transgender, or just a mention?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz I disagree that saying sex is about biology and gender is about social attributes is just an opinion. You still have to address these categories somehow. Sex ed should be more than just ‘condoms and stds’...no? Unless you think they should be just about contraceptives, then I agree with you. But if you are going to say the world heterosexual, you better include the word homosexual and bisexual and all else I said. If you are going to talk about how there are males and females, you’ll talk about intersex people (unless they too, you think, are a figment of my imagination)

@JLeslie Look, I was outlining my ideal class – no way in hell will this ever be actually covered and done correctly and yes it would be long but when I had sex ed it was all semester long and if I taught it I can do it in that time. And no, no long discussions just the mention of other categories.

CMaz's avatar

“But if you are going to say the world heterosexual”
Hey I am with you on that one. I say remove that word from sex ed, leave it for biology lessons.

Man and woman is good enough.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz I know you’ll think it doesn’t matter but there are many genderfluid and gender non conforming kids out there in high schools ( I know them, I work with them) who will feel like this doesn’t apply and they deserve a mention And why would sexuality have to be taught in a biology lesson but not in a sex ed lesson?

JLeslie's avatar

When I had sex ed it was for one week, an hour a day in high school. In elementary school it was a couple of hours for two days. In jr. high it was a few days for an hour each.

Yet, I feel like I was way ahead of most of my friends in understanding my body. Many of them grew up with no sex ed, catholic school. Some of them did go to public school and had sex ed, I have no idea how long their classes were, and they were still ignorant about tons of stuff.

CMaz's avatar

“who will feel like this doesn’t apply”

I use to feel that way when I did not want to stay in class.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie Listen a lot of adults remain ignorant about themselves and others – if acceptance and open mindedness were taught to teenagers, we wouldn’t have so much discrimination.
@ChazMaz Not the same. Unless this put you at risk for STDs, HIV, prostitution and discrimination.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I completely agree. But, like I said above, I was thinking of that in terms of teaching about acceptance of people who are not like ourselves, this shuld be taught from kindergarten. I had not really thought about it being incorporated into a sex ed class. I am not arguing with you, I was trying to get clarification on what ou were thinking. My big quarrel with people against sex ed being taught is that I think it is like an anatomy and safety class, and I don’t see how that can be offensive to anyone. My Catholic friends not only did not know all of their options to prevent pregnancy and the possibilities of STD’s and how they are transmitted, they also did not know how to get pregnant, or I mean the best time, which eventually might be useful information when you finally want to have a baby. It is all just totally mysterioius, completely unaware of their bodies.

In a semester long class I would be fine touching on all of it, but a semester seems like a long time to me for a high school class. My high school taught sex ed within our mandatory biology/science class in 10th grade (although a parent could opt their child out of that section).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie Now that I think about it was a semester long Health class, not sex ed and sex ed got two weeks in it. And of course I agree we should teach our kids from the very young about different people. But you’d get all sorts of backlash from people about how talking about transgender people is ‘exposing’ their kids to the devil. My 3 and a half year old is aware of both queer and gender non conformant people and though I don’t think he understands what gender means (bless his soul) in general, I know he knows it’s not all about how a man loves a woman, end of story.

CMaz's avatar

What does STDs, HIV, and prostitution have do do with establishing your “orientation?”
Simplify it even more. Those that have a penis do this, those with a vagina do that.

Discrimination has nothing to do with it of you stay with the facts. Or add to your list BDSM. There are plenty of individuals in that orientation that will say they were born to be a slave. or born to be a Dom. Are you now going to educate our children on how to use a whip? :-)

“exposing’ their kids to the devil.“Is ignorance, lacking any factual information.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz Not explaining to teenagers (and we’ve actually researched this) about categories and alienating certain groups of them leads to those groups taking risky choices – lgbt populations have a higher risk for STDs because they don’t even feel comfortable going to the doctor who’s lgbt sensitive (most physicians aren’t trained in lgbt sensitivity or knowledge) and they don’t know about all the protection available to them and because no one discusses ‘their’ sexual practices as in anal sex for gay men, they’re misinformed. If you don’t think sexual orientation matters, fine, at least you should discuss that there are many ways to have sex, that sex isn’t ‘penis into vagina’ only and what to do to protect yoruself. Discrimination of LGBT teens is a fact and your example with BDSM is leading because it’s not like when you’re talking about condoms, you’re making someone give you a blow job so why would you show them anything about whips – and last time I checked, unless they’re first dipped in sperm and then put up your ass, whips don’t give you STDs.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I think stick to the basics so the crazy conservative loons have nothing to complain about and at least we can teach their kids about their bodies. But, I guess they complain anyway. I kind of think @ChazMaz is right.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JLeslie Oh no, it’s not even about that – you can’t convince them enough to teach the basics, to them their basics are made up crap.

CMaz's avatar

“that there are many ways to have sex”
I agree there. I mean if you need to say a condom is for putting over the penis, no matter what you stick it in.

But not “to” have sex. Again, you are directing them. It should be “many ways people have sex.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz Okay so use passive wording, whatever – I wasn’t using that ‘to’ to imply they should do it but to think that they won’t is ludicrous.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir yeah, I guess those people are beyond hope. I guess you have to hope that the kids get their information from Cosmo, which by the way has sometimes much better info than even a doctors office.

CMaz's avatar

In this case, especially where education is involved. Wording is everything.

Yes, I know that statement will burn me sooner or later. ;-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz you can almost bet on it

CMaz's avatar

You do know I love you. ;-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz well not in so many words…
Wait doesn’t that mean you just want to fuck me?

CMaz's avatar

It is a good start. ;-)

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