Inclusive Sex Education For LGBTQ+ Members
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We are sophomores attending the Athenian School in Danville, California and are writing this petition in order to raise awareness about the oppression young LGBTQ+ members experience in the classroom. To be more specific, we wish to eradicate the division and discomfort that non-LGBTQ+ youths along with their LGBTQ+ peers face when they are learning about the risks of heteronormative sex. Heteronormativity happens when people assume that their peers are heterosexual on a societal scale. We wish for the sex education curriculum to be more inclusive towards the idea of same-sex sex and romance, which means we must erase the automatic assumption that all people are heterosexual. Our focus for this project is to raise public awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and reduce the amount of heteronormativity from teachers working in the sex education environment. If the curriculum for puberty education becomes more inclusive towards LGBTQ+ youths, we will be able to create more acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and normalize the idea of same-sex love being around us. After all, education holds the key to social change. According to Suzannah Weiss, a writer for The Brown Daily Herald, “About 12 percent of students identify as gay or bisexual” (2010).We believe that you are the best person suited to help us change the current curriculum due to your large influence upon the Californian society.
In recent years, the LGBTQ+ community has gained more attention and faced tremendous opposition because they diverge from the status quo. Children tend to bully and harass students who are perceived as LGBTQ+ more than those who are not. According to NoBullying.com, a website that strives to inform and assist the community about bullying, "28 percent of LGBT youth stop going to school because they are bullied." As our society has developed, the need (and means) for increased education regarding LGBTQ+ bullying has grown. Also from NoBullying.com, “one-third of the suicide attempts that actually result in death are due to a crisis in sexual identity.” If we change the system to be more inclusive towards LGBTQ+ members, we could lower these numbers.
In a classroom when students are learning about puberty, they would want to know how sex might affect them and what the effects are of the changes their bodies are going through. What we also learn in sex education is how to safely go through with the process without the worry of unexpected and unwanted consequences. But what do we learn from intersex sex education if we won’t enact those deeds? When we know that we are going against the norm of society by having same-sex sex, who is going to tell us what we should be aware of? We need an inclusive curriculum for LGBTQ students and their non-LBGTQ peers because, according to the Human Rights Campaign, “LGBTQ youth reported either not having any sex education in their school or having limited sex education that was primarily or exclusively forced on heterosexual relationships between cisgender people...and pregnancy prevention within those relationships.” People who are cisgender are those whose current gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth. This is dangerous as according to a GLSEN article, “...less than five percent of LGBTQ students were taught about LGBTQ topics in a positive way in health class. In fact, eight states prohibit school from providing this…[type of]...information. This sends a dangerous message to LGBTQ students, along with their non-LGBTQ peers, that they are not an equal and valued part of the school community.” As studies from NoBullying.com show, when LGBTQ members are bullied excessively by their peers, “[they] miss more than five times as much school than their peers” and “[they] are two or three times more likely to commit suicide than other teens.”
In order to acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community and educate the remainder of our society, it is imperative that the individual accepts and includes same sex interactions and relationships within sexual education without dehumanizing or treating the LGBTQ+ community as different from the rest of our community. By adjusting our puberty education to match our changing society and avoid assuming that every member is heterosexual, we could reduce the amount of pressure towards LBGTQ+ youth to conform to society. We would be able to counter the heteronormative stereotypes in the classroom. According Joan Greve, a writer for PBS, states that, “There are approximately nine million members of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States." That means that there are nine millions members of the United States whose lives could change for the better. Nine million and counting.
In conclusion, we hope to gain your support in changing the puberty and sex education in California towards being more supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. Thank you for your signature!
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