Lack of Comprehensive Sex Education Puts LGBTQ Youth at Risk: National Organizations Issue Call to Action to Improve Programs and Policies
For Immediate Release: Dec. 2, 2015
Planned Parenthood Calls on Parents, Educators, and Policymakers to Advocate for LGBTQ-inclusive Sex Education Nationwide
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in partnership with Advocates for Youth, Answer, GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), issued acall to action for significant improvements in sex education programs to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth have access to information crucial to their health and wellbeing. Sixty-one additional organizations have signed a letter in support of the call to action.
A Call to Action: LGBTQ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education [urges educators, advocates, parents, and policymakers to take immediate, concrete steps to ensure LGBTQ-inclusive education for all students -- including crucial guidance for LGBTQ students on protecting themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and ensuring safe, supportive environments in which all young people can learn about their sexual health. Sex education and other programs that overlook LGBTQ students, or worse, stigmatize and stereotype them, contribute to unsafe school environments and may put youth at risk.
“As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood believes in sex education that meets the needs of LGBTQ youth,” said Dr. Leslie Kantor, vice president of education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “At Planned Parenthood, we understand that LGBTQ young people need information that addresses their identities and experiences, so that they have the information and skills to stay healthy. We urge educators, advocates, and policymakers to take immediate, concrete steps to provide LGBTQ-inclusive sex education for all students.”
Today’s call to action for inclusive sex education comes at a critical time, as research shows that within the LGBTQ community, youth are:
- More likely to have begun having sex at an early age and to have multiple partners compared to their heterosexual peers
- More likely to have sex while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- More likely to experience dating violence
- Less likely to use condoms or birth control when they have sex
- More likely to contract HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- More likely to experience teen pregnancy
“Research has shown again and again that sex education programs can make a real difference in young people’s lives,” said Dr. Kantor. “Sadly, few programs have been designed that are truly inclusive of LGBTQ youth. This damages both LGBTQ youth, who are left without critical health information, and their peers who miss the opportunity to learn accurate information about sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Data from a range of sources including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers, and professional organizations show that few sex education programs are inclusive of LGBTQ youth. Only 19% of U.S. secondary schools provide curricula or supplementary sex education materials that are LGBTQ-inclusive. Fewer than five percent of LGBT students have health classes that included positive representations of LGBT-related topics. This leaves LGBTQ youth without the skills they need to have safe, healthy relationships and protect themselves when they do become sexually active.
“Planned Parenthood provides education and resources on sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity to youth and parents,every day,” Kantor added. “Planned Parenthood believes that sexual and reproductive rights are deeply connected to LGBTQ rights and is proud to be a provider of health care, education, and information for the LGBTQ community. We’re committed to serving all people with dignity and respect by providing them with the resources they need to live healthy lives.”
Studies show that parents, health, education and social service professionals as well as youth, express high levels of support for LGBTQ-inclusive sex education. Advocates for Youth, Answer, GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) call on advocates and policymakers to require and fund LGBTQ-inclusive sex education; and on educators to make schools safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQ youth and provide inclusive sex education programs that empower all youth to take care of their sexual health.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
December 02, 2015