The Oregon Department of Education needs to do more to ensure full sex education, including LGBT, in schools. Queer and trans teenagers often go through their emotional puberty in their early 20s due to a lack of educational resources. The Department’s “Guidelines for Creating Safe Environments for Transgender Students” state that LGBT students are treated with respect and dignity and receive equivalent training in relation to their bodies and forms of safe sex. This stance is reinforced by the Oregon’s Equality Act.
Despite these words, my experiences and those of my transgender and queer colleagues in the sex education classes of the Oregon public school system have been far from inclusive. No real effort has been made to include a comprehensive sex education for LGBT students and when topics are discussed it is often negative. In sessions where we discussed sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted diseases, HIV / AIDS was portrayed as a disease that only gay men could get. Not only does this lead to discrimination, but it is also wrong. A 2014 study by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network found that only 5% of middle and high school students said their health classes included positive discussions on LGBT issues. Studies like this only further prove that broader and more LGBT-friendly laws are needed. This includes stricter rules about what is acceptable in sex education and updating curricula (e.g. explaining safe sex for each body type) to ensure LGBT students have equal access to education and resources.
Grayson Carroll, Forest Grove