To: California's School Board and State Legislature
The Power of Inclusive LGBTQ+ Education
Dear California School Board and State Legislature,
Due to the lack of implementation of policies establishing inclusive LGBT+ education in schools, and recent parent protests against the vital changes you have made, this petition was written to ensure that Assembly Bill No. 329 and The FAIR Education Act are enforced and implemented, and to remind you of the profoundly positive effect this campaign will have on queer youth.
First off, we want to thank you for everything you have done to support an LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum; Such as passing inclusive LGBT+ education laws, educating school professionals on LGBT+ subjects, creating and reviewing appropriate content, etc. These are all great steps to bridge the gap of validation, self-knowledge/love, and the overall safety in queer youth; These are all great steps towards equality.
the following are laws passed to ensure inclusive LGBT+ education in our schools:
1) The FAIR Education Act: Regarding LGBT History
2) Amendments to Assembly Bill No. 329: Regarding LGBT Sex-Ed, Gender Identity, and HIV prevention in the sexual health curriculum
Despite legislative amendments, LGBT+ youth are still not fully supported in each of the mandated categories. Although LGBT+ youth make up a small percentage of the classroom, does it mean we should be left out? For that very reason, we should be receiving more support.
LGBT+ Sexual Education, Gender Identity and History has been legally mandated in our state, but implementation is seen in very little schools. Action has been made on paper, but in reality implementation is decided by the teacher of the subject (if they are even aware of these new changes). That said, LGBT students are still at a drastic disadvantage because these laws are not being implemented as of today. Implementation MUST be facilitated and we need to raise student awareness of LGBT+ youth’s academic rights.
My district adopted a new policy two years ago: Rights, Respect, Responsibility (3Rs) sexual health curriculum- which was said to be implemented for the very first time last school year. I was informed, by a Resource Teacher that it “is explicitly inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities and even includes same-sex couples and gender-expansive individuals in scenarios in the lesson plans. Additionally, each of the curricula taught in 6th/8th grades and high school have lessons specifically addressing sexual and gender identities, as well as lessons on respectful relationships, anti-bullying, and sexual harassment. Unfortunately, since Jeremy is a senior, he probably did not receive this 3Rs instruction, since the lessons are typically taught in high school Biology classes to 9th/10th graders.”
To which I replied:
“I am happy to hear that our district took action to make these policies, but are they facilitating and ensuring implementation? I’ve spoken to a few LGBT+ students who are in 9/10 grade AND 6th grade as-well, from various schools in our district, and they haven’t seen or heard of any LGBT Sex-Ed. This is where the flaw is. Yes, this issue could be addressed in our district- which I and many others would love to see happen- but if policies aren’t being carried out in all of our district’s schools, you can imagine the issue on a statewide level. I hope to ensure the sexual health and education of our youth.”
Policies are being made. But the flaws here are:
1) Implementation of policies is not secure.
2) LGBT+ Youth aren’t aware of their rights to LGBT+ inclusive education- further dismantling implementation certainty. Power is in knowledge and LGBT youth are powerless. LGBT youth want to learn LGBT academia, we just don’t know that we have the right to and so we remain intimidated to ask.
3) Teachers need an approved curriculum/textbooks- An issue I know the School Board is working on.
Just as how LGBT+ students should know the basics of straight sex-ed, the same should go vice-versa; With an emphasis on their own sexual identity and gender. It broadens student knowledge on an existing worldwide community and validates their role in society. This will also allow youth to educate friends and family, and promote the overall well being of our country.
Homophobic teachers and parents against LGBT+ education should not obstruct every student’s right to learn what is needed to keep them safe.
If teachers don’t feel comfortable teaching LGBT related subjects or are not experts themselves on the topic, it is still required that youth are provided with LGBT sex education and history. An outside expert shall be present to teach. (Assembly Bill #329,SEC. 11. 51936.)
As for homophobic parents, advise them to read Assembly Bill #329, SEC. 14.
Why is this important?
The lack of LGBT representation in our curriculum is responsible for the disadvantages and dangers that LGBT youth typically face. We need LGBT History, Sex-Ed, and Gender-Ed to show all students that the LGBT community is just as important as any other minority group in our country. The lack of representation and education is why LGBT+ are treated like 2nd class citizens and why they themselves believe it as well.
It's time to end our children's confusion. End their insecurities, self-hatred, and end LGBT+ discrimination in schools with the power of proper education and representation.
''According to data from the 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), of surveyed LGB students:
10% were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property
34% were bullied on school property
28% were bullied electronically''
This has to stop. LGBT youth face a drastic disadvantage. And it’s not being addressed effectively.
Why is Sex-Ed specifically important?
For the same reasons why sex-ed is important for any other child. There comes an age when youth undergo changes in their body and need an explanation. They NEED to learn safe practices and need to learn certain things to keep them healthy and safe, so that they may avoid jeopardizing their life at such an early stage.
The lack of proper LGBT+ sex ed in schools isolates and endangers youth.
This is why we have such high risks of depression, suicide, and catching HIV/STDS.
We are left to fend on our own and discover these things for ourselves.
“ LGB youth are at greater risk for depression, suicide, substance use, and sexual behaviors that can place them at increased risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Nearly one-third (29%) of LGB youth had attempted suicide at least once in the prior year compared to 6% of heterosexual youth. In 2014, young gay and bisexual men accounted for 8 out of 10 HIV diagnoses among youth. ‘’
“Every year, 50,000 Americans are infected with HIV. Youth and young adults ages 13 to 29 comprise one-third of those infections. Inadequate sexual health education is a significant barrier to promoting healthy practices among LGBTQ youth. That is why HRC advocates for legislation at the state and federal level, such as the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, to improve sexual health education.” -Post submitted by Jordan Dashow, HRC Policy Assistant
From personal experience, I can say that the lack of adequate LGBT sex-ed in my middle school led to really poor and dangerous decisions as a child.
Underage teens -minors- our CHILDREN, are turning to dating and hookup apps to experience and learn sex themselves. The rise of underage teens on these apps are growing at such an alarming rate AND EVEN becoming normalized. Why is this being ignored?? I've seen 14 year olds on these apps. Minors are repeatedly meeting adults through these apps and no one is noticing. No one is being punished. What is even more horrific is that more and MORE pedophiles are being created as LGBT minors meeting up for casual sex is going unnoticed/ignored. Predators are beginning to become comfortable with committing statutory rape and publicly state on their profile statements like: "The younger the better" "YOUNGER ONLY.’’ Predators are actively seeking minors and minors are actively putting themselves at risk. This is happening in real time at this very second.
The traumatic and life threats that LGBT+ Youth face due to the lack of sex education and using dating/hookup apps are:
Rape and Manipulation
Normalizing Statutory Rape
Gaining Unhealthy Relationship Practices
Exposure to Drugs and Violence
It has been going on for years. I am one of the countless LGBT minors who have turned to these platforms because of the lack of sex-ed that is relevant to us. I've experienced things that I regret and don't want any other child to experience or carry on their shoulders.
California LGBT+ youth aren’t the only ones that need this education, ALL LGBT+ youth do. Please, do not let this slide. Protect our youth and their future. By implementing these changes in our state, we are leading a movement much more greater. May California continue to be a leading example of striving to make equality possible for all.
Protect our children.
How it will be delivered
I will voice these concerns to California Legislators on May 21st (Youth Advocacy Day), At the annual LGBT+ Youth Empowerment Summit, and Have an informational video made and distributed. I am working with a freelancer to bring national awareness to this campaign so that not only California, but ALL states see the importance of bridging the gap of inclusive education supporting LGBT+ youth.