Culturally Competent Sex Ed for LGBTQ+ Patients
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth lack access to inclusive and comprehensive sexual health education. Sex ed greatly promotes heteronormativity and fails to consider the experiences and identities of LGBTQ+ youth. This can make them more disengaged and unwilling to speak up and ask questions. The GLSEN 2013 National School Climate Survey reported that less than 5% of LGBTQ+ had sex ed that positively represented LGBTQ+ topics. Another survey of millenials found that only 12% of people said their sex ed discussed same-sex relationships. Studies conducted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation
Research has heavily supported the claim that comprehensive and well-designed sex ed can reduce risky behavior and support positive sexual health outcomes, regarding but not limited to teen pregnancy and STI infection rates, in teens. In fact, gay men have higher rates of STIs.
In order to remedy this issue, sex ed must be LGBTQ+ inclusive and work to help them understand their gender identity and sexual orientation, in a manner well-suited for youth. We must "incorporate positive examples of LGBTQ individuals, romantic relationships and families, emphasize the need for protection during sex for people of all identities, and dispel common myths and stereotypes about behavior and identity." Sex ed is not only limited to schools, but physician interactions as well, and unfortunately not every provider and physicians office is LGBTQ+ accepting and inclusive, which can further isolate such patients and prevent important conversations from occuring. Caralyst allows patients to find LGBTQ+ friendly providers and facilitates the conversations that must be had.