One of the most important factors of sex ed that is currently close to nonexistent in our current system is that for LGBT youth, as currently, only 48% of schools in the US teach about sexual identity and sexual orientation at all, let alone go into the depth required to keep this group of young people in The United States safe (1). In fact, three states even require that negative or wrong information be taught about LGBT people (4).
Of those LGBT students who have had sex before graduating from high school, about 40% of them practiced unsafe sex. Teaching safe sex is important for students of all sexual orientations, but it is particularly important for gay and bisexual men. According to the CDC, this same group makes up 19% of all HIV cases in 2010, and 72% of cases among young people. These young men are at a higher risk due to the lack of education on the matter (2). In a study by the CDC, 77% of men who have sex with men who tested positive for HIV did not believe they had it because of such a lack of prior knowledge (1). Similarly, education on methods for safe sex for women who have sex with women, since these methods can often be so different than those used for heterosexual sex. Lack of protection in these cases may lead to the spread of herpes.
“Abstinence until marriage” teachings (which is the approach in 19 states in the US) also exclude LGBT youth, in those states where same sex marriage is illegal (3). This alienates them. Since marriage may never be an option, perhaps abstinence shouldn’t be either, and they may proceed to practice unsafe sex, because other options are not taught.
One group that suffers disproportionately from lack of education in this are young bi and pansexual women. Statistics show that they have higher rates of STDs and pregnancy than their heterosexual counterparts. Not only are they more likely to fall victims to these negative effects of unsafe sex but they are also the group with the highest risk of sexual assault and violence (4). Not only would comprehensive education about their protection options reduce their risk of health problems, but an equal focus on understanding of their largely ignored sexualities and a focus on consent in sex ed would also reduce the violence they face.
Not only does the current curriculum fail to address safe sex practices for non-heterosexual students, but it also leads to the internalization of the belief that they do not exist, and that their identity is invalid. This has led to depression and anxiety in these teens. Research shows that rates of major depression, general anxiety disorder and substance abuse are high in LGBTQ youth (1). Being taught about how to handle problems relevant to themselves, or even being taught that they exist could reduce some of the mental strain involved in being a society that rejects them.