Further to LGBT+ History Month, I’m giving a repeat airing to this post from my now defunct blog, with the presentation I talk about at the end to come next week. Because of the nature of this blog, it will likely revolve around trans identities and how that affects sexuality, so watch this space.
So, further to my little rant on twitter earlier (edit: read last year), here is a space to get a little more in depth on what I was talking about. I will try and mark my sources where possible.
(Please note I can only talk for the Scottish education system, as that is the system I came through. It may vary elsewhere.)
I left school in 2007, which may as well have been a lifetime ago, given how much the new Curriculum for Excellence has changed things up. Given also that same-sex marriage is now a fully legal thing in Scotland, there have been steps forward in terms of sex education. But it still feels like there needs to be more.
When I was in school, probably 3rd and 4th year, so 2003-5, sex ed, whilst mentioning LGBT+ individuals in passing, was still very much focused on cishet vanilla sex.
Some definitions – cishet: cisgender heterosexual. Someone who’s gender identity aligns with their physical gender, and is attracted to people of the opposite gender. This accounts for a large majority of the population.
Vanilla sex: straight forward sex. No kinks, no BDSM or the like, just mutual masturbation and vaginal penetration. It is important to note at this point that most definitions of vanilla sex do not include anal play.
So far, not too much wrong with the curriculum then. It deals with sex that the majority of the population will have, and at a level that teenagers will still find experimental, as it is the first time they have had sex. And that’s fine; I am not advocating for full BDSM workshops in schools, that would be ridiculous and likely dangerous. No, I’m calling more inclusivity.
As I said above, LGBT+ individuals were mentioned in passing. And by that I mean it was mentioned that some people are gay, some lesbian, some bisexual, and then we moved on to the pregnancy stuff. That was it. No real mention of trans people either, as far as they were concerned non-binary gender identities didn’t exist, and it was only by doing our own research that my best mate and I were able to define my sexual identity as Pansexual.
Given the rising visibility of those of us outside the majority gender and sexual identities, it is a little sad that we aren’t mentioned more in these classes. That sexual practices beyond vaginal penetration aren’t mentioned. And again I am not saying that teens need an in-depth lecture on anal, but they do need to know the safety precautions. Teens will experiment, I hope they do, so they can find out what they like and don’t like, and they need to be able to do it safely.
They are trying: there is a draft copy of an updated sex ed curriculum available here: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0043/00434767.pdf
The last update on the draft was 2014 though, and there is no info available as to whether this has been implemented in schools. It is something I am going to dig into, and hopefully I will be able to come up with some answers.
I plan at some point to put together a mock lesson plan for a 45 minute presentation on queer identities and sexual practices. Not that I think anyone would actually use it, but because I think it may be useful in highlighting just what is missing from the current system. Watch this space.