This article provides the rationale and supporting evidence for comprehensive, LGBT-inclusive sexual education, specifically advocating for the passage of the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act introduced in 2013 by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and the late Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). This legislation is designed to address the widely varied, inconsistent, and often medically inaccurate laws and sexual education curricula across states.
The author argues that comprehensive, LGBT-inclusive sexual education is critical for LGBT youth who disproportionately experience negative sexual health outcomes. States overwhelmingly utilize curricula that are not LGBTQ-inclusive, many of which exclude or even promote active prejudice against LGBT youth. Such sexual education programs contribute to a hostile school environment. As a result, many LGBT youth experience academic difficulties, mental health and/or substance abuse issues, and bullying. LGBT youth are significantly more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, as well. The author concludes that the passage of the Real Education for Health Youth Act is a key step in improving health outcomes for LGBT youth and building safe school environments.