LGBT Students Exist: Why Can’t Our Education System See?

LGBT Students Exist: Why Can’t Our Education System See?

Jennie Waddell, Staff Writer

Contrary to all the progress we’ve made in terms of LGBT+ rights, our schooling system continues to ignore or condemn the existence of students that fall under the LGBT+ spectrum. Although I can comfortably label myself as a lesbian today, I grew up experiencing inner conflict, feeling like something was wrong with me for the longest time of my life. I felt like I was living in a world that didn’t want people like me in this heteronormative society, which is particularly reinforced within our education system.

All students are automatically assumed to be heteroseuxal, hence why sex education primarily serves as a warning to teens about pregnancy. Having to take notes in a class that didn’t apply to me was a waste of my time, and only made me feel like I was expected to conform to what my school expected me to be. Treating homosexuality as something that isn’t important enough to talk about is what leads to internalized homophobia and self-hatred in LGBT+ individuals, especially within LGBT+youth. These negative thoughts can potentially harm the mental health of LGBT+ people, as according to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), thirty to sixty percent of LGBT+ individuals are most likely going to experience depression and/or anxiety at some point in their lives.  

Why is it that students across the country are required to learn about practicing safe heterosexual sex, but I’m expected to do my own research? While some may argue that the information can be found at the “convenience” of the internet, how much of that online information can be trusted? Students should not have to suffer the consequences of their school’s inadequacy to teach. 

As shown by our normal sexual education system, teens of all sexualities continue to have sex, no matter how much abstinence is preached. Just as Eve gave into curiosity and bit the apple, you cannot prevent every hormonal teen from having sex. What you can do is advise them on the importance of consent and safe sex, so that they won’t have to suffer the rest of their lives over a mistake that stemmed from ignorance.

The push for LGBT+ rights shouldn’t end just because same-sex marriage is legalized in every state. “No promo homo” laws continue to exist in six states in the US, requiring teachers to discuss LGBT+ topics in a negative light or not touch upon them at all. How can the United States claim to be a democracy when we discriminate against our own people and refuse to listen to their concerns? The United States can’t assert to be a model for the rest of the world when we fail to treat all students equally. 

 

Barrica, Andrea  

Opinion | How to Make Sex More Dangerous The New York Times, 11 Mar. 2019

Brenner, Brad 

Understanding Anxiety and Depression for LGBTQ People Anxiety and Depression Association of America, n.d.

Wilgoren, Jodi

Abstinence Is Focus of US Sex Education The New York Times, 15 Dec. 1999