Lucky my church provided inclusive and respectful sex education, because my high school did not.
I was lucky. My Unitarian Universalist Church offered Our Whole Lives, a sexuality education program that taught me that my queerness was a gift and let me hear narratives of LGBT+ adults. It taught me about consent and self esteem and dating and how to respect other people's boundaries. It taught me not to be afraid of my body. We learned about different options for protection. We learned about STIs and pregnancy in a way that didn't also communicate that all sex was bad and dangerous. OWL shared information that young people often report having more fulfilling relationships when they wait to have sex but also let us know that it was our choice and helped us think through how we'd know when we were ready. This was in sharp contrast to the sex ed in my public high school that used a fear based curriculum trying to convince us that pregnancy and STIs were awful while providing very little useful, factual information. Most people have sex in their lifetimes. OWL provided me with the skills that I needed to navigate consent, desire and sexual health concerns throughout my life. My public high school's curriculum seemed at best, highly unrealistic imparting no useful information to help make decisions or have consent whenever I did decide to have sex. There are versions of OWL that are taught in public schools with any faith component removed. I think having a curriculum that is at a minimum fact based and that engages with what young people need to know to have consent-based, safe and fulfilling relationships their whole lives is incredibly important.
Leave a Reply.