Understanding of the Lack of Representation of Queer Identities Within Sexual Health Curricula
Audrey Claire Daigneault ’21, Seattle, Washington
Majors: Psychology; Critical Identity Studies
Minor: Studio Art
Depending on the state, a student can start some form of sexual health education in public schools by the fifth grade. This curriculum will typically continue in some form until the end of high school, getting more complex and multifaceted and incorporating issues such as mental health, drug use/abuse, healthy relationships, STD/I, contraceptives, reproductive health, and, of course, physical acts of sex. There are many flaws in the sexual health world to pick away, but my project aims to touch on the lack of representation of queer identities in most of these curricula. Too often, sexual health curricula are invested in gender binaries and heteronormativity, and they are primarily intercourse-based–meaning that the focus is on how a man and woman have sex. This approach means that queer folks and their mental, relationship, and physical health and well-being are ignored. This puts tens of thousands of kids at risk in areas such as contracting STD/I, abusive relationships, and sexual assault. My project looks at the difference between curricula from city and rural high schools, and will then compare this to rates among queer communities. This study will result in taking statements from queer folks who have grown up in small towns about their own experiences and a handbook on how to have queer sex.