LGBT teens in California to be given books on ‘how to have safe sex’

Four teenage boys sitting on a wall

Californian high schools could teach LGBT+ students about having safe sex and masturbation under new proposals.

The State Board of Education will convene on Wednesday (May 8) to consider a new framework for health education which includes new guidance on gender and sexuality.

Under the proposals, children aged 5 could be taught about gender identity and trans issues.

Teenagers in middle school would be encouraged to discuss masturbation, while high schoolers would be given books featuring advice on having safe anal sex.

The framework does not mandate any specific topics, but rather supports teachers in addressing them.

“Too often LGBTQ students in particular don’t receive information during sex education that teaches them about healthy practices,” Samuel Garret-Pate, communications director for Equality California, told the Associated Press.

Parents criticise LGBT sex education

Predictably, the proposals have been met with criticism from some parents.

“LGBTQ students don’t receive sex education that teaches them about healthy practices.”

—Samuel Garret-Pate

“This stuff should be taught at home,” Stephanie Yates, a mother of three who started a Facebook group to protest the changes, told AP.

“It’s not the birds and the bees. It’s not biological anymore. It’s not sex ed. It’s sexuality education.”

Supporters of the changes argue that this is precisely the point.

“There is nothing obscene about providing accurate and comprehensive information to students at an age-appropriate level about how to have safe sex,” said Garret-Pate, adding that many parents are in favour of the new framework.

Californian schools could recommend anal sex book

Much of the outrage has focused on a list of recommended reading which includes S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties.

The book includes descriptions of anal sex, bondage and other sexual activity.

“It’s an award-winning book that speaks to all of the different types of relationships that our students are engaging in,” Stephanie Gregson, director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division at the California Department of Education, told AP.

LGBT-inclusive sex education has been enshrined in Californian law since 2016, when a bill called the Healthy Youth Act came into effect.

And in November 2017, the state became the first in the US to approve LGBT-inclusive history books for young students.