US: Schools won’t teach children about lesbian sex and that’s hurting queer girls

When Hannah Harp took her 6th-grade sex education course in upstate New York, she learned about sex at its most traditional form—it was for reproduction, her teacher told her, and was supposed to involve a penis.

“Part of the problem for me wasn’t what’s left out but what was emphasized,” Harp said of her sex education experience, which was focused entirely on heterosexual relationships. “We were taught ‘Sex is about penetration and penetration only and if it isn’t about that, then it isn’t sex.’"

Harp is a queer woman, who, like many other queer women, wasn’t ever taught formally about how to have safe sex with another woman. According to a study out of the Journal of Adolescent Health that came out in December 2017, most queer girls don’t know they can get sexually transmitted infections from other girls, "because sex education is mostly designed for their straight peers."

And even the more progressive sex education programs focus on penetration to a fault. In some states, pre-teens are taught how to slide a condom over a phallic vegetable but don’t know dental dams exist, or why you should use one. 

"Sex education is very male-focused and hetero-centric," Cathy Sakimura, the deputy director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told Newsweek. "And that fails queer women in yet another way."             

Sakimura said sex education in the U.S. is inadequate for everyone—heterosexual men and women, queer men, and especially for transgender people. But the silence on any kind of sex that doesn’t involve male genitalia amplifies the systems' failures for queer women.

"The vast majority of sex education doesn’t address anything that directly relates to queer women in their same-sex relationships," Sakimura said. "Even the ones that aren’t abstinence-only are very hetero-centric." Read more via Newsweek

Access the study here