As the parent of an LGBT child, you may not want to leave sex education to your child’s middle or high school. In San Diego, parents picket sex education at their schools because they don’t find mention of anal sex, masturbation appropriate for middle schoolers. In conservative Orange County, California, parents can withdraw consent for the whole sex education curriculum or for instruction on HIV and STI prevention. However, what they cannot do is specifically withdraw their consent for class instruction deemed non-discriminatory on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the California Healthy Youth Act in 2015.
In seven other states, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas, local or state education laws that expressly forbid teachers of health/sexuality education from discussing LGBT people or topics. These laws are called “no promo homo.” Some laws even require that teachers actively portray LGB people in a negative or an inaccurate way, according to GLSEN, Gay, Lesbian, Education Network.
As LGBT-inclusive curriculums are few, and erratic at best, it’s better for parents to be the sex ed. teachers. A school or doctor can’t impart values about sexual relationships as a parent can. An LGBT student may be embarrassed to ask questions about sexual health in school for fear he will be singled out and harassed.
While you may be uncomfortable discussing sexual practices, birth control, sexual diseases, among other concerns, it will make a favorable impression on your LGBT child. Your home is not a semester-only class. Do your LGBT homework so you can deliver the material in your home. It’s ok to admit you’re embarrassed at first, but the curriculum is yours, and you will know how it’s delivered.
Knowledge is empowering. Contrary to beliefs, frank instruction does not lead to sexual promiscuity.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.