We Are Human Too

Changes need to be made to help LGBTQ+ teens in school

Austin Rudel, Photography Director

     Most teens dread the sex ed unit in heath. Being LGBTQ+ makes that fear even more difficult. Oregon’s state standards for LGBTQ+ Sex-Ed are quite vague.  According to the Oregon Health Education Performance Indicator Chart, teachers have to teach “sexual decision making, medically accurate inclusive reproductive anatomy and physiology, sexual response cycle and definitions of sexual activity, signs an symptoms of pregnancy.” The standards have to be taught in a way that is inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community, but what does that actually look like in the classroom? And how do teachers address the topic when even mentioning it may put their job at stake? In practice, the state standards that address LGBTQ+ sexual education are only lightly taught, if at all. An LGBTQ+ student should be provided comparable education regarding safe sex and the risks. 

    West is using The Safe Zone Project , a free online resource providing curriculum, activities, and other resources for educators (sexuality, gender, and LGBTQ+ education sessions). One of the actives is the “genderbread person”. The goal of this activity is to help individuals better understand the concepts of gender identity, expression, and sex. After reviewing The Safe Zone it is clear that the curriculum is full of good information. It is simple but really efficient and gets the base information out.  The Safe Zone has a long list of LGBTQ+ words with definitions. It also has teaching plans, which are short and simple.

     In May of 2022, Florida passed a bill banning LGBTQ+ discussion. This bans instruction or classroom discussion about LGBTQ+ issues for kindergarten through third grade. Also it empowers parents to sue the school district over teachings they don’t like. The “don’t say gay” bill has caused many LGBTQ+ members to feel unsafe and unwanted. This has made it hard for teachers to teach and help educate students.  No one in the world should have to sit in silence. We have to stand together to fight for what’s right, never knowing what will happen next. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community is not a bad thing. 

      People that are in the  LGBTQ+ community are always judged. People have the constant thought that being different  is a bad thing, but in reality it makes you one of a kind. If everyone was the same, life would never be interesting. LGBTQ+ community members are told that they have made a choice to be a part, but in reality you’re born with it. In high school being part of the LGBTQ community separates you from a lot of people, when being separated from others can make you depressed and lonely. Everyone in this world is equal no matter what, we’re all human. 

      For some LGBTQ + community members, not having equal rights is a big problem to them. Therefore they have to fight for their rights. There’s always constant problems happening, but we can’t all fix them all at once. We just have to take them one day at a time. Some problems might take years to fix, but in that time we can learn lessons about who we truly are and what we believe in. If you believe in yourself enough, you can push past the problems in society. If you’re strong enough, you won’t care what people think and will only care about what you think.

      LGBTQ+ Sex Ed is just one of our world problems. The world is full of right and wrong, but that doesn’t stop us from fixing them. As a society, we have to come together to fix our problems, not letting the little problems sit and never be talked about. All voices have to be spoken for. We need time to look back at our past and make changes for the future so we can set an example for the others ahead of us. We need to stand together and stand up for what’s right.