Growing up in a smaller suburb of Pittsburgh, I was never truly educated about the LGBTQ community in school or anywhere else.
Whether it be LGBTQ history or inclusive sex education, I have always been curious why there was not much education on these topics in school.
I am glad I’m at a place like Penn State — it’s far more advanced in LGBTQ education compared to my educational history in the past.
There are a variety of classes at Penn State on the LGBTQ community and its history. Additionally, there’s the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, which has a variety of resources for students.
However, when talking with any adviser or professor, no one has actually recommended any classes on this topic.
I didn’t know there were opportunities at Penn State to become educated until this year — this shows existing resources and educational materials should be more heavily advertised for the general student body.
More education could decrease the prejudice against LGBTQ people, because it would provide others a better insight into what life in the queer community is like.
There are a variety of anti-LGBTQ curriculum laws in certain U.S. states that prohibit the discussion of homosexuality and transgender identity in public schools.
To me, this is outdated and unnecessary. LGBTQ people are real and deserve to be heard, and prohibiting recognition is quite ignorant.
However, there are also some states like California that mandated LGBTQ inclusion into their curriculum, which is exciting.
But what about the other states and individual schools?
These laws are a big step toward more education about and for LGBTQ people.
More education and awareness can be obtained through social media and talking with members of the community.
Social media is an important part of educating yourself on this, but often the media poorly and stereotypically depicts LGBTQ people.
That is why I have continued to educate myself, but why is there a serious lack of curriculum in schools?
All I wanted in middle school and high school was to see this type of education. I wanted to know and understand more about the subject. I had to do my own research when it should be taught in schools in the first place.
While there has been some progress from years ago, I believe there needs to be more LGBTQ education not just at Penn State but the whole country.
I think there is a lack of education in youth about LGBTQ history, basic anatomy, healthy relationship skills and safe sex practices. And there is definitely more than just that — straight cisgender people have been the highlight of conversations forever.
Overall, I think sex education is a big part of finding one’s sexual identity. I had to inform myself about sexuality and gender because I was never given the proper education in school.
Everyone deserves the education they need to make healthy and informed decisions about their own personal relationships and other parts of their lives.
Additionally, all LGBTQ people need and deserve to learn in settings that are safe and healthy. This needs to be inclusive of their experiences, which most teachers and textbooks fail to do.
There needs to be more inclusive programs for gender identity and sexual orientation that are medically accurate and dispel the common stereotypes of behavior and identity.
Discrimination is a constant force and sadly will be for a long time. If there is more education in school curriculums, I believe there will be a better understanding of the LGBTQ community.