A new sex eduction bill introduced in the US on Thursday would provide five year grants to programs rejecting gender stereotypes and embracing LGBT students.
The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, which was sponsored by Representative Barbara Lee of California, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, and 32 other Democrats, encourages a “comprehensive” approach to sex education in schools and universities.
The bill would require programs to emphasise emotional skills and the development of “healthy attitudes and values”, around a variety of issues such as body image, gender identity and sexual orientation.
Strict standards would be set by it to prevent the promotion of gender stereotypes, and deliberate withholding of information about HIV, reports the Hill.
The bill would ensure that programs were not “insensitive and unresponsive” to LGBT students.
Representative Lee praised the bill as a way to offer “young people the information they need . . . to live healthy lives.”
“Research has shown that programs which teach abstinence and contraception effectively delay the onset of sexual intercourse, reduce the number of sexual partners, and increase contraceptive use among teens,” she said in a statement.
“These programs also reduce unintended pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.”
This bill is expected to draw criticism from conservatives, particularly provisions which means those teaching it would be required to refer students interested to local clinics for more information about sexual and reproductive health.
It would also be required that certain programs would report information about their students’ sex lives to federal health officials, the data from which would be used alongside reports about student progress, to evaluate the programs.
If passed, the grants from the bill would go to state and local education agencies, non-profit organisations and public universities.