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Education

Democrat tearfully begs lawmakers to give children LGBT-inclusive education after his own kid came out. He was shot down instantly

Lily Wakefield September 14, 2020
Texas LGBT+ sex education

Texas middle schools are only required to teach abstinence as birth control in health classes. (Envato)

The Texas State Board of Education has refused to adopt a new LGBT-inclusive curriculum, despite a lawmaker sharing his child’s struggle with their own identity.

The Republican-dominated board rejected proposals for any students to even be required to learn the definitions of gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as a proposal to teach middle-schoolers about consent.

Ruben Cortez, a Democrat from Brownsville, made the suggestion at a board meeting, suggesting that middle and high school students should learn “the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity”.

He said tearfully: “One of my children this summer came out to us and the fact that she had to bottle that in for years thinking that we wouldn’t accept her.

“It’s difficult to imagine what other students who don’t live in a tolerant house would go through if we don’t insert language like this to help our students.”

However, the board shot down his proposal, insisting that it should be up to individual Texas school districts whether they even mention LGBT+ people in sex education classes.

Lawmakers did however give preliminary approval to a new policy on teaching children about birth control methods other than abstinence, marking the first time that the board has attempted to update its minimum requirements for health sex education since 1997.

While currently high school health classes in Texas must teach their students about birth control other than abstinence, the course is completely optional. In middle schools, where children must take health classes, abstinence is the only form of birth control that children are required to learn about.

According to the Texas Tribune, the board voted for a policy which would require seventh and eighth grade students to “analyse the effectiveness and the risks and failure rates … of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods in the prevention of STDs, STIs and pregnancy”.

However, they will still learn about the “importance” of abstinence until marriage.

Abstinence-only education has been linked to Texas having one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the United States.

More: abstinence, lgbt sex education, Texas

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