New research says sex education ignores gay and lesbian relationships

New research from Birmingham City and Sheffield Hallam universities say teachers always depict young people as straight.

Research released this week, suggests that sex education lessons in schools ignore gay, lesbian and bisexual relationships and in make some students feel “problematic”.

According to the Independent, one teacher who had been teaching sex and relationships lessons for eight years, told researchers: “In terms of the promotion of homosexuality and lesbianism, we don’t really get into all that.

“If they openly want to discuss homosexuality, I don’t think the classroom is the best way to do it.  It’s something that we say if you have concerns about we have the drop-in clinic with the school nurse.”

Another teacher commented that she would use “some really horrible quotations” to show how some people refer to gays and lesbians, explaining: “We look at them and we talk about why people might say things like that.” The researchers point out that this approach could single out young gay, bisexual and lesbian students, making them think they are “problematic”.

The same teacher added: “In early puberty… You can feel a very strong attraction to the same sex as well as the opposite sex.  It doesn’t mean that you are lesbian or whatever.”

Lead researcher Keeley Abbott said: “Our findings highlight a lack of understanding among teachers around what constitutes real inclusivity within the context of sex and relationships education.

“Lesbian, gay and bisexual students could be left vulnerable here with a lack of any sex education that is relevant to them.”

Other researchers from the project suggest that teachers should be using more general language like ‘partner’ so young LGB students aren’t excluded.

Last month, the Chair of the Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael, called for inclusive sex education in schools. Writing for PinkNews he said: “We recommended that Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education should be made compulsory in all schools and that compulsory guidance for schools should be fully updated, to ensure that PSHE is appropriately inclusive of information about same-sex relationships.”


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