Welcome to Analyze This, where I put all of the big things I learned through this research into a few sentences and paragraphs. Did you know sex education sucks and the Internet rules, despite the drawbacks? Now you do. So where do we go from here?
Queering sex education is a no-brainer, considering anyone, gay, straight, or anything in-between, can understand the utter helpfulness of being told how to have sex, how to respect yourself sexually, how to protect yourself sexually, and how to seek out sex and healthy relationships. But you know what would be even better? The queering of the world.
Coming out, for me, was an experience I described on Autostraddle recently as finally knowing “the grass was green, the sky was blue.” The world kind of clicks when you realize you’re gay. It’s like all those lame cartoons where the lightbulb goes off on top of your head. “Oh my holy God I’m gay. That’s what it is.” It’s relieving and terrifying, all at the same time.
For many people, coming out can be painful, negative, terrifying, and result in distance between them and their loved ones. That isn’t okay. We live in a world where gay people exist in vibrant communities, but still face the threat of harassment, discrimination, violence, and hate in public and in private space. Homophobia is rampant and can no longer be apologized for, justified, and made normal through institutions like schools, municipalities, and all of the organizations which comprise our government. Homophobia has to end.
I sincerely see queering sex education as a step toward a more affirming and accepting culture here in the United States, and perhaps even around the globe. When students discuss sex and only heterosexual relationships are normalized in the discussion, it automatically implies that queer relationships are invalid, unhealthy, or bad. Many times, that lesson is explicit. By removing that context, we create a space in which to discuss the one and only real difference between gay people and straight people: how we have sex.
Queer sex has often been demonized, especially relations between two men. Heterosexual people have taken it upon themselves to blame homosexuality for HIV/AIDS, to portray gay men as “recruiters” and “pedophiles,” and to assert that we queers wanna do it with animals. (Surprise! We don’t.) They complain about the “infringments” we make on straight marriage and straight relationships, demand we be given no “special rights” like equal access and the ability to live free of death threats and violence, and get up in arms when we teach their children gay people are not evil. Quite frankly, queering sex education gives them a good foot in the mouth. By instilling the idea in young people – who are already engaging many times in same-sex activity – that queer sexual conduct is normal, we destroy homophobia before it festers, and challenge the long-held assumptions we have been furthering with silence.
Queering sex education could queer the world through a simple process in which we removed ignorance from a classroom setting. (Where, by the way, it does not belong.) We normalize queer people and their lives by talking about their history, and we normalize the sexualities that differentiate queer people from heterosexual people when we regard them as equals in sex education.
The obvious benefits here are the end of stabbings and shootings happening to gay people, the end of teen suicides because of gay-shaming, the end of destruction and homophobia in our neighborhoods, the end of invisibility. But we also enable those who are questioning to stop feeling frustrated and to stop aching to be someone else. We are able, then, to empower more Americans to work hard and make something of themselves – because we empower them to live long enough to do so. We protect them from sexual harm and disease. We give them a space to learn more about what a healthy relationship between two people of the same sex looks like. And we thus normalize healthy relationships, safe sex, and open communication about sex on a larger scale.
A queer world is one in which we are all talking. You in?
Images always found innocently via Tumblr. Please let me know if it’s yours!