"Young people deserve to be taught the information they need to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health. They deserve to learn about gender identity and sexual orientation, to create more acceptance and bust the stereotypes and stigma that the LGBTQ+ community faces. But, most importantly, they deserve the tools needed to build their futures."
“Why Am I Tempted?”
Providing comprehensive, medically accurate sex education wasn’t a priority in my small-town school district. The only sex education requirement we had was a course that lasted half of a quarter in 8th grade as part of our family and consumer science class.
It was an abstinence-based curriculum called “Why Am I Tempted” or WAIT. I don’t think they ever did answer that question. I learned that men should always walk on the outside part of the street to keep the woman safe, and how to plan wholesome activities for dates to stay occupied and avoid the temptation to have sex.
What I didn’t learn was about puberty and my reproductive system. We weren’t taught how a person becomes pregnant, let alone how to prevent pregnancy. Consent and healthy relationships were never discussed. And they didn’t cover anything about sexual orientation or gender identity.
It was (not surprisingly) very hetero- and cisnormative, which didn’t help me. I was struggling during that time as to why I wasn’t sexually attracted to others and what that meant. While all my peers were talking about their crushes, I was wondering what was wrong with me. I didn’t care what side the man walked on.
That’s why Nebraskans need comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education that’s taught across grade levels, and to support sex education providers like Planned Parenthood. The goal is to equip students with the information they need to make healthy, informed decisions that will impact their futures.
My Journey to Self-Discovery
Having learned very little at school, my mom taught me about things like consent, puberty, and reproductive health. But I largely navigated my way through the self-discovery of being asexual — a term I didn’t hear until I was 15 — through LGBTQ+ groups in my community, social media, and my LGBTQ+ friends.
When I first heard the term asexual, it was a relief to know there are other people like me with similar feelings about their sexuality. I learned that I’m not weird or alone, and it was nice to know there was a name for it. Maybe if comprehensive, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education was taught in school, I would have gone through that journey earlier instead of struggling to understand my sexuality.
Nebraskans value comprehensive sex education. Young people deserve to be taught the information they need to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health. They deserve to learn about gender identity and sexual orientation, to create more acceptance and bust the stereotypes and stigma that the LGBTQ+ community faces. But, most importantly, they deserve the tools needed to build their futures. And that’s why I stand for comprehensive sex education and with Planned Parenthood.Live your values proudly. Take the pledge.