Sunday, December 18, 2005

Abstinence only sex-ed programs are anti-gay

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A congressional report released last year found misconceptions and falsehoods in 11 of the 13 most commonly used abstinence-only curricula. One program taught students that HIV can be transmitted through tears and sweat. Other students were taught that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, and that half of gay male teenagers in the U.S. have tested positive for HIV.
The text above is from an article published by Under President Bush's leadership to guide America to being a more 'moral' (a.k.a. code word for radical, religious right do it our way or no way ideology) country, abstinence only education has been more highly encouraged by the government and many schools are adopting these types of programs. My problem with this is not the program itself. I'm all for abstinence. I may not practice abstinence myself but there is no escaping the truth: it is the only, 100% full-proof way of not getting pregnant or receiving an STI. However, as a side note from my original intent in doing this post: The fact that teens are teens should not be ignored. It is a simple fact that some (well, many) teens will engage in sex adn they should be given the knowledge and education to help them make proper, health-conscious (and possibly life-saving) decisions. My problem with these abstinence only programs is very clear in the article text I quoted above... they are, for the most part, anti-gay. I would bet that many of these programs stem from some of Bush's 'faith-based initiatives' which have somehow managed to eek themselves into America's public school system. These programs are not only teaching students wrong information concerning gay teens, specifically gay males, they are also helping to create and sustain long-held prejudices and biases against and myths about gays. Those prejudices, biases, and myths all lead to discrimination, which leads to hate and bigotry. In the end, everyone loses... the hated become second-class citizens and the haters suffer from an often irreparable learned ignorance. It outrages me that our government would allow students to be taught things which are so blatantly wrong and prejudiced. The government... that is the governments of the states and commonwealths as well as the federal government needs to step up and ensure that students are being taught correct information and that they are not being spoon-fed prejudice, bias or myths which will only serve to create more problems than these abstinence only program supposedly seek to prevent (by the way, the same article points out that the abstinence only programs are failing to stop teens from having sex). Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,


Sadly, our government is all about teaching us incorrect information about the world. It is in their best interest to present cultures other than their own "mainstream" as a threat and a source of fear. As you pointed out, this leads to hatred and discrimination. Just look at how the French were treated after they refused to support the Bush War in Iraq!

As for abstinence only, you are right, condoms do break and so abstinence is the only 100% proven certain method to prevent illness or pregnancy. On the other hand, I have written before that teaching our kids that it is the only means to protect oneself is like saying that the only way to remove a stain from a shirt is with scissors!

There are degress of risk, depending upon behavior, and we would need to talk about behavior to explain the degrees of risk. I am all for that, but wonder if the average American is ready too. I wish they were...the risk of getting HIV is too great to be stupid about it!

Thanks again, Matt, for bringing good information to the forefront.