It's time for "The Talk."
It's time for "The Talk."
For decades, Texas has given public school students disinformation — or no information at all — when it comes to sex education and their health.
It’s time to demand better.
I did not receive a sex ed class in HS. My only sex ed experience came from a discussion with the coach in the boys' locker room with all the other boys in my 6th grade class. After the discussion, we received a stick of deodorant and proceeded with our warm up routine.
A paper was sent home with students when I was in 5th grade. It was a permission slip asking parents if they would allow their children to learn about sex-ed. I was excited. My mom signed "yes". Yet the class was never given. Maybe not enough parents signed off. Middle school came, I thought maybe then I'd get sex-ed. Nothing. I thought "Maybe in health class?" but no, nothing there either. Google ended up being my sex-ed.
I got health class both in middle school and high school, but we weren't taught proper body parts or how to understand when things were wrong. At seventeen, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and a softball sized cyst. I had to learn about my body from a scary doctor who was going to have to operate on my body. I would potentially lose an ovary. We weren't taught in public school how to identify something wrong or that it's okay to go to the OB/GYN without being shamed.
As a senior in high school, in a health class, I was told by a teacher (who also worked as a college professor) that it is impossible to get pregnant by rape. Therefore, pregnant rape victims must not have been "actually raped".
I don't have any memory of sex education all throughout high school. I never saw anyone from school tell us about having sex or using condoms. Instead, I learned through experience but even more so through movies. In 5th grade, my school counselor got all the girls in the P.E. class to talk about wearing pads and having our menstrual cycle. To end the class, we watched...Mean Girls. That is the closest thing I ever got to sex ed.
My main concern as a young queer mexican-american girl was that same-sex relationships were never mentioned. If it was mentioned, it was taboo and discouraged. It made me feel invisible. I didn't know any of the risk in girl-girl relationships. I didn't know what birth control was or that it even existed.
During my university orientation there was a "sexual safety" workshop. We talked about a man committing sexual assault on a woman, than proceeded to blame the woman for going out at night and wearing "slutty" clothing. We were told the woman should have just gone to the police, INSTEAD of teaching men that rape is bad, horrifying, and unacceptable. And this was with a public university.