Campus Reform | Profs argue that LGBTQ-inclusive sex education should begin early, before ‘cisnormative values' become 'more deeply ingrained’

Profs argue that LGBTQ-inclusive sex education should begin early, before ‘cisnormative values' become 'more deeply ingrained’

Two Montclair State University professors say that “LGBTQ-inclusive” sex education should begin in elementary school.

Their literature review concludes that the early grades may be the best time to introduce sexual orientation, gender equality, and social justice “before hetero- and cisnormative values and assumptions become more deeply ingrained.”

Two researchers at Montclair State University claim that “LGBTQ-inclusive” sex education should begin in elementary school.

Eva Goldfarb and Lisa Lieberman of Montclair State University examined studies on sexual education ranging from grade school to twelfth grade. They found that “substantial evidence supports sex education beginning in elementary school, that is scaffolded and of longer duration, as well as LGBTQ-inclusive education across the school curriculum and a social justice approach to healthy sexuality.”

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The researchers examined several studies that involved preschool classrooms. According to the researchers, one indicates that “young children are, in fact, quite capable of understanding and discussing issues related to gender diversity, including gender expectations, gender nonconformity, and gender-based oppression.”

Another shows that “4-year-olds expressed an inclusive understanding of marriage and a social justice stance on LGBTQ rights.”

After their review of 218 scholarly articles, the researchers concluded that there exists “substantial evidence that sexuality education is most effective when begun early and before sexual activity begins.”

“This review suggests that not only are younger children able to discuss sexuality-related issues but that the early grades may, in fact, be the best time to introduce topics related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, gender equality, and social justice related to the LGBTQ community before hetero- and cisnormative values and assumptions become more deeply ingrained and less mutable,” said the study’s conclusion.

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Likewise, the authors found evidence that beginning sexuality education early would promote “a more accepting and welcoming environment for sexual minority youth.”

They also suggest additional research on “expanding social justice pedagogy within the sex education curriculum beyond the topics of gender and sexual orientation.”

Campus Reform reached out to Goldfarb and Lieberman for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft