Urgent: Act Now to Save California’s Inclusive Sex Ed — Comments Due by June 29

Jun 27, 2017

The California Department of Education is in the process of updating the Health Framework, which provides the guidelines for Health and Sexuality education in all public schools throughout the state. In 2015, the California legislature passed the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA); the curriculum includes material on Sexual orientation and Gender identity and has been in place since 2016.  The CHYA is not curriculum, but mandates health and sex ed curriculum that includes gender identity and sexual orientation.

But right now this curriculum is under attack. Anti-LGBT groups are targeting California’s school Framework Committee, urging them to eliminate or water-down material that acknowledges and affirms gender and sexual diversity. These changes could undermine anti-bullying materials that helps make schools safer for students, including gender-diverse children and youth.

We must let the Framework Committee know that we support an inclusive approach to health and sexual education, and urge them to resist these attempts to water down the state’s curriculum.

Please email the Framework Committee today at [email protected] – the deadline for public comments is this Friday, June 29!

A letter submitted for public comment by one supporter of the CHYA curriculum is below as a sample. Your personal stories about why inclusive health education is important for our young people make the most effective comments.

Read more about the Framework Committee here.

Read more from Salon.com about the attacks on California’s Healthy Youth Act here.

Sample comment

am a parent of [number of children] in California public schools in [city].  I support the LGBTQ inclusive health framework.

My oldest child, CL, is Transgender and completed the health and sex ed program in our district before the adoption of the CHYA.  Their experience shows that inclusive curricula is critical for our students. CL often explains that if their health curriculum in elementary school had included information about gender identity, it would have made it easier for them to understand their own identity.  More importantly, inclusive curriculum would have given peers information about gender identity that would have resulted in more understanding and less bullying and harassment.

As CL progressed to the health curriculum in junior high, they came home the day the instruction was finished and asked me what sex meant for them because the content of the instruction did not address areas relevant to LGBTQ students.  No student should leave health or sex ed class feeling as if their own experiences are not reflected. Health and sex ed should address issues critical to the health of all of our young people including LGBTQ students.

In high school, CL once again participated in a sex ed class that was not inclusive and had to deliberately ask questions and raise topics that pertained to LGBTQ students. The teacher was not always prepared with information or answers to the questions CL raised.

California law (SB 179) recognizes Non-binary gender identities and allows parents to designate this on a child’s birth certificate.  Young children identify as non-binary and Intersex. California law requires legal recognition of these identities. All of the Health Framework content should conform to California law.  Segregating students by binary gender in health and sex ed class conflicts with California law. The Framework should clearly state that health and sex ed classes should NOT be segregated by gender in any grade level.  Additionally, all language should be inclusive even prior to fifth grade. Students are entering our school system in kindergarten as non-binary and intersex. These students deserve to feel included from day one.

It is critical that districts come into compliance with CHYA and that our health framework reflects this important inclusive content.  Please do not let the students in California suffer because of the ignorance and bigotry of a few loud voices. The health of all of our students depends on it.

Thank you.

[name, address or city]