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Bisexual student: Sex ed classes left me believing lesbian sex wasn’t ‘real’

Gay-inclusive sex ed should be compulsory for all, says Student Pride’s Charlie Mathers

Bisexual student: Sex ed classes left me believing lesbian sex wasn’t ‘real’
Charlie Mathers thinks sex ed should be compulsory in all schools.

My sex education was basically a disaster.

Aged 11, it involved an oversimplified picture book. My teachers were awkward about it, which meant I was awkward about it too.

So my first same-sex experience involved a lot of uneducated fumbling on my part and me not being quite sure what to do. My partner did, but that didn’t stop my nervousness levels being through the roof.

Can lesbians have real sex?

That was around five years ago. And even now I can’t help but feel like I shouldn’t be getting up close and personal with other women, because what can we really do?

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been told that women can’t really have sex with each other.

Thank the lord, though, that the education had my back covered when it came to the first time I slept with a man.

Because all that matters, isn’t it? Remember Mean Girls: If you have sex, you’ll get pregnant or get chlamydia and die.

Wrong.

UK letting LGBTIs down on sex ed

LGBTI students are at even more of a risk than their straight counterparts. Why? Because they’re barely educated about the protection that is there for them. In fact, they may not be educated about sex at all.

They’re not taught how to safely get down and dirty with each other. That is awful. The whole point of sex education is to help keep us all safe, after all.

Unfortunately, the UK education system currently doesn’t cover this. In fact the British government has just decided not to make LGBTI-inclusive sex and relationships education compulsory.

Thousands of people all over the country are just as disappointed as I am by that irresponsible decision.

Sexual health charity The Terrence Higgins Trust’s End The Silence Report, explored the need for LGBTI inclusive sex ed. It found only 5% of young people were taught about LGBTI sex and relationships. But 97% of the students polled thought it should be.

Blocking sex ed for the sake of religious schools

One Conservative Member of Parliament voted against inclusive, compulsory sex ed because there was insufficient protection for religious schools that oppose homosexuality.

I am tolerant of those who follow the mainstream religions, of course. But I’m not tolerant of homophobia. For that MP religious freedom was more important than protecting people from the toxic shame homophobia creates.

A lot of young people start questioning their sexuality towards the end of primary school or in high school. The education system currently does nothing to help them.

Many young people are never told ‘hey there’s this jazzy thing where you can be attracted to men and women and it’s totally fine’. Nobody tells them ‘if you are not interested in having sex at all, you’re not weird, you’re just asexual’.

We’re not promoting homosexuality. It’s not some fancy club where you get a glitter shower on entry and unlimited access to Beyoncé’s albums. We just want to educate and to be educated.

And I have high hopes for exactly that. That is undoubtedly the only way any progress will actually be made.

Students teaching themselves

I am unapologetically an LGBTI activist. And part of my battle involves being an incredibly active committee member at National Student Pride. So I was absolutely ecstatic that our event this year focuses on sex education and the need for good sex and relationships education in schools.

Proper, inclusive sex ed can free people of the stress and mental health issues that can come from having to figure out your sexuality alone. They will no longer be alone. So let’s liberate our youth, and get down and jiggy with sex ed.

Charlie Mathers is press officer for National Student Pride. National Student Pride takes place 24 to 26 February at the University of Westminster and G-A-Y in London. Get your tickets here.

WATCH: GSN talks to the Student Pride team about how sex ed failed for them in the most cringe-making way:


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