There is a new online resource for gay and lesbian teens. Answer, a national sex education organization based at Rutgers University in New Jersey, launched the information portal this week.
The organization is expanding its award-winning teen website Sexetc.org.
The site will offer the most up-to-date resources on issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer teens.
Elizabeth Schroeder is with Answer. She said often the only discussion relating to LGBTQ paints a negative picture. She said this website aims to debunk the myths.
Schroeder also said the site will be a valuable source for health and relationship education.
“Education in general is often seen in the context of a heterosexual world. So a lot of times what educators will do is they’ll have what we call ‘gay day,’ ” she said. “So there’s one day, maybe in June when it’s Pride Month that they’ll talk about LGBTQ issues, but then every other class session will talk about heterosexual issues.”
The site also reaches out to heterosexual allies and asks them to lend support Schroeder said there are not many resources to help people become allies. Sexetc.org features a guide.
The site focuses on peer-to-peer education. It’s staffed primarily by teens trained to give relevant and age-appropriate information. The site’s founders say guidance from a peer resonates more than advice from an expert
High school student Derek Demeri has been a staff writer since August. He said the website is a good for those desiring some confidentiality.
“Let’s say they’re straight and they’re just questioning, ‘I’m not sure if I really am straight or not.’ They might still feel uncomfortable talking to someone who loves them dearly,” he said” “So going to a website like this where they have answers to questions like that — it gives them a sense of security in, unfortunately, a world that doesn’t exactly have it.”
Rutgers University made headlines when a student Tyler Clementi took his own life after being outed by classmates. Schroeder said while Answer has always reached out the LGBTQ youth, now is a time much more needs to be done.