Times have changed. Is sex ed ready?

The LGBTQ and #MeToo movements are shifting our cultural attitudes. Is what we teach in the classroom shifting, too?

Listen 7:46
(Illustration by Steve Teare)

(Illustration by Steve Teare)

Sex ed began as a military program during World War I as an attempt to quell outbreaks of syphilis and gonorrhea among the troops. It started popping up in school curricula not long after. For the most part, it was about preventing STDs, and unplanned pregnancies, and it mainly recommended abstinence. But, over time, ideas about what should be included (or not included) in these lessons have changed.

I graduated high school in 2011 — before marriage equality passed, and before the #MeToo movement. Since then, there’s been a greater acceptance of LGBTQ people and an emerging conversation about sexual assault and harassment. I was curious if this shift in culture was reflected in sex ed classes. So I hopped on a train and paid a visit to my old high school to find out.

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