Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2018

Thesis Advisor(s)

Ryan Watson

Honors Major

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Gender and Sexuality | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies


Objective:To assess the experiences of LGBTQ+ students in school-based sexuality education and compare responses of students from states with inclusive (Oregon and California) and non-inclusive (Alabama and Texas) sex education policies.

Participants:669 LGBTQ+ students between 13-17 years of age.

Main Outcome Measures:Student write-in responses about the inclusion of queer sexual orientations and gender identity topics in their school-based sex education.

Analysis:LGBTQ+ student write-in responses about their experiences in sex education were reviewed for themes using qualitative methods, and themes were compared across states.

Results:The majority of LGBTQ+ students living in Alabama and Texas report receiving non-inclusive and discriminatory sex education. In contrast, LGBTQ+ students living in Oregon and California report that they were not outwardly discriminated against; however, they were still not provided adequate, relevant information in their sex education classes.

Conclusions and Implications:Inclusive state-level sex education policies can create a safer classroom environment for LGBTQ+ students, but these policies are still not enough. Policies must be enforced, and teachers must be trained in how to create an inclusive and informative sex education curriculum for allstudents. In order to learn how to have safe sex, LGBTQ+ students need sex education that is relevant to their concerns and meets their needs.