My little town is reopening in more ways than one. On Monday of this week, the day the city entered Phase 1 of reopening, New York City’s Health Department published a guidance document entitled “Safer Sex and COVID-19.” I am posting it below in its entirely because (1) it’s amazing, and (2) I have no idea whether other states (or countries) are doing anything similar. For instance, I highly doubt Alabama is following suit, since sex toys are illegal there. And something tells me all those conservative panty-sniffers in states where “abstinence-only” non-education is standard fare in public schools would start shooting their elected officials if they dared to publish anything so…so… reality-based.
But in order to appreciate just how good NYC’s safer sex guidance is, it is worth noting how gawdawful it is elsewhere. In case you are blissfully unaware of (or have blissfully forgotten) how disturbingly fucked-up the US is with regard to sex and sexuality, just consider a few facts. According to Guttmacher:
- only 17 states require sex education programs in public schools to be medically accurate.
- only 20 states (plus DC) require teaching information on contraception. (Uhh, seems to me if 30 states are not teaching students about contraception, then they really cannot call whatever it is they’re doing “sex education.” FFS.)
- only 3 states prohibit these programs from promoting religion. (!!!)
- at least 6 states require only negative information to be provided on homosexuality and/or positive emphasis on heterosexuality, including Alabama (I KNOW SHOCKER!), Arizona, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina and Texas. (W. T. F.)
- 10 states and DC require that abstinence be covered.
- 29 states require that abstinence be stressed.
This is a good analysis and debunking of the smugly touted “100% effectiveness rate” of abstinence as birth control. All you have to do is measure it by the same standards as other forms of contraception, i.e. rates of “perfect use” and “typical use.” (SPOILER ALERT! Epic fail!)
Since nearly 80% of states have been engaging in this educational malpractice for decades, perhaps that explains why STD rates are at record highs.
And that’s hardly the only damage abstinence miseducation causes:
According to a 2004 report prepared for House Democrats, language used in abstinence-based curricula often reinforces “gender stereotypes about female passivity and male aggressiveness” — attitudes that often correlate with harmful outcomes including domestic violence, the report notes.
Okay, one more – and this one’s personal:
- 36 states and DC allow parents the option to remove their child from instruction.
There are more jaw-dropping statistics and state-level details at that Guttmacher link, and of course none of this takes into account over a million kids homeschooled by conservative Christians. These benighted children are indoctrinated with sex-role stereotypes and abstinence-until-marriage, under penalty of eternal damnation and hellfire, right along with stories of Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark as explanations for the origins and diversity of life on Earth.
I could go on (and on and on…) but I think this paints enough of a picture of the status quo to contrast with NYC’s…different approach. Please enjoy this reality-based document, and feel free to forward the information and/or the link to anyone and everyone you think may benefit. Especially people in Alabama.