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J Sex Med. 2019 Oct 1. pii: S1743-6095(19)31372-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.08.009. [Epub ahead of print]

Sex Education for Transgender and Non-Binary Youth: Previous Experiences and Recommended Content.

Author information

1
University of Washington, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Seattle, WA, USA. Electronic address: samantha.haley@seattlechildrens.org.
2
University of Washington, Department of Epidemiology, Seattle, WA, USA.
3
University of California Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
4
Seattle Children's Research Institute, Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle, WA, USA.
5
University of Washington, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Children's Research Institute, Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle, WA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Transgender and non-binary (TNB) youth face disparities in sexual health risks compared with cisgender peers. Comprehensive sex education programs have the potential to result in delayed sexual debut, increased condom and contraceptive use, and reduced sexual risk-taking; however, little research has explored the specific sex education needs of TNB youth.

AIM:

To use insights from TNB youth, parents of TNB youth, and healthcare affiliates to understand deficits in sex education experienced by TNB youth, and to elicit recommended content for a comprehensive and trans-inclusive sex education curriculum.

METHODS:

We conducted 21 in-depth interviews with non-minor TNB youth (n = 11) and with parents (n = 5) and healthcare affiliates (n = 5) of TNB youth recruited from Seattle Children's Gender Clinic and local TNB community listerv readerships. Data was analyzed using theoretical thematic analysis.

OUTCOMES:

Participants described prior sex education experiences and content needs of TNB youth.

RESULTS:

Participants described 5 key sources where TNB youth received sexual health information: school curricula, medical practitioners, peers, romantic partners, and online media. Inapplicability of school curricula and variable interactions with medical practitioners led youth to favor the latter sources. 8 content areas were recommended as important in sex education for TNB youth: puberty-related gender dysphoria, non-medical gender-affirming interventions, medical gender-affirming interventions, consent and relationships, sex and desire, sexually transmitted infection prevention, fertility and contraception, and healthcare access.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:

Dependence on potentially inaccurate sex education sources leaves TNB youth vulnerable to negative outcomes, including sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, unsanitary/unsafe sex toy use, and shame about their body or sexual desires.

STRENGTHS & LIMITATIONS:

Strengths included capturing perspectives of an underserved population using open-ended interview questions, which allowed topics of greatest importance to participants to arise organically. Limitations included a sample size of 21 participants, and racial and geographic homogeneity of youth and parent participants. Only 1 author identifies as TNB. One-on-one interview methods may have omitted participants who would otherwise have been willing to share their perspective in a more impersonal format.

CONCLUSION:

This study demonstrates that TNB youth have unique sex education needs that are not well covered in most sexual health curricula. Recommended content for this population includes standard sex education topics that require trans-inclusive framing (eg, contraception), topics specific to TNB youth (eg, gender-affirming medical interventions), and topics absent from standard curricula that warrant universal teaching (eg, information on consent as it relates to sex acts aside from penile-vaginal sex). Haley SG, Tordoff DM, Kantor AZ, et al. Sex Education for Transgender and Non-Binary Youth: Previous Experiences and Recommended Content. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescent; Curriculum; Gender Dysphoria; Sex Education; Sexual Health; Transgender Persons

PMID:
31585806
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.08.009
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