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3. SAFER SEX

Biphobic
Homophobic
Sexist
Transphobic

Q1 I am a lesbian. During a lesson on safer sex I asked my teacher what I should do to protect myself and she said I should make sure that I “really trust the girl before going all the way.” Is such a response acceptable or adequate?

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Q2 I am keen to start taking testosterone as soon as possible. We have been discussing birth control pills in school but what effect might the pill have on my transition and will it prevent me becoming pregnant if I have sex with a man? 

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Q3 I am bisexual and I have only had sex with boys. My teacher makes sure that she includes references to lesbian and gay sex in our safer sex lessons. Are there specific things I should be aware of however that might be different for bisexuals? I am too embarrassed to ask.

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A1

No it is not. Safer sex lessons are intended to meet the needs of all pupils. This includes lesbians.

  1. Under The School Inspections Act [1996] Ofsted is required to examine how far the education your school offers meets the needs of all of its pupils. This includes sex education. If you feel your needs are not being met point this out, anonymously if need be.

  2. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) you should be protected from any activities that could harm your development (Article 36). Arguably you may have a case if you said that such advice failed to give you adequate sex education and posed a real risk to your (sexual) health.

  3. Article 14 of the Human Rights Act [1998] allows freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation – if you feel the same advice would not be given to a heterosexual female pupil or a gay male pupil you may have a case. Print out a paper copy of the Act and this Article. Show this to your teacher. If this is unsuccessful see How to bring About Change.
  4. Your school has a duty to protect your human rights.You might like to visit your local sexual health clinic. You can find their address through www.condomessentialwear.co.uk. You could also telephone 0800 567 123 for free and confidential sexual health information.

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A2

Safer sex is intended to meet the needs of all pupils. This includes pupils who are transgender.

 

  1. Under The School Inspections Act [1996] Ofsted is required to examine how far the education your school offers meets the needs of all of its pupils. This includes sex education. If you feel your needs are not being met point this out, anonymously if need be.

  2. Under the Gender Equality Duty [2007], which your school has a legal obligation to fulfill, your teachers should be actively promoting inclusion for children and young people who do not fit gender stereotypes (whatever their sexual orientation). Because of this your teacher needs to think through the implications of all types of contraception and how effectively it can meet the needs of all of his or her pupils bearing in mind that it is impossible to tell, just from looking, which pupils may identify as LGBTQ.

  3. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) you should be protected from any activities that could harm your development (Article 36). Arguably you may have a case if you said that such advice failed to give you adequate sex education and posed a real risk to your (sexual) health. Your school has a duty to protect your human rights.

  4. Article 14 of the Human Rights Act [1998] allows freedom from discrimination on the grounds of both gender and “any other status” – this could productively be used to signal your trans identity where/if the school refused to acknowledge your specific needs (However, Article 14 can only be used in a court of law if you think that other breaches of your human rights have occurred as well – i.e. you need at least two Articles to have a claim).

  5. Despite the above arguments however, such a question would largely be seen as being outside of the expected competence of a sex education teacher. Therefore it may be more beneficial for you to contact an outside organization such as: -

      • Gires (Admin@gires.org.uk/ 01372 801554) or

      • Mermaids (mermaids@freeuk.com / 07020 935066. NB. This helpline is only open between 3pm-7pm, Mon-Sat).

      • The Portman Clinic, which is home to the UK’s pediatric Gender Identity Clinic, has access to information on support services and groups around the country.

      • We suggest you only contact your GP (or other NHS professional) if you are over the age of 16 or are out to your parents since there is a possibility that pediatric confidentiality laws may change. Any NHS professional you see, such as a specialist at Charing Cross will write to your GP informing him or her of the consultation. As one young trans person pointed out  “if your mum takes you round to the doctors with the sniffles… the last thing you want him to do is turn around and say ‘Oh, and by the way Timmy, how’s the gender dysphoria coming along?’ It kinda defeats the whole object of the closet.”

  6. Ask that your teacher receives some training on this issue. Good sources that your school could approach include

  7. If you are not out you might like to contact one of these organisation and give them your school details and inform them of what has happened. You could then ask them to approach the school anonymously on your behalf raising the fact that it has come to their attention that this is an issue in your school.

  8. We suggest that you do not take any chances with mixing hormones until you’ve discussed the matter with either your GP or your consultant endocrinologist.  As one trans youth has said “I, for one, wouldn’t mix testosterone with progesterone - that way lies dodgyness.”

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A3

Safer sex lessons are intended to meet the needs of all pupils. This includes bisexuals.

  1. Under The School Inspections Act [1996] Ofsted is required to examine how far the education your school offers meets the needs of all of its pupils. This includes sex education. If you feel your needs are not being met point this out, anonymously if need be.

  2. You might like to look at a website such as this one - www.ygm.org.uk or visit your local sexual health clinic. You can find their address through www.condomessentialwear.co.uk. You could also telephone 0800 567 123 for free and confidential sexual health information. The Department of Health’s website is www.dh.gov.uk.

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