LGBTQ-inclusive sex education is now mandatory in all of England’s high schools. Starting this month, all English teenagers will learn about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer sexual health and positive relationships.
“We want to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe,” a Department for Education spokesperson said in an email to NBC News.
The inclusive sex-ed mandate is part of a broader set of new guidelines rolled out by the department that seek to teach high school students “what makes a good friend, a good colleague and a successful marriage,” as well as provide information on contraception, consent and online safety. The curriculum aims to “teach young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others.”
Rather than explored in only one lesson, the guidelines call for information on sexual orientation and gender identity to be integrated into the curriculum so all pupils “understand the importance of equality.” It also requests teachers approach the topics sensitively because some students may be discovering their identities.
In the new relationships education curriculum for elementary school children — focusing on healthy families and friendships, not intimate relationships — educators are strongly encouraged to include LGBTQ examples.