LGBTQ-Inclusive Sexuality Education in Montana Public High Schools: An Assessment of the Needs of Health Enhancement Teachers
Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Health and Human Performance (Community Health Option)
Department or School/College
Department of Health and Human Performance
Dr. Annie Sondag
Dr. Bryan Cochran Dr. Laura Dybdal
sexuality education, LGBTQ, health, high school
University of Montana
Community Health and Preventive Medicine
LGBTQ youth face many unique health challenges. Rates of depression and suicide are exponentially higher for LGBTQ youth than for their heterosexual, cisgender peers. Rates of HIV and STI infection are rising among this demographic. Comprehensive sexuality education has demonstrated the potential to address some of these health challenges. Specifically, it has been shown to delay the onset of sexual intercourse, and to reduce pregnancy and transmission rates of HIV and STIs among youth. Several studies have looked at LGBTQ-inclusive sexuality education from the perspective of LGBTQ students, but few have looked at this issue from the perspective of teachers responsible for teaching sexuality education.
An electronic questionnaire was sent by email to 168 high school Health Enhancement teachers in Montana. Survey data included what sexuality education content they cover, how important they believe each topic to be, how comfortable they feel teaching it, and what barriers they face in teaching LBGTQ-inclusive sexuality education.
Participants reported not having training in teaching LGBTQ sexuality education and not having experience with LGBTQ content as the top barriers to teaching inclusive sexuality education. Participants reported covering topics related to LGBTQ identities less frequently than standard sexuality topics such as anatomy and STI prevention.
Training teachers in how to teach sexuality education that is inclusive of LGBTQ students is necessary in order to increase the coverage of these topics and teachers’ comfort and effectiveness with this important content. The state department of education and school districts should develop a standard sexuality education curriculum and provide training in how to implement it in sexuality education classes.
Johnson, Andrew G., "LGBTQ-Inclusive Sexuality Education in Montana Public High Schools: An Assessment of the Needs of Health Enhancement Teachers" (2017). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 10996.
© Copyright 2017 Andrew G. Johnson