In the life of some straight teenagers, their parents awkwardly set them down and have the weirdest, most uncomfortable conversation. The birds and the bees, the sex conversation, the big one about where babies come from. In the awfully awkward time during this conversation, there are a lot of different avenues the conversation can take. There is "don't have sex till your married" street, which was what I got told in church in its best attempt at sex ed. Then there is always "don't have sex, but if you do use protection/contraceptives" lane, which I never heard from anyone as an option growing up. There are also those cool parents that are really chill with sex encouraging the teenager to have sex when they are ready, evaluate the situation, don't jump into it, practicing safe sex with provisions that the parents give, i.e. birth control, box of condoms, etc. Another option that I think causes a lot of problems is the one I lived in "Let's not talk about that". I know SOOO many people who never had a conversation of this caliber with their parents, including myself. Sex is something that you don't talk about in my house, period, and I truly believe my parents only had sex twice, one time for each of their children.
Then if you happen to be gay... oh wow... things just go from bad to worse.
One of the worst parts about growing up queer is that you are never taught by anyone the process of having sex, being safe, and knowing when its right. Very few queer teens have parents who want to talk about them being gay much less gay sex. Most of them have no clue how it works or proper precautions that need to be taken. This isn't good for the teens or the parents because sure enough, the close minded parents will end up getting the blamed for the teen's lack of sexual knowledge. What's the solution?
This, while incredibly awkward, is what should be happening in homes where teenagers are brave enough to come out to their parents. Parents should be educating themselves, overcoming their own discomforts, and learning about their children's sexuality.
At this point queer teens learn their sex ed on the internet by watching porn, reading on websites, and consulting mature gays on dating site chats. Impersonal, discouraging, and not how queer youth should be educated when it comes to sex. This education of sex should have happened in the homes and schools of the queer youth. It should be about them and their feelings. Imagine how confused and awkward it was for you to talk with your parents about sex, imagine how that would feel for a gay teen going to his straight parents that have no idea how gay sex works.
But! What can actually be done to change this?
In the long run, the first step would be to bring open queer sex education to schools. You start educating kids in safe straight sex practices as well as gay sex in school then as time goes on, the cycle will create safety for the students and also an opening for future parents. This education should be devised in a way that teachers and facilitators are universally educated and expected to teach the exact lessons, almost like a standard of learning developed by prominent queer scholars.
But! What about now?
That is my question to you! I have been pondering this since seeing the Glee episode the other night. Burt and Kurt Hummel on Glee had an increasingly awkward conversation, but it was eye-opening for a lot of us. Are their publications available for parents to stimulate dialogue with their children? Are there people out there trying to stimulate conversations like these? I did a lot of research on this topic, and I could not find anything that is a potential assistant to keep queer teens off the internet and in their classrooms and living rooms asking questions about condoms, lube, and sex toys.