Education , Family & Community
Ray Carter | September 13, 2022
Tulsa sex ed instructs students on pansexual ID
Materials used for sex-education instruction in Tulsa Public Schools in recent years inform students they may be “pansexual” individuals who are sexually attracted to virtually all individuals, along with depictions of anal sex.
The materials, obtained independently by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, provide a glimpse of how sex education is handled in some Oklahoma schools today and how that material may differ significantly from the basic biology-focused lessons provided to prior generations.
One “Understanding Sexual Development” lesson used in Tulsa instructed teachers to distribute “the Genderbread Person” to students and use it to define a host of terms.
The lesson informs students they may be transgender, which the lesson defines as occurring when “a person’s body parts don’t match your gender identity.” It also informs students they may be “non-binary,” which the lesson defines as occurring when “a person feels somewhere in the middle between male and female,” and “agender,” which the lesson defines as occurring when a person doesn’t identify as “either a male or female.”
Students are also informed that they may be “pansexual,” which the lesson defines as a “person who is sexually attracted to people who are male, female, agender, transgender, or gender nonconforming.”
One section on “Understanding Sexual Development” includes a photo of a nurse examining a baby at the hospital. The accompanying caption reads, “A boy, a girl, or ?”
Materials from another lesson included stick-figure illustrations of individuals engaging in anal sex and oral sex as part of a lesson on “Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections.”
One video included in Tulsa’s sex-education program asks students, “How would your life be different if you were a different sex, gender identity, or had a different sexual orientation? What harmful biases or stereotypes might you encounter? What social or professional opportunities might become available to you? What opportunities might you now lose?”
The video then goes on at length to discuss LGBTQ students.
Tulsa schools’ sex-education focus appears to align with the goals touted by some national organizations.
For example, in a 2018 article on its website, the National Education Association (NEA) declared that “topics such as sexual orientation and gender identity” and “homophobia” should be “covered thoroughly” in public-school sex-education programs.
The NEA article praised a San Francisco sex-education program that “establishes sex education at every level, beginning in elementary school.”
The NEA is a national teacher union with a state affiliate in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA). The OEA is the state’s largest teachers’ union.
However, the appropriateness and effectiveness of many public-school sex-education programs have been questioned by experts.
In a 2020 report on sex education in public schools, Cathy Ruse, an attorney and senior fellow at the socially conservative Family Research Council, wrote, “Parents have two main concerns about sex ed today: That it sexualizes children and that it is loaded with LGBTQ indoctrination.”
She said the focus on various gender identities may be one of the biggest changes in school sex-education curriculum in recent years.
“The starkest change to sex education today is that it is now saturated with ‘LGBTQ sexuality,’” Ruse wrote. “Marriage, sex/gender, and sexuality are the subject of profound debate in the culture and the courts. Yet many school districts have, effectively, chosen sides on these issues and are using sex education as the vehicle to enforce conformity with their views.” (Emphasis in original.)
She said many schools’ sex-education programs effectively encourage risky behavior.
“Preparing children to have sex with multiple partners over the course of a lifetime seems to be a basic assumption underlying much of sexual education content,” Ruse wrote.
A 2019 report by The Institute for Research and Evaluation found that many schools’ sex-education programs are ineffective or worse.
The Institute’s researchers reviewed 120 prior studies of school-based sex education, including 60 U.S. studies and 43 non-U.S. studies. The review showed only six rigorous studies found evidence of effectiveness (defined as improvement on a protective outcome such as abstinence, condom use, pregnancy, or sexually transmitted diseases, without other negative effects, measured 12 months after program completion).
In contrast, the review found that school-based comprehensive sex education (CSE) programs that attempted to show effectiveness “failed 87% of the time.” In the United States, 12 percent of studies even found negative effects following school sex-education programs, such as decreased condom use or increased sexual activity, number of partners, oral sex, forced sex, STDs, or pregnancy.
“Applying meaningful standards of effectiveness—criteria that have scientific validity and practical utility for policymakers and parents—to sex education outcomes produces a very different pattern of evidence for school-based CSE than what is typically reported by other research reviews that employ more-lenient definitions of effectiveness,” the Institute for Research and Evaluation report stated.
A “teen pregnancy prevention program” tab on the Tulsa Public Schools website states that the school uses at least one program provided by the Tulsa Health Department that the schools says “educates young adults in responsible and informed decision-making about sexual activity. The goal of the program is to prevent teen births and sexually transmitted infections.”
The results of state testing in the 2020-2021 school year, the most recent available, showed that 84 percent of students in Tulsa were not proficient in science.
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.