There are some major issues with the way in which young adults are taught sexual health education. Firstly, sexual health education is not compulsory in Australia and thus some people leave school without knowledge of safe sex practices. Secondly, sexual health education makes two assumptions...
A) A "female" is a person with a vagina and a "male" is a person with a penis ("cisgenderism")
B) Sex occurs between a person with a vagina and a person with a penis ("heteronormative")
These assumptions create barriers for young adults who are not cisgender and heterosexual to access information that is relevant to them. This is in addition to the barriers young adults already face with the stigma associated with sex and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As such, it is imperative for health professionals to use the correct language when talking with patients who are of DGSS to allow them to discuss such personal issues. It is also vital that health professionals ask the right questions, as it is unlikely that important information will be openly offered to them by patients.
This guide has been created to bridge the gap in knowledge both for individuals who are of DGSS wanting to access sexual health information and for health professionals wanting to better assist patients who are of DGSS. Because...
Lack of knowledge about safe sex practices does not stop people from having sex!
* Throughout this guide, "DGSS" will refer to "diverse genders, sexes and sexualities" as this is a more encompassing term than "LGBTQIAPGNC..." which is long, does not include the full spectrum of gender/sex/sexuality and can mistakenly lead to the belief that it is a homogenous group. Given as the term "queer" was originally used as a slur towards this community and some still feel it to be offensive, it is not directly used in this guide but may appear in some of the resources.
* LGBTQIAPGNC = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, pansexual/polysexual, gender non-conforming
Pan, L & Moore, A n.d., The gender unicorn, photograph, viewed 5 May 2019, <http://www.transstudent.org/gender/>.
It can be very confusing to navigate the spectrum of genders, sexes and sexualities (with the growing acronym of LGBTQIAPGNC... not helping matters). "The gender unicorn" is therefore a useful way to understand these spectrums. It can be completed by someone wanting to better understand their own DGSS identity or can be used by health professionals to open up dialogue with a patient. Further explanation is provided on the website (www.transstudent.org/gender). This particular image is an updated version that now includes "emotional/romantic attraction" as being separate to "physical/sexual attraction" (which is very beneficial for those who are asexual but not aromantic).