Did you know that lesbian, bisexual, and gay teens are just as (if not more) likely to have or father a teen pregnancy than their heterosexual peers? Furthermore, as most major data sources fail to gather data on gender identity, the trans teen pregnancy rate is largely unknown.
Last month was Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. This month, June, is LGBT Pride Month. That makes now the perfect time to discuss queer teen pregnancy and what we can do about it.
We can create a world where every young person feels empowered to make choices for themselves, and where every pregnancy is planned and wanted.
To combat queer teen pregnancy, reduce homophobia, and save taxpayer money, the federal government should redirect the $90 million budget for abstinence education toward LGBTQ+ inclusive comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) programs. All too often, sexual health education focuses on heterosexual and cisgender youth. LGBTQ+ people are often only discussed in tandem with HIV/AIDS. As a result, queer youth report that sex ed feels irrelevant to their needs and further stigmatizes them. Worse yet, the federal government spends $90 million annually on sexual health education programs that teach sexual abstinence instead of equipping young people with the tools and resources they need.
This may soon change — but not for the better: President Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, while maintaining $85 million dollars for abstinence education programs. Continue reading