Growing up as a queer young person is not easy. The lack of representation and guidance—especially in regards to sex—leads to confusion and uncertainty. It feels as though sex is something you are forced to just figure out as a queer person.
Similar to the experiences of most young people, your first-time having sex is awkward and sometimes even messy. The thing with heterosexual sex, though, is that it is discussed in textbooks and is saturated in media. One can easily Google the meaning and physical actions that occur during heterosexual sex. Queer sex is not afforded the same accessibility.
The media acting as an agent of heteronormativity is not a new concept. It focuses primarily on straight people and straight characters, feeding into the idea that you are straight until proven otherwise. Homosexual relationships aren’t the norm in most forms of general media such as television or films.
Queer youth are searching to explore their personal identity and with that comes sexual curiosity. Porn is often an outlet many use to discover the details of sex and the enjoyment that it brings. Through the lack of basic media representation, turning to porn is the only resort for most gay youth. Instead of seeing healthy relationships between two gay people, they are forced to lean on hypersexual depictions.
Pornography was never intended to teach kids about sex. Adults in our society are afraid to talk with kids about sex, and so they turn to school-based curriculum, which focuses solely on heterosexual intercourse. Under the Obama administration, many ratifications were made to the sexual education curriculum, yet none of them included an expansion into opening the conversation surrounding queer sex.
Kids are going to have sex. Learning from fantasy-based entertainment is only skewing what they will view as safe and responsible sex.
In an article published by Fight The New Drug, an anonymous writer speaks on his journey in learning about gay sex as a young child. The writer said, “Most of all though, I began to learn about sex. Or at least what porn told me sex was. What an education. I scoured the internet looking for everything new and erotic about men and sex and homosexuality. I even remember looking for images and content with young boys that were my age.”
As slow as it may seem, it does appear that society may be progressing. The queer people who are able to identify this issue and know the struggles that they faced growing up are the ones who are starting to initiate change.
According to GLAAD’s annual TV diversity report, LGBTQ representation on television hit a record high this year, with 8.8 percent out of 857 series regulars on broadcast TV openly identified as gay, trans or queer, and for the first time, LGBTQ people of color outnumbered white LGBTQ characters on-screen by 50 to 49 percent.
Healthy depictions of queer relationships is where things start. Education will be forced to become more inclusive when the kids represent diversity and adults demand it.
It is not acceptable to ignore the needs and required education of the queer community. Queer kids should not be turned away to divulge in outlets such as porn in order to learn about sex.