Publication Year



sex education, california, california healthy youth act, porn, race, LGBTQ, gender


Early Childhood Education | Ethnic Studies | Public Administration


This article analyzes how the CHYA both helps and fails students in different aspects, how the CHYA’s standards are interpreted and taught in real classrooms, and how the act might be improved in the future. There are two forms of data used in the article: expert interviews and observations in two dichotomous California middle schools: one low-income, majority-Hispanic middle school, and one upper-income, majority-white middle school. The CHYA is analyzed on multiple levels:

  • Sex in schools: The Stigmas of Sex Education

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Allies (LGBTQIA/A) Inclusion and Exclusion

  • Pleasure and Porn and Their Exclusion From The CHYA

  • Race, Class, National Origins, and the Problems of Pedagogy

  • Who Should Teach Sex Education and At What Age Should It Be Taught?

    The CHYA’s strength lies in its amendments of previous legislation that did not mandate sex education throughout California and did not include clear instructions on the mandate of LGBTQIA/A and ethnic/racial/culturally inclusive materials. The act also works to combat popular and controversial stigmas by working with parents and mandating unbiased, transparent, and medically accurate instruction, while also giving schools several different state approved curriculum options. The CHYA mandates many new topics that were not required by previous legislation, and are not only beneficial, but essential to the healthy development of youth. However, despite the CHYA’s improvements, sex education legislation in California still has lengths to go in order to properly serve the youth of the state.

    Currently the CHYA relies on the implementation of sex education in schools and the enforcement of the law by local sex education advocates. However, while local control is functioning in certain districts for now, it is hard to regulate whether or not programs are following all of the CHYA requirements, and there is not enough state enforcement so that schools provide sex education to their students and the curricula provided adhere to the law. The importance of sex education cannot be understated, and the State of California needs to reassess sex education as a major priority. I believe Californians would benefit from a state-mandated curriculum, and more funding and dedication of state resources to the publicity of new sex education legislation, implementation of sex education, and enforcement of the act. While sex education curriculum is required by the act to be inclusive of LGBTQIA/A students, current curricular options give a lot of leeway to different school districts. A state-mandated curriculum would solve this problem by requiring that schools provide sex education that is inclusive of all different identities. While there might be parental backlash to schools providing LGBTQ inclusive education, a state mandate would protect districts who would have the ability to claim they are only working in compliance with the law. Also, despite provisions that California sex educators must be properly trained in sex education instruction, there is currently no mandate requiring sex educators receive extensive training in LGBTQIA/A inclusion and anti-racist curriculum. A new clause should mandate this education for all sex educators as well as promote the development and instruction of anti-racist lessons. The act must also be updated or amended to include legislation on porn and pleasure topics

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License