The new National Teacher Preparation Standards for Sexuality Education are hot off the press, and have just been issused by the Future of Sex Education, along with SEICUS, Answer – Sex Ed, Honestly, and Advocates for Youth.

If you haven’t done so already, you can download the PDF by clicking the National Teacher Preparation Standards link above.

Because cultural appropriation and intersectionality are so important, I am delighted to see that the new standards include respect for “diversity and equity” as described below. I am not surprised by this. Helping professionals and their organizations know that these are key elements in any successful and useful interaction with clients, patients, consumers, and students. The excerpt below is taken from the PDF:

<<Standard 2: Diversity and Equity

Teacher candidates show respect for individual, family and cultural characteristics and experiences that may influence student learning about sexuality.

There is tremendous diversity represented in US classrooms. Often, “diversity” refers to race, culture and ethnicity. Within sexuality education, however, there are other forms of diversity to consider as well, such as family structure (e.g., single parents, step parents, teen parents); religious affiliation; social, emotional and physical developmental level; sexual orientation; gender identity and expression; sexual history; and relationship abuse. These visible and invisible diversities are present in every classroom and affect how students learn. Effective teachers are respectful of multiple dimensions of diversity and tailor instruction appropriately.


Successful teacher candidates will:

2.1 Demonstrate the ability to create a safe and inclusive classroom environment for all students.

2.2 Describe how students’ diverse backgrounds and experiences may affect students’ personal beliefs, values and knowledge about sexuality.

2.3 Demonstrate the ability to select or adapt sexuality education materials that both reflect the range of characteristics of the students and community and respect the visible and invisible diversities that exist in every classroom.>>

When sexual health and education products are created in either conscious or unconscious violation of respect for diversity, the learning (and therapeutic) environment is affected. It is no longer safe or inclusive for the person or group who is disrespected. Learning will be less likely to occur. In a clinical environment, there can be no therapeutic value either.  In fact, in both of the above situations, disrespect is likely to produce a negative experience rather than a neutral one.