Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Women's and Gender Studies


Dana-Ain Davis

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Education Policy | Health and Physical Education | Health Policy | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


Sex education, curriculum, LGBTQIA+, policy, public health


Sex education (sex ed) is a state-by-state and school-by-school issue, and there are no federal laws which mandate medically accurate education. In New York, schools only offer one semester of health education which often happens in the last semester of twelfth grade. Further, LGBTQIA+ people’s sexual health and identities are rarely mentioned. Therefore, this project asks: What are the ways sex ed curricula and policies in New York address the needs of LGBTQIA+ youth? To answer this question, I use a critical policy analysis to compare curriculum from the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and Peer Health Exchange (PHE) to show why centering queer people’s identities is integral to quality sex ed. Coupling this with semi-structured interviews with queer people about their experiences with sex ed will offer critiques and methods for concrete change. Through a queer-centered, feminist, public health framework, I argue sex ed must transform to include accurate and inclusive information that centers pleasure and removes shame.