Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Nathalie Etoke

Committee Members

David Humphries

Subject Categories

American Politics | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Developmental Psychology | Educational Methods | Educational Sociology | Education Policy | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | Health Policy | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity | Social Justice | Social Psychology | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology of Culture | Sociology of Religion


sexual education, white supremacy, patriarchy, LGBTQIA+, parental rights


This thesis analyzes the multifaceted debate over the use of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in United States public schools, while also emphasizing the ways in which withholding CSE is a strategy to uphold the white supremacist patriarchy. The work begins by historically framing the evolution of sexuality education through the United States’ history. This leads to the current discourse around CSE and the ways in which it is the optimal support for American youth today. After setting this foundation, the thesis looks at conservative figures and groups who are seeking to prevent public school adoption of CSE standards, as well as censoring the mention of any topics remotely connected to sexuality. Their work has led to the proliferation of calls for parental rights in education. While conservatives are the most vocal in opposing CSE, it is also vital to consider other cultural perceptions of sexuality. Many minority and immigrant families may hold their own cultural and religious views of sexuality education that would lead them to stand against CSE. If this resistance is ignored, it sets CSE up for failure, which in turn will most negatively impact students of color and LGBTQIA+ students. This failure would directly contribute to white supremacist patriarchal ideals dominating American culture. In the end, this thesis aims to point to ways that CSE can be set up for success and meet the wide needs of youth and community stakeholders.