International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Ellen Foley

Second Reader

Laurie Ross


This paper seeks to critique the current state of sex education in the United States by examining the history of funding and the perceived effectiveness of some programs. In the past the American government has overwhelmingly supported abstinence-only methods of sex education through several federal funding streams. Yet there is little evidence to show that abstinence-only programs even work, thus there has been efforts to shift support to comprehensive sex education programs. This paper analyzes the results of several studies, which compare and evaluate the effectiveness of different types of sexuality education programs. Although these studies provide measurable evidence in support of comprehensive programs, our findings recognize that many of these programs are heteronormative and not inclusive of marginalized bodies and identities. Despite these critiques we offer up the Masakhane Center as an example of a program, which embodies a comprehensive, intersectional, LGBTQIA+ inclusive, non-hertonormative form of sexuality education.



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