Queer Tips is a sex education blog run by the people at a Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes’ Out for Health Initiative. The blog recognizes that sex education in America is lack luster and is quickly worked through without actually giving teens the information they truly need, especially teens in the queer community. It aims to give queer individuals the sex education that they say has been denied to them and gives them an outlet that focuses on their needs and issues they face. In the blogs manifesto it states “sex ed should be more than a few hastily photocopied diagrams and a pat on the back. It sure as hell shouldn’t be an abstinence pledge. Queer sex ed is a guide to both a healthy sexual life and to a healthy emotional one.”
The blog is composed of pictures, original post as well as posts about sex, statistics, and other issues in queer culture from other writers, and also has a question and answer where individuals can anonymously ask questions they may to be fearful to ask or have no one else to ask these questions too. The blog is also more than just sex education but also infers about the state of queer issues in terms of sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression as well as looking at queer sexuality throughout history and how it has been expressed and supported.
Historically sex has always been a subject that was not outwardly talked about or taught. In Gayle Rubin’s piece Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality she mentions that historically there were campaigns aimed at encouraging young people to refrain from sex of any kind, to stay abstinent, and get rid of prostitution. She talks of parents strapping kids to beds so they don’t touch themselves, and while these events don’t happen today, the messages and thoughts still permeate in our culture. Sex has been made into a taboo that isn’t completely or openly discussed or taught, leaving young people in the dark on what safe sex is, leaving them to discover through trial and error. Sex, when taught, is only by what society deems as acceptable, and as Rubin put it in her article sex has become a sort of “hierarchical system of sexual values”. What is acceptable is heterosexual sex and what is very low and taboo is queer sex.
Rubin also states ” The term ‘sex offender’ sometimes applied to rapists, sometimes to ‘child molesters’, and eventually functioned as a code for homosexuals”. Queer sex has been oppressed over the years and deemed as deviant so it should never be talked about.I can remember sex ed in my health class, and it was only covered in one day. All that was discussed were a few diagrams of how each reproductive organ worked and the cliché of my teacher putting a condom onto a fake penis, and some of the STI’s a person can contract. There was not even a little mention of queer sexuality. Queer sex has been pushed to the background and when sex education is present it is only aimed towards heterosexual men and woman completely excluding LGBT individuals and questions they have towards sex. This discrepancy is what this blog aim to fix and flip on its head.
The blog gives queer youth a platform to express and learn about sex openly without the taboo and hierarchical system society places on queer sex. They want queer youth and young adults to be sex positive an not look at it as this daunting thing that shouldn’t be discussed or questioned. Everything is on the table from questions about sex toys and which lube to use, to trans issues, ways to ask partners about STI’s and whether or not it’s ok to ask a person which pronoun they prefer. It creates an open dialogue that was once shut off to them and only open to the heterosexual world. As its manifest says it is more than just showing a few diagrams and sending people on their way. It is providing people with the proper information needed to become sexually aware and safe adults. The blog can be perfectly summed up with this excerpt from their manifest:
“It’s tips to a healthy relationship with significant others and with yourself. It’s providing queer youth with a roadmap— not prescribing one for them, but providing the tools to use and guides to live and to have wholeness as awesome, sexually healthy people within the vast array of contexts that they navigate daily”