Neuroqueering sex education: A theoretical program development
Sex education (SE) in the United States has been largely heteronormative and cisnormative, Neuroqueer individuals have been ignored in the SE curriculum and are overdue for being acknowledged and addressed. The present research sought to answer the question: “What does an LGBTQIA+ inclusive sex education program, tailored to and adapted for neurodivergent individuals, look like?” This mixed-method study utilized an archival review of LGBTQIA+ and autistic sex education programs, and a Delphi method panel of LGBTQIA+ autistic adults to gather information on the past and desired content inclusion in sex education. An intervention mapping approach was used to develop an outline for a sex education program. The archival review found limited LGBTQIA+ SE programs which met stringent study inclusion criteria, and an even more limited number of autistic-adapted SE programs. In the Delphi poll, the first round of questionnaires (R1Q, n =17) used a mixed methods approach and found several topics not previously discussed in SE. The topics were used to inform the second round of questions (R2Q, n =8), and participants had relatively high consensus that these topics should be included in sex education, which was confirmed and expanded upon in the third round (R3Q, n =7). Intervention mapping facilitated the organization of the comprehensive list of 129 topics derived from both the archival review and the Delphi poll, grouping these into 19 chapters, and creating an outline for a sex education program. Implications for further research, practice, and policy are discussed, as are limitations and strengths of the work.