Policy Matters: Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education (HB 1032)

Welcome to Policy Matters! Occasionally, we’ll post interesting legislation in the Colorado General Assembly that impacts our mission or the people that we serve. Today’s post is about HB19-1032 Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education.

What the bill would do:

This bill would repeal and re-enact Colorado Revised Statutes 22-1-218, which is the current statute that:

  • Declares that Colorado youth have a right to access sexual health information
  • Establishes a grant program for Colorado schools to teach comprehensive sexuality education that includes:
    • Information about preventing pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted infections
    • Information about the development of safe relationships and how to “recognize and respond effectively and safely” in situations with physical or sexual abuse
    • Information about consent and how to avoid making unwanted verbal, physical, and sexual advances

This bill would re-enact that statute with some key additions and clarifications, including:

  • That human sexuality education should promote an understanding that sexuality, sexual activity, and sexual orientation are normal parts of the human experience
  • Specification that abstinence may not be presented as the primary or sole method of pregnancy and STI prevention
  • Specification that education about the development of safe and healthy relationships must include information about emotional abuse as well as physical and sexual abuse.
  • More detailed information about what consent education means, including how to recognize withdrawal of consent and how to avoid making assumptions about a person’s intentions based on their appearance or past behavior.
  • Requirements that schools receiving funding for comprehensive sexuality education must include information about and relevant to LGBT individuals in a non-shaming, non-discriminatory way.
  • Establishment of an oversight committee with representatives for youth, LGBT people, health providers, sexual assault survivors, youth of color, and immigrants along with a representative from an interfaith organization to ensure that education standards are comprehensive, evidence-based, culturally-sensitive, and audience-appropriate.

Why it Matters for 0T4DA:

This bill has potential to increase awareness of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse by better emphasizing recognition and prevention of abuse in human sexuality education. Because the curriculum will be overseen by representatives from several underrepresented groups, it is more likely that this information will be presented in a way that is culturally-sensitive and inclusive of different identities, which is important for effective prevention.