Most Americans support teaching about controversial topics in school, except when those controversial topics deal with LGBTQ people.
According to a new study from the University of Southern California (USC), majorities of both Republicans and Democrats supported teaching about numerous controversial topics in high school, including racial inequality, immigrant rights, environmental issues, and even about pro- and anti-choice positions.
Only four topics USC asked about got less than majority support from Republicans: gay rights, sexual orientation, gender identity, and trans rights. Between 30% and 40% of Republicans supported high school students learning about those topics in school, compared to between 84% and 86% of Democrats.
And the issue isn’t human sexuality in general. Over 90% of Republicans and Democrats supported teaching sex education in schools.
The findings come after conservatives have been working to pass “Don’t Say Gay” laws in several states. Florida passed one such law, which bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in young grades and restricts such discussions in higher grade levels.
Supporters of the bill have said that any discussion about sexuality around children is a form of “grooming” or child sex abuse, and they have often stressed that their views on the matter aren’t discriminatory. But those statements contradict the survey’s findings that Republicans are generally fine with schools teaching kids about human sexuality, as long as that sexuality is heterosexuality.
The Brookings Institution, which worked on the study, noted that a majority of Americans support teaching about all of the 24 topics they asked about.
The study was part of the Understanding America Study and involved a representative sample of 3751 adults surveyed between August 15 and September 12.