The widely used FLASH sexual health education curriculum, developed by Public Health – Seattle and King County, has been shown through rigorous evaluation to significantly reduce homophobia and transphobia among high school students.
Reducing students’ belief in harmful stereotypes can improve school climate by reducing beliefs that may lead to bullying, violence, and victimization. As a result, this can improve health outcomes as well as academic performance.
The new research is published in the journal “Prevention Science,” and was funded by a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Additional research published in 2021 demonstrated that High School FLASH can also reduce behaviors that lead to teen pregnancy. FLASH is the first sexual health education curriculum shown to both improve sexual health outcomes as well as to decrease homophobic and transphobic beliefs.
FLASH lessons are designed to be affirming of students’ identities and the identities of their family members, for all aspects of identity, such as:
- sexual orientation
- ability, etc.
Abundant research shows positive health outcomes are achieved by offering young people inclusive school environments and curricula. The most recent study showed that high school students of all sexual orientations and genders who took part in FLASH had reduced homophobic and transphobic beliefs.
Reducing homophobic and transphobic beliefs specifically among LGBTQ students is additionally important, because this signals a decrease in internalized homophobia and transphobia. This has been shown to improve physical, mental, and sexual health outcomes for lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, transgender, and nonbinary young people.
Additional information online:
- Learn about the FLASH curriculum: Visit www.kingcounty.gov/FLASH
- Prevention Science article on reducing homophobia and transphobia
- Journal of Adolescent Health 2021 evaluation of FLASH curriculum
Originally published: 3/31/23