Iowa City schools implementing nonbinary, LGBTQ health curriculum

As part of an equity initiative, the Iowa City Community School District is implementing a health and puberty curriculum that’s inclusive of LGBTQ and nonbinary students.

The new curriculum — called 3Rs for rights, respect and responsibility — is a free K-12 sex education curriculum written by the Washington, D.C.-based Advocates for Youth. The program meets the National Sexual Education Standards and is inclusive of issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Iowa City district’s commitment to being inclusive extends to students in the LGBTQ community, said Diane Schumacher, the district’s executive director of teaching and learning. Nonbinary refers to those who do not identify exclusively as either male or female. A nonbinary person may feel a mix of genders or not identify with any gender at all. 

Horn Elementary School counselor Heidi Hassen said she has conversations with students who “identify in a lot of different ways,” and it’s important to have an inclusive curriculum so students learn that “all bodies are good bodies.”