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Abstract

Recent research concerning the prevalence of dating violence among U.S. adolescents indicates increased rates among LGBTQ adolescents as compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. While schools have worked to combat teen dating violence by including lessons on healthy relationships in sex education curricula, little is known about the effectiveness of such lessons for addressing the unique factors related to both the nature and dynamics of dating violence within the LGBTQ community. This research addresses this lack by observing how sex education teachers address and incorporate LGBTQ-related information in their lessons on healthy relationships and dating violence prevention. Adapting research on color-blind ideology, I argue that teachers employ an “identity-blind” approach to such lessons wherein discussions of power differentials and social context are dismissed in an appeal to the universality of dating violence experiences. In relying on an identity-blind approach as a means of inclusivity, teachers disregard more progressive, and possibly effective, tactics for addressing LGBTQ teen dating violence.

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