Tennessee has a range of laws and regulations related to sexual health. The Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA) offers comprehensive protection similar to that of Title VII, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance. In addition, the state requires high school students to take a wellness class that covers topics such as the reproductive system, contraception, healthy and unhealthy relationships, and the possible outcomes of engaging in sexual behavior. Under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, schools must adopt and publish complaint procedures and protect victims from retaliation.
Starting in the sixth grade, the standards include the expectation that students will learn to “identify sexual abstinence as the responsible and preferred option for adolescents.” Sexual harassment laws are federal and state laws that address offensive and unwanted sexual behavior. Tennessee also has laws related to HIV testing for individuals convicted of sexual crimes, as well as limits on the amount of compensatory or punitive damages you can collect for sexual harassment complaints. Attacks on the rights of LGBTQ people and efforts to limit access to abortion services and other reproductive health services prevent students from receiving comprehensive sex education and accessing sexual and reproductive health services. In the School Health Profiles, the CDC identifies 20 sexual health education topics as critical to ensuring a young person's sexual health.
These topics include HIV/AIDS prevention, abstinence education, contraception, healthy relationships, gender identity, and more. To receive contraception from a health professional in Tennessee, parental consent must be obtained.