Educators across Maryland and Virginia will be following expected legal challenges to Montgomery County's proposed new sex education curriculum.

Under the new guidelines, students are introduced to sexual orientation and transgenderism in the eighth and tenth grades. The current curriculum does not allow teachers to initiate discussions on such issues.

County school officials are defending the new proposal by saying it conforms to a state regulation requiring school systems to teach "sexual variations."

Advocates for gays and lesbians say if the new lesson plans can survive, they could be replicated in other school systems.

An advisory board in Alexandria, Va., is considering school discussions on abortion and sexual orientation.