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Compulsory sex education to include gay relationships and HIV

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  1. “The same arises in homosexuality. Some faiths have a view about what in religious terms is right and wrong – what they can’t do though is not teach the importance of tolerance.”

    What is this waffle? So cool, we can tell gay kids they should never have a relationship, ever in their lives. This is disgusting psychological bullying. Why is Ed Balls not up for bigot of the year?

    Kids need protection from this nonsense.

  2. About time too

  3. “However, faith schools will be allowed to teach sex education in line with their own ethos or beliefs. They are required to educate pupils about issues such as abortion and the tolerance of homosexuality but may present them in congruity with religious teachings.”

    Cop out!

  4. Yes, Good news lets hope the those teaching get the necessary training to discuss these issues sensatively and sensibly!Disappointing that the faith schools are exempt, what about the LGBT pupils in these schools?? or aren’t there any?? Ha Ha

  5. Good news. 10 years from now gay bullying will go down thanks to this.

  6. davevauxhall 5 Nov 2009, 4:59pm

    Once again religion gets a free pass to denigrate LGBT people. They will get some teaching about homosexuality presented in the context of bigotry and sponsored by the state. Given that most hate crime is committed by young adults this is not good enough.

  7. Victoria Barnes 5 Nov 2009, 5:16pm

    God, how disappointing. Great that most schools now have to educate kids about all kinds of sex. Bad because yet again religion gets a free pass as apparently their homophobia is part of their beliefs! How about we get rid of faith schools altogether? They are poisonous and dangerous environments where education becomes indoctrination. Children should be able to decide whether there is a God or not by themselves. They shouldn’t have religion shoved down their necks from the age of five upwards.

  8. Good move, but disappointing that religious schools get a free pass! How on earth will this be implemented on a practical level? And do we really want “tolerance” to be the standard with regards to sex and education? Homosexuality should not simply be “tolerated” – it should be accepted as a normal part of social life. To preach/educate otherwise is not equipping children with the necessary skills and knowledge to actually deal with the human differences that they will encounter in life.

  9. I wonder what the Tory’s are going to say about this?

    PC gone mad I shouldn’t wonder?

  10. Like I said, cop out. ‘Faith schools’ will carry on letting kids grow up as bigots who dislike other religions, let alone people who dare to stand out as something else.

    “What about the LGBT pupils in these schools??” Lizzie asked.

    Heaven help them!

  11. nick henderson 5 Nov 2009, 5:51pm

    So the government is going to teach young people that gay people are segregated into civil partnerships, and present this as a good thing? I would love to hear how a teacher would respond if a pupil said – ‘but isnt that discrimination?’

    Bet theres not an answer to that in the teaching guide.

  12. “will be made compulsory in schools from September 2011″

    The Tory’s will pull the plug by then!

  13. “One-third of schools in England are faith schools and the plans suggest that pupils could be taught about same-sex relationships while learning that they are against their religion.”

    Disgusting. Why should faith schools be allowed to denigrate us? Are they allowed to teach children about the Curse of Ham? Are they allowed to make racist comments as long as they say it’s part of their religion?

    With all the trouble caused by religious extremists, then stopping religions spreading hate and intolerance would be a good thing. I strongly object to being ‘tolerated’. It’s offensive crap.

  14. I agree with Matt (comment no.8), “Tolerance” is such an awful word, whats happened to out and outright ACCEPTANCE.

  15. That’s what you get from governments when you fawn over them in Downing street at Pride.

  16. Actually, its not even compulsory for everyone. I notice on the BBC website that parents will still be able to pull their children out of these classes up to the age of 15. Currently it is 19! So all the really loony far right religious types can force the schools to teach their kids nothing at all about the essential facts of life until they’re well over the age of sexual consent!

  17. Rachel Titley 5 Nov 2009, 7:07pm

    Most faith schools are primary schools. I attended a C of E primary school and a reasonably Christian secondary school, and attended church until… well, I still go, if I manage to get out of bed in the morning. I have never been told by my school that homosexuality is wrong, nor have I been told by my church. Maybe I got lucky, but I’m tempted to hope that most |Christian organisations in Britain, at least are actually adopting a ‘head in the sand’ approach and letting an entire generation pass through their gates able to make their own decisions.

  18. Allowing faith schools the option of teaching of the existence of gay relationships – but that they are wrong in the eyes of the ethos of the faith and school (i.e. 90% of what kids are exposed to, in faith schools) is wrong and shameful. This is a clear blurring of boundaries between law and faith. It should not be acceptable for any school to teach unsubstantiated bigotry. I have a problem with the ‘teaching’ element – the job of the education system is to raise ideas (equally, and fairly) and faciliate debate – NOT to indocrinate! Even if parents want them to! In addition, the mere existence of faith schools gives children a skewed impression of growing up – it is a poor and destructive social experiment which perpetuates harmful ideologies.

  19. Chris Keane 5 Nov 2009, 8:53pm

    I dated a girl from a faith school who had lots of gay and bisexual friends and I don’t think it’s a huge thing. I feel like in our country (UK) we do teach tolerance because they teach more n Jesus’ actions instead of the word of “God.”

    I may be completely wrong but as far as I’m concerned this is a step in the right direction. It’s a shame parents can opt-out of this but I think few will.

  20. but the few who will opt out will be the ones teaching their kids a gospel of hate.

  21. Believe me this is a HUGE step forward. There has been enormous work done behind the scenes to get PSHE (including sex education) made statutory. The purists may argue that faith schools and parents still have too much say but there are 2 points to bear in mind.

    1. Parents will no longer be able to remove their children from sex education after the age of 15. Very few ever did, but the significant issue is that with the teaching of sex education now being made statutory, those few voluble parents who had too much say in the determination of the sex education policy in a school will have significantly less opportunity to railroad their views through and give the other parents a fighting chance to formulate a decent policy. This is a very positive move forward.

    2. Faith schools will not have carte blanche to demonise gay and lesbian pupils or relationships. There will be clear guidance about how they have to present facts and opinions. No it is not the perfect solution, but good practice will increase and be accelerated by these measures.

    This is something to celebrate and support.

  22. HAHA……the church is going to freak!! About timwe they were told that they have to tow the line.

  23. its a step forward, yes.

  24. @Rose (3) More or less the same thought crossed my mind. I welcome and fully support the inclusion of gay relationship and HIV teaching in sex education but by excluding the religious sects – is it not perpetuating homophobia?

  25. This is a step in the right direction but tolerance? More clearly needs to be done. Time to end faith schools. I’m all for pupils being taught the same, including what different religions are about but surely the important thing is regardless of what a religious book says children must be taught that in Britain it is the norm to be gay, lesbian and we are free to be who we are. Also that people have the right to live their lives free from violence and discrimination.It’s what Should make us proud to be British but like I say a long way to go!

  26. faith schools should not be allowed to cop out and give a lower quality of education around sex and relationships, LGBT and contraception. Faith schools get money from the public taxes, I’m gay and pay taxes, I don’t want my money to go to organisations that perpetuate bigotry, hatred and cause our young people harm. Keep relious doctrine to the churches and religious lessons. Next faith schools will be teaching creation myth and not science.

  27. It’s not really compulsary is it ? Quote “They shouldn’t have religion shoved down their necks from the age of five upwards” or sex education either from 5 in my opinion

  28. Why are you all so desperate to teach from 5yrs old creepy sounds like paedophile talk to me.Don’t people have the right to opt out maybe they are not against gays but think it’s too young from 5yrs for example . If they don’t agree with stonewall or pink news are they bigots. I think we know who the real bigots are don’t we.

  29. Jaspar, you’re so right. Teaching children about how their bodies and emotions work in an age-appropriate way in order that they can understand good and bad intentions, learn to draw healthy boundaries, and mature into adults who have healthy relationships with their bodies and other peoples is just the thin end of the wedge. We can only protect children from paedophiles by keeping them ignorant and thereby perpetuating confusion and shame. It’s just so obvious.

  30. Where I do think we need to teach tolerance and same sex relationships etc in school, my main concern that teaching 5 year olds is a bit much? Am I the only one that thinks that it’s too young to start teaching kids about HIV and same sex relationships etc? Obviously they are not going to go into any great detail but I just think it’s a lot to explain to a child of that age. I am sure my 7 year old niece knows about me as she did an xmas card to me and my partner but I know that no one has mentioned it to her. I do honestly think its a step forward with teaching tolerance but the age just bothers me a bit. I think kids are expected to learn way too much at a young age now and I just feel that we are slowly taking the childhood/innocence away, expecting them to grow up quicker than they should

  31. “I think we know who the real bigots are don’t we.”

    Wild guess you?

    But seriously, teaching children about appropriate sexual awareness from a young age is answering a need that exists anyway. Kids as young as 4 start asking the “where do babes come from” question. And in my particular case, my 4 year old nephew asking why he has two uncles that live together and, as he put it, “are like mommy and daddy”. Its not paedophilia to answer that questions, its YOU who sounds a bit creepy for suggesting that, and it is wrong to lie to kids about what is a natural curiosity. The education can be appropriate around the right age, it can teach that gay relationships are not abnormal, as some right wing religious nuts believe for no reason other then to hate someone, and it doesn’t have to be graphic in nature. I’m sure you’d prefer brand all sex “wrong”, and we wait until they’re 18, but then what will you do when they ask at 15 years old “where did MY baby come from”?

  32. I second that, Will. The key word there is APPROPRIATE. Five year olds will NOT learn about sex. Each age group will learn things that are age appropriate. This does NOT mean five year olds will learn a diluted form of sex education – it means they will learn very, very simple things related to their own health, emotions and social understanding.

  33. Homophobia is the most rampant and ingrained form of prejudice in most societies, even more than racism, and is more subtle and institutionalised.

  34. I went to a Catholic school, and the reason I ignored most of my sixth year Religious Education class and spent it texting my friends instead was because my teacher spent most of the time he was supposed to talk to us about sex telling us that homosexuality is wrong and that sex outside of marriage is wrong, no matter how long you’ve been together; he also liked to try and tell us that sex (obviously within the boundaries of marriage) was for procreation only, and to have it for pleasure was a sin. I tried to have a fair discussion with him on the subject of LGBT, since my uncle was getting married at the time, and what he was saying really hit close to home – and he wouldn’t have it. So I ignored him. I believe he once yelled at me for having my phone out – I told him he was welcome to his views, but I did not agree with them, and if he tried to make me listen I would have to take it up with the Council and School Board. So he left me alone – but he still spewed his rubbish. (He was not the only teacher to think like this – he was just the only one who had the opportunity to voice his views to the class. He also didn’t like me for refusing to go to prayer sessions – even if he called them “meditation sessions”. When you tell someone to “breathe deep and picture the light of God’s love filling you,” that is nothing but a prayer session.)

    My point is, I suspect the reason for the faith’s schools’ somewhat exemption is because this was all they could get from them, using legislation which really, the school can’t deny if they want to remain open. This is much more than there was before, and it is progress. It’s not enough, I agree, but we always knew we would have our work cut out when it came to certain religions. It might take us longer – but that doesn’t mean we should give up.

    For the record, I don’t believe children as young as five should be taught about puberty and their bodies. Nine or ten, maybe. Children have to lose their innocence early enough these days – let’s allow them to keep what they can for a while longer. But marriage and civil partnerships and divorce from five? Speaking as someone who’s parents spilt when she was six, and had no idea what was going on, yes please.

  35. I agree the word tolerance has to go but then so does same-sex as it refers to us, our marriages etc. The fact is we dont often hear “opposite-sex.” I personally like to say I am in a same-gender relationship. It takes the sex part out and hopefully keeps wandering minds out of my bedroom. Would our struggles be less if we all used the phrase same-gender instead of same-sex?? Any thoughts??

  36. Gay kids should seriously consider pressing charges against their schools if their teaching demean their sexual orientation. In a few years time, after the initial test period we should see what’s really going on in some faith schools.

  37. “In the past young gay men have often been ignored in sex and relationships lessons in schools” – and by the sounds of it young gay women still will be.

  38. 21stCenturySpirituality 7 Nov 2009, 12:02pm

    Faith School Sex Lesson.

    Part 1. A Gay relationship is a sexual relatioship between two people of the same gender.

    Part 2. God condemns gay relationships, gay sex is an abomination to God, God hates gay people and on the day of judgement He will see that they are all burned in the lake of fire and sulphur.

    Part 3. Be tolerant.

  39. How easy can a teenager in any school, faith based or otherwise, possibly tell anyone else that they think they are gay? At best, they would end up being shunned. At worst, bullied, physically and verbally. School is a nasty place. And I don’t think these lessons are going to help change that very much.

  40. i think it’s good that the government are finally introducing compulsary SRE. i came out in year 11, and didn’t get anywhere near the amount of homophobic abuse i thought i’d get, but if you are taught that it’s ok, then it’ll cut it down even more. well done government, and i believe personally that the tories will keep this in, especially with at least one shadow cabinet member being openly gay and in a civil partnership

  41. Rose: “School is a nasty place. And I don’t think these lessons are going to help change that very much.”

    I agree, but better some attempt at fighting the core of so much homophobia, which is simple ignorance. Until I was 12 or 13, I didn’t even know how babies were made, let alone why sad, desperate old queens need the desire to hang around in public parks at 1 ‘o’ clock in the morning.

    Ah well, I’m sure the Catholic schools will continue with their own brand of sex education for many years to come. “Patrick! See me after class!”

  42. jaxxy
    >
    > I agree the word tolerance has to go but then so does
    > same-sex as it refers to us, our marriages etc. The fact is we
    > dont often hear “opposite-sex.” I personally like to say I am in
    > a same-gender relationship. It takes the sex part out and
    > hopefully keeps wandering minds out of my bedroom. Would our
    > struggles be less if we all used the phrase same-gender instead
    > of same-sex?? Any thoughts??

    Same-sex marriages are illegal by deliberate government policy in the UK, same-gender marriages aren’t. It is same-sex discrimination we need to fight. So, no, sorry.

  43. Laura:
    >
    > For the record, I don’t believe children as young as five
    > should be taught about puberty and their bodies. Nine or ten,
    > maybe. Children have to lose their innocence early enough these
    > days – let’s allow them to keep what they can for a while
    > longer. But marriage and civil partnerships and divorce from
    > five? Speaking as someone who’s parents spilt when she was six,
    > and had no idea what was going on, yes please.

    So you only back what would have helped you! Why wait to nine or ten to teach about puberty when puberty starts with many kids at seven or eight, and they can see it happening to older kids in their schools? You think that doesn’t make younger kids wonder, speculate, and start getting odd ideas, or even fearful? The same for sexism and gender roles, and acceptance of those who don’t fit what the child may already have learned. The point of the education is to provide it at the point where children are curious but hopefully haven’t already absorbed misinformation (and worse) from their peers. Because un-teaching is really difficult. That starts when they start school and really find themselves amongst many varied people, with even more varied families, constantly.

    Myself, I was a very transsexual child long before I started school, at four and a half. I had figured out male puberty, it terrified me, and I wanted to avoid it. I think by that first day I had only played with boys about 2 hours total, and it showed immediately when I declined to play football at morning break. From that point on I was bullied in every class, in every break, and on every journey home for the next 14 years, and not one teacher ever tried to help. Indeed many joined in, enthusiastically. A bit of teaching in the first months that it was OK not to match the common gender roles would have been helpful, I think, if they can find a teacher who believes it.

    But then, even though people here are saying it is good for LGBT, I don’t see the government saying anything about “T” on this. So exactly what those few dozen kids like me who join UK schools every year will be faced with on the tender topic of puberty I shudder to think.

    I’ve already seen teaching resources for 5 year-olds that have a naked boy and girl, pre- and post-puberty for the child to colour in, with kids expected to name the parts and tested on which will be their future. If I had been confronted with that I would been in instant, public melt-down, despite my mother’s dire threats (back then I would have been in a mental ward for life, with electro-convusive shock therapy for good measure, for life, even at 5) if I said anything to anyone about it. It will bring forward the point where schools need to acknowledge kids are transsexual, Yet there is no provision to help the kids, the parents, or the schools on that – the government is only just on the point of acknowledging kids can need help before 16., never mind at 5, and their “experts” are still saying kids cannot know their own minds until 18.

  44. Bob:
    >
    > Homophobia is the most rampant and ingrained form of
    > prejudice in most societies, even more than racism, and is more
    > subtle and institutionalised.

    I think that honour actually goes to sexism. Perhaps, as a guy, you don’t see it.

  45. The pre-schools could start by getting rid of gender stereotypes. Get rid of the idea of the girls corner with dolls and wendy houses and the boys corner with sand pit and tonka toys. A girl who wants to play with the tonka toys and the boy in the wendy house shouldn’t be made to feel ‘wrong’.

  46. rose:
    > The pre-schools could start by getting rid of gender
    > stereotypes. Get rid of the idea of the girls corner with dolls
    > and wendy houses and the boys corner with sand pit and tonka
    > toys. A girl who wants to play with the tonka toys and the boy
    > in the wendy house shouldn’t be made to feel ‘wrong’.

    But then you’d get the Wendy House used as maintenance facility for Tonka Toys, or some-such.

    Reminds me of the one occasion, around 5, when the girls invited me to play with them, instead of sitting alone on the steps, and boys immediately took my presence as permission for them to invade the space, taking the skipping rope, etc.. So I felt I had to absent myself in order that the girls be allowed anywhere to play.

    We are losing on stereotypes though, not winning, these days. The toys are ever more specifically targetted, the stores more divided, the catalogues too.

    Pre-school tends not to be so bad in that respect though. The real killer is secondary school, which, in the UK, is often “single-sex”, and when most there are super-conscious of sexual and gender differences.

    But reducing stereotypes does nothing for those who know their body is not right (not to mention one’s name, all those times when teachers divide pupils by sex, etc.). Having body parts naming in the official curriculum in the earliest days of schooling brings that into the sharpest possible focus.

  47. i have been subject to this new ‘breakthrough’ in PSHE. all we have learnt about LGBT relationships is that gay people are more likely to have more partners and more likely to contract HIV. nothing about bullying or about the emotional implications.

    i find this really disappointing, especially considering that at least 7% of teenagers are gay or bisexual according to studies. it’s basically a complete cop-out in my opinion-people are too scared to confront the underlying homophobia and biphobia in this country, so they just skirt around it by teaching the bare minimum so as not to upset anyone.

    oh, and there was NOTHING about bisexuals. amongst both heterosexual and homosexual people there is an element of biphobia-believing bisexuals don’t exist; they’re either gay people trying to deny it, or straight, ‘experimental’ people. I can’t think of many other reasons why they’d exclude bisexuals completely; up to about 5% of people are bi.

    LGBT teens need more support than this!

  48. Pupils must be taught not to belittle anyone about anything. Surely being a slow learner or,being overweight is also humiliating if people are laughed about that. These problems are also harder to hide. Gay people are free to tell others or simply keep this information to themselves. Those overweight, slow learning, or unfortunately simply not physically attractive would find it not just much harder to keep to themselves but by and large impossible. Surely it is not a reasonable excuse to bring sexual orientation into all this. Do not belittle others about anything is the message we must promote.

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