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Peter Tatchell: ‘Make gay sex education mandatory in all schools’

September 18, 2014

Peter Tatchell is supporting calls for statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education, which is LGBT inclusive.

The human rights campaigner has signed an open letter from LGBT groups and campaigners, calling for the subject to be compulsory taught in schools.

Signatories of the letter include PinkNews, the Conservative peer Lord Fowler, TV doctor Dr Christian Jessen, Stonewall, and various sexual health charities.

The open letter was written in support of the Sex Education Forum’s current campaign – ‘It’s My Right’ – which is lobbying for government agreement to guarantee every pupil, in every school, high quality sex and relationship education, as part of PSHE.

One in three gay men diagnosed with HIV in 2012 were in their teens or early twenties, yet 85% of gay and bisexual men receive no information about same-sex relationships in school.

“Sexual literacy is just as important as literacy in reading and writing,” Peter Tatchell told PinkNews.co.uk.

“Education is, after all, supposed to prepare young people for later life. Sex and relationships are a very important part of adulthood. Why, then, are they neglected in so many schools?”

The campaigner continued: “All pupils deserve lessons that empower them to make wise, responsible decisions to ensure their sexual health and happiness and to reduce the incidence of unwanted teenage pregnancies, abortions and HIV.

“This failing is even more acute for LGBTI pupils, whose needs and welfare are widely ignored – leaving many with low self-esteem and without same-sex specific HIV prevention advice.”

He added: “Not surprisingly, HIV rates among young gay and bisexual men are needlessly high and the bullying of pupils who don’t conform to gender stereotypes passes unchallenged in too many schools.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas has tabled a Private Members’ Bill requiring the government to make PSHE a statutory requirement for schools.

The bill will receive its second reading on Friday 24 October.

The government has previously rejected implementing the policy, although Education Secretary Nicky Morgan hinted earlier this month that she could be moving towards supporting statutory PSHE.

It’s expected she will outline her position ahead of the vote in October.

Liberal Democrat Justice Minister Simon Hughes said he expected that Lib Dem MPs would vote in favour of the bill.

However with the vote taking place on a Friday – and likely to be unwhipped – success will depend on ensuring enough supportive MPs are in the Commons and not in their constituencies.

 

 

More: England, human rights campaigner, Lord Fowler, Peter Tatchell, PSHE, schools, sex education

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