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MPs swamped with Valentine’s cards calling for sex and relationship education

Nick Duffy February 14, 2017

Students have sent hundreds of handmade Valentine’s Day cards today… to their MPs.

The cards are part of a campaign urging MPsto back mandatory Sex and Relationships Education in every school, after proposals were blocked by Tory MPs last month.

Hundreds of MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, Iain Duncan-Smith, Chuka Ummana and Education Secretary Justine Greening received hand-made Valentine’s Day cards via students in their constituency.

The campaign, the result of a partnership between Terrence Higgins Trust, National Student Pride and the NUS LGBT+ campaign, is calling for statutory SRE guidelines to ensure schools properly prepare young people for sex in the 21st century.

Explaining why she is backing the campaign, 23 year old student Angie Normandale, said: “My SRE had no relationships, no consent, no gender, and no pleasure. It was scaremongering, and only talked about periods and hormones for two hours.”

20 year old Charlie Mathers, currently studying at Westminster University, added: “My SRE was the stereotypical split up of boys and girls, where we all watched the same video of how babies were made. There was also an awkward picture book. That was it.

“I think that fear comes from not understanding, so inclusive sex and relationships education could help with prevent things like homophobia. My life would have been better with more SRE.”

A worrying 95% of young people were not taught about LGBT relationships, and 75% were not taught about consent, according to recent research from Terrence Higgins Trust, while 99% young people surveyed thought SRE should be compulsory in every school.

Alex Phillips, campaigns and parliamentary officer at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “Valentine’s Day has very little to do with real relationships.

“Today more than ever, people are saturated with impossible ideals about romance, but because of poor or non-existent Sex and Relationships Education, they are completely unprepared for the realities of sex and relationships in 2017.

“A few weeks ago, MPs missed a vital opportunity to introduce compulsory SRE as part of the Children and Social Work Bill. We must not let this happen again – the Bill could represent an end to the silence that has left so many at risk of poor sexual and mental health.

“MPs cannot miss any more chances to safeguard young people.”

LGBT students from universities and colleges across the country joined the charity for a series of card-making sessions last week. Each of the Valentine’s cards carries a rainbow heart, and a personalised message about SRE.

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