Sex education under attack: European human rights group cites Birmingham school protests

Sex education under attack: European human rights group cites Birmingham school protests
Posted on 28 Jul 2020

Europe’s leading human rights organisation has said that sex education is under attack across the continent, including in the UK, and has cited last year’s Birmingham protests by way of example.

The Council of Europe’s commissioner on human rights, Dunja Mijatović, highlighted the protests in a blog, warning that campaigns across Europe were seeking to spread “disinformation” about sex education.

The Birmingham protests took place outside two predominantly Muslim primary schools, with activists joining parents to demonstrate against the teaching of LGBT-inclusive lessons which they felt were not age-appropriate. 

In the blog, Mijatović wrote: “Campaigns have multiplied across the continent, disseminating distorted or misleading information about existing sexuality education curricula.”

She continued: “They have presented sexuality education as sexualising children at an early age, ‘propaganda in favour of homosexuality’, spreading ‘gender ideology’, and depriving parents of their right to educate their children in accordance with their values and beliefs.

“Disinformation about the actual contents of the curriculum is deliberately spread to scare parents."

Mijatović also wrote: “Existing sexuality education curricula often tend to completely exclude LGBTI people and issues, or even to stigmatise them. Yet, LGBTI youth frequently face bullying at school and are at higher risk of committing self-harm or suicide because of societal rejection of their sexual orientation. Like all other children, they should be provided with comprehensive sexuality education that meets their needs. Therefore, sexuality education must include information that is relevant to them, scientifically accurate and age-appropriate. This means helping children to understand sexual orientation and gender identity and dispelling common myths and stereotypes about LGBTI persons.

“By providing factual, non-stigmatising information on sexual orientation and gender identity as one aspect of human development, comprehensive sexuality education can help save lives. It can contribute to combating homophobia and transphobia, at school and beyond, and to creating a safer and more inclusive learning environment for all.”

Relationships education will become compulsory in England’s state primary schools from the autumn term, while relationships and sex education will be compulsory in secondary schools.


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