Many of you are aware of the #SupportSexEd campaign on social media, which we have been participating in on Twitter and Facebook.
Sherbourne Health Centre has announced our official position on the curriculum changes:
Ontario’s Health and Physical Education Curriculum
The Government of Ontario plans to implement a new Ontario Health
and Physical Education Curriculum (Elementary) in September. The
curriculum, which will be the first update since 1998, will follow other
provinces, such as Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
The Curriculum has been opposed by some parents and community
groups, who deem it incompatible with their values, or challenge the
education system’s role in teaching such subject matter. At times,
objections have taken a homophobic and/or transphobic tone, leading
the Premier of Ontario to call the criticism “homophobic”.
As a health care organization providing services and support to diverse
communities (including youth, LGBTQ people and newcomers to
Canada) Sherbourne supports a curriculum that provides safe space
for discussion about all sexual orientations and gender identities,
different types of families, consent and safer sex.
We believe that an evidence-based, factual, respectful and inclusive
approach to sex education plays an important role in supporting
informed choices that lead to health and wellbeing.
How do you feel about sex ed?
We have heard from many of parents who are involved in the LGBTQ Parenting Network that you are concerned about overt and implicit homophobia, heterosexism, and transphobia from groups opposing the curriculum changes.
The new curriculum includes information about families with LGBTQ parents, and it has been attacked on that basis.
One of the attacks that is quite common is that kids are too young to be taught about sex, sexuality, gender identity, and their bodies at the ages proposed by the curriculum.
We believe that there are age-appropriate ways to discuss these topics at any age, and that no age is too young. For some ideas of how to celebrate sexual orientation and gender diversity in families in early childhood educational settings, including schools and daycares, check out our webpage: Celebrating LGBTQ Parenting.
Share these resources with others, and please keep letting us know your thoughts on the curriculum changes.
Talking to your Kids about Homophobia & Transphobia in the Media
People who are otherwise not given a platform are appearing on TV and radio to voice the homophobia and transphobia which underlies their criticism of this curriculum change.
This guide from MyGSA give parents some tips for talking with kids about homophobia.
- You may wish to have a pro-active discussion with your kids. Let them know that you are open to speaking with them about this issue.
- Sometimes our kids may feel they have to protect us from homophobia and transphobia. Let your kids know that you know what is being said and you are willing to discuss it.
- For younger kids: you may also wish to limit how much TV and radio coverage of this issue your kids are exposed to, even passively, if the radio is on in the background while you are doing other things.
- For older kids: check in with your kids – what have they learned about this from media and social media. Do they understand how this curriculum will affect them?
- If your kids are curious about the new curriculum, encourage them to read it and tell you what they think.
If you need further resources, feel free to contact us.
For more information:
LGBTQ Parenting Network
(416) 324-4100 ext. 5276