Recently, under new progressive conservative leadership, the province of Ontario has reverted back to a sexual education program that has not been taught since the 1980’s. I normally don’t get involved in stuff like this, but if we don’t use our voice, we lose it.
I’ve sent the letter to Lisa Thompson. I don’t expect a reply, but at the very least I’ve had my say.
Dear Lisa Thompson,
I was horrified to hear that the sexual education curriculum would be reverting from its current inclusive structure to favour the older, non-inclusive style of teaching. As a gay man, I find this very disappointing.
When I was taught sexual education, I already knew that I was gay. I knew from a very young age that I preferred boys instead of girls, only I wasn’t given the words or the knowledge of who I was until many years later.
My sexual education focused on heterosexual intercourse. There was nothing about being gay or lesbian, trans or queer. We were not taught about consent or same sex marriage. We weren’t taught about bullying or body shaming. We were taught none of that.
I remember when sexual education was started. I was in grade five and I was ten years old. I had already known for two years that I was a homosexual. I already knew that I was different from the other kids.
During one class, one of my other classmates put up their hand and asked about two women or two men being together. I was amazed at her bravery. I had been quaking to ask about two men, but I had not been courageous enough. The teacher very politely and gently told her that this was wrong, that a woman should only be with a man. That was the extent of sexual education about myself as a child.
As I grew, the world changed around me. Gay marriage became legal and there were a plethora of other genders and sexual identities that came to light. Even as an almost forty-year-old man, I am learning about them and what those genders and sexual identities mean. Are we to deny our kids the same right to that knowledge?
With knowledge comes power. Reverting to the old sexual education system only makes sure that they will not have that knowledge. They will know nothing of consent, gender identity, gender-based violence, homophobia. Under the old education system, the children will not even learn about the legalization of homosexuality and the celebration that this was. It is as if you are asking me to hide who I am once more like I did when I was eight years old.
The world can be a dark place sometimes and it’s up to us to arm our children with the light that will see through the dark. I implore you to arm children with the knowledge that they should have in this world. For with that knowledge, they have the power.
Thank you for your time,