Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sex Ed in the New Millennium


In 1979, my mother attended a parent council meeting in Kingston, Nova Scotia.  The topic: SEX EDUCATION.  (Gasp!)  The community was up in arms - what were they going to be teaching our kids??  If you teach kids about sex, all they'll want to do is try it for themselves!! Sex Education belongs in the home!!!

The classes at Kingston Elementary School were not mandatory. If you felt that teaching your child this information at home was better for said child, you had every right to do so.  Problem was... the kids who were being pulled from the Sex Ed classes weren't likely to be getting sex education at home.  They were given instructions to abstain and the rest was radio silence. 

Fast forward to Ontario 2015.  A new Sex Ed curriculum is in the pipeline for September of 2015.  At the beginning of May, panicky parents across Ontario were pulling their kids from school to protest the proposed fall Sex Ed curriculum.

Here's the kicker... the Sex Ed component of Ontario health classes is not mandatory.  Let me repeat that: THE SEX EDUCATION COMPONENT OF ONTARIO HEALTH CLASSES IS NOT MANDATORY.  So basically, if you don't want your kid to be educated about puberty, the concept of consent, safe sex, gender diversity, STIs, and masturbation - your kid doesn't have to.  You can opt them out.  Because why?  Because...


By all means, pull your kids out of the classes.  If Sexual Education goes against your belief system, makes you uncomfortable - pull your kids.  Go for it.  But that's all I'll let you have.  If you protest what MY child could be learning, if you protest that kids should know that a vagina is a vagina and a penis is a penis and that STIs are bad?  I'm going to have to smack you upside the head.  When you protest discussions about consent, safe-sex (for everyone on this planet, regardless of sexual orientation),  and the fact that mutual masturbation is a viable option in place of having intercourse?  It makes me want to parade uninformed 13 year old pregnant girls in front of you.  It makes me want to force you to look full on at the physical effects of gonorrhea.  It makes me want you to listen in extreme discomfort as  kindergartners tell stories about adults who touched them IN (not on) one of their private spots because they were never told that they could say "NO" to a grown up.

Your kid DOESN'T HAVE TO TAKE THE COURSE.  But please, don't tell me that my kid shouldn't be educated because potential Sex Ed topics make you feel 'icky.'  Sex Education isn't for you.  It's for the kids who are rounding 2nd base on their way to 3rd while possibly being pressured to allow someone to slide home or having the urge to slide home themselves.  Just like you probably did.  My generation got a quick thrill from looking at a skin mag.  My daughter's?  They can find free porn on the Internet that shows six guys jerking off onto a woman's face.   And unless they're told differently, they think that this is something that 'all chicks dig.' 

Sex in 2015 ain't squeaky clean, it ain't easy and it sure as hell ain't simple.  Yes, it can be amazing when you're mature enough to deal with its emotional fall out, but without education - proper education - (not just what they hear from peers, or what they can Google on the Internet) - kids have to walk through a mine field.  I want the Sex Ed we talk about at home supported by the educational equivalent of a bomb squad to keep my daughter informed and sexually safe.  Knowing there are parents out there who don't want my daughter informed and sexually safe, scares the crap out of me.  Knowing there are parents who would rather have their children uninformed, flailing in the dark when it comes to the most basic functions of their bodies is freaking terrifying.

Sure, we might dream of a world where abstinence is choice number one, but it's 2015 - most kids with a cell phone will be sexting at some point.  The kids with the knowledge?  They generally aren't the ones who think that condoms alone will stop you from getting knocked up.  They aren't the ones who inadvertently spread chlamydia, because they don't know what it looks or feels like.   Sure, you go ahead and keep your kids out of Sex Ed, go for it... but don't you even think about telling me that my daughter shouldn't have access to that knowledge. One of my major priorities as the parent of a teenage girl is not to become a grandparent before my daughter graduates high school, so I'll take ALL the help I can get thanks.

1 comment:

  1. You need to submit this essay to all our major newspapers, this is perfect