British teachers’ union pushes LGBT education for toddlers
Sexuality | The group says lack of education on homosexuality and transgender issues hurts students and teachers
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 4/20/17, 12:58 pm
Britain’s largest teachers’ union thinks toddlers should be included in expanded compulsory LGBT education programs.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) passed a motion Monday calling on British lawmakers to campaign for compulsory sex education classes and the “promotion of LGBT+ matters for all schools from nursery throughout all phases of state education,” according to The Times of London.
The group decried the current “lack of policies which promote LGBT+ within schools,” causing a “significant negative impact” on the well-being of homosexual and transgender students and teachers. Expanding sex and relationship education (SRE) programs would ensure those students “are told explicitly in the law that their lives are important too.”
Current law in Britain requires mandatory SRE classes in council-controlled secondary schools, but not academies and free schools, which make up the majority of secondary schools.
In March, amid pressure to update requirements to better educate children about sexuality and safety in an age of online pornography, cyber bullying, and sexting, Education Secretary Justine Greening announced that all primary and secondary schools would be required to teach children “age-appropriate” SRE classes.
But union delegates want the government to go two steps farther. Their motion says sex education should include the promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues—including safe-sex guidance for gay and lesbian sex for secondary school students—and also require that sex education start at the nursery level with children as young as 2 years old.
“This new legislation has moved us forward, but it is not inclusive,” Annette Pryce, a member of the union’s executive committee and a teacher in Buckinghamshire told The Telegraph, noting that a “right wing, religious lobby” prevented ministers from proposing a more expansive agenda.
Kiri Tunks, the union’s vice president and an East London teacher, said Greening’s announcement was a “victory,” but “there is still a long, long way to go.”
A recent union brochure advocating for transgendered teachers pushes back on the idea that children are too young to cope with the concept: “Children’s literature is full of transformation stories. If a mouse can become a footman and a frog can become a man without traumatizing young minds, then men and women crossing gender roles is a tame idea by comparison.”
Greening’s updated plan would still allow parents and religious schools to opt out of required SRE programs.
The union motion condemned that exemption. Tunks called the opt-out a “dangerous loophole” leaving “many young people ignorant and vulnerable.”
But critics are not buying it.
“It seems nothing is off-limits for adult bullies who want to use young children as a tool in their misguided agenda,” said Laura Perrins, co-editor of the Conservative Woman website.
Ciarán Kelly, head of communications at The Christian Institute, a British advocacy group, insisted toddlers are too young to understand issues of sexuality: “The NUT’s motion is yet another example of adults pursuing a political agenda at the expense of vulnerable children—it’s shocking and immoral.”
Other countries are embracing a more aggressive campaign for compulsory sex education that promotes the LGBT agenda. In 2015, Ontario, Canada, instituted a mandatory K-8 sex education curriculum with lessons on gender identity, homosexuality, masturbation, anal and oral sex, condom use, and sexual consent. Schools are not allowed to opt out, and parents are not allowed to withdraw students from the class because of family or religious values.