This opinion article was printed June 03 2011 in The Guardian
I am deeply troubled by the proposed PEI Family Party. Their policy on “Freedom from sexual indoctrination” in education compares lesbian and trans identity to pedophilia and bestiality. It also implies that these sex crimes are “normalize(ed), promot(ed) or propagate(ed)” in the public school system. These policies are deeply offensive and have no place in Island politics.
Yes, there is “sexual indoctrination” in schools, but not because the curriculum is promoting sex crimes, or even doing enough to acknowledge the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) identities. All youth are pressured, harassed, and intimidated into expressing their gender and sexuality in restricted and/or unhealthy ways. Even straight boys are the target of homophobic violence if they fail to act masculine enough – if they figure skate, for example, or (god forbid) cry.
The cost of not teaching about and “normalizing” identities in the school system is extremely high: island families risk losing their children. LGBT youth have a much higher rate of suicide and attempted suicide because their schools, their peers, their families, and their communities do not recognize or accept their identity. LGBT youth will also seize the first opportunity to move away since they experience harassment, intimidation, and/or violence in the school system from students and teachers alike.
The PEI Family Party’s policies on “freedom from sexual indoctrination” are but the tip of the iceberg. Also on the agenda is revoking the rights of non-traditional families, including common-law couples with children, and eliminating all legislation recognizing same-sex marriage. Also chilling is their policy requiring women seeking abortion to read materials and watch videos made by pro-life groups. They would also effectively privatize education by taking money away from the public school system to pay for private schools. Employment equity and pay equity policies are also on the chopping block. It is clear that the PEI Family Party’s concerns are rooted in American-style evangelical Christianity, and I, for one, do not welcome this addition to PEI’s political landscape.
** for more information follow these links … Queer Theory, LGBT, ARC PEI … I tried to find even a curriculum outline for the current sexual education program in Island Schools but I couldn’t find anything …. If you would like to find that information you can most likely request it from the PEI Dept. of Education – becka