Same-sex education 'essential' in curriculum

LGBT rights activist Rodney Croome

LGBT rights activist Rodney Croome

DISCUSSION of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual safe-sex and relationship issues should be compulsory in every school’s sex education curriculum, according to advocacy groups.

Working It Out executive officer Susan Ditter said educators should not remain silent on same-sex relations.

‘‘It should be acknowledged so that people who are same-sex attracted feel that they are included,’’ she said.

‘‘There are some schools where it happens ... but there is a long way to go.’’

The quality of sexual education in schools was raised in the 2013 National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health.

It revealed that 66 per cent of respondents found their sex education provided little information for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex teens.

‘‘My school didn’t talk about safe sex for LBGTIQ people and as a result I know a few same sex attracted girls are under the impression that they don’t have to worry about getting STIs from having sex with other girls,’’ one surveyed teen responded.

Tasmania has been applauded for its Guidelines for Supporting Sexual and Gender Diversity in Schools and Colleges document, which helps schools foster environments that recognise LGBTI children, young people and staff.

Rainbow Communities chair Diedre Murray said discussions about varied sexuality and gender should begin from an early age.

‘‘We need to be teaching children from five onwards that people can love whoever they like ... they have to understand that there is more than just one choice and not every girl is going to grow up and have children,’’ she said.

LGBT rights activist Rodney Croome said same-sex attracted people were coming out at an earlier age, thus increasing the need to provide quality information about same-sex attractions in schools.

‘‘If sex ed fails to mention same-sex attraction it can send same-sex attracted young people the message that there is something wrong with them,’’ he said.

‘‘It can also force them to seek information from all the wrong places.’’

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