The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has published some new guidelines for sexuality education. I read them today because I was disturbed enough by the news headlines regarding them that I figured it warranted spending an hour of my time to read the original document. And now I'm in the market for some small pills to keep Michael little, because yikes!
UNESCO states that these guidelines have been published because "getting the right information that is scientifically accurate, non-judgmental, age-appropriate and complete, at an early age, is something to which all children and young people are entitled. In the absence of this, children and young people will often receive conflicting and sometimes damaging messages from their peers, the media or other sources. Good quality sexuality education balances this through the provision of correct information and an emphasis on values."
It's intended purpose is to "assist schools in the development and implementation of sexuality education programs" and UNESCO insists throughout that the guidelines are "age-appropriate". So what kind of age-appropriate material are we talking about here? (I have taken these discussion topics word for word from their publication, which you can read here if you so desire):
Discussion topics for 5-8 year olds:
* The difference between consensual sexual activity and forced sex
* Touching and rubbing one's genitals is called masturbation
* Masturbation is not harmful, but should be done in private
* How HIV and other STIs are spread
* Specific means of preventing unintended pregnancy
* Many boys and girls begin to masturbate during puberty
* Definition and function of orgasm
* Options available to teenagers who are unintentionally pregnant
* Gender stereotyping in pornography
* People do not choose their sexual orientation or gender identity
* Masturbation is a safe and valid expression of sexuality
* Definitions of gender identity and sexual orientation
* Advocacy to promote the right to safe abortion
* Sexual activity can provide pleasure
* Sexual behaviors can be pleasurable and without risk of unintended pregnancy and STIs, including HIV
There is a whole lot of blather about "values" and "personal beliefs" scattered throughout, which seems like it has been thrown in there to quiet those who might be up in arms over their five-year-olds being taught how to masturbate. I mean, what good is discussing one's personal values in class if they have already been thoroughly trashed by "scientifically accurate, non-judgmental" lessons on what is normal and appropriate? And how could any person think it's appropriate to discuss gender stereotyping in pornography with 12-year-olds or give explicit details on sexually transmitted diseases to a class full of kindergartners?
They say that they are hoping to prevent children from being confused by damaging messages coming from the media, their peers, or other sources. You mean "other sources" like this publication from UNESCO? What makes them think the messages they are sending are not damaging? How are they excused from responsibility for what they are telling these young people?
I recognize that not all parents are responsible enough to talk to their children about sexuality, but pulling the rug out from under parents who do want to discuss these types of serious topics with their children (at an appropriate age and time) is simply inexcusable.
Sigh. Who knew I was going to have to send Michael to kindergarten with earplugs?