Sunday, 8 November 2015

Let's talk about sex, baby

"Millions of young people enter adulthood sexually and emotionally illiterate. Many subsequently endure disordered relationships, ranging from unfulfilling to outright abusive. The result? Much unhappiness – and sometimes mental and physical ill-health. The lack of effective - and statutory - sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools is part of the problem. It is mostly vague and euphemistic, with too little detail and not enough explicitness to be of practical benefit. Much of it concentrates on the biological facts of reproduction, often concerning other species such as rabbits. Very little teaching is actually about sex - or relationships. And it starts too late; usually after young people have become sexually active and adopted bad habits such as unsafe sex."
The annual address by the admirable gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell to the LGBT Humanists (the artist formerly known as GALHA) - which I and Paul attended on Friday - took a distinctly critical look at the lamentable state of the British education system, when it comes down to educating the nation's kids about sex.

Nothing new here, I suppose - I assume that just about everyone in our cross-generational audience entered the weird and wonderful world of sexual discovery at best misinformed, at worst wracked with guilt, and essentially unprepared for "that moment" when the cherry gets popped. Sex "education" as far as I recall consisted of the Ladybird book "Your Body", playground gossip, the underpants pages of the Littlewoods catalogue, confusing medical diagrams, tabloid outrage, porn, and a red-faced and downright embarrassing ten-minute chat with a parent...

Mr Tatchell's proposals - and you can read them in full on the Teach Secondary educators' resource website - are sensible (if likely to set the pig-dogs at the Daily Mail frothing at the mouth with outrage), including frank discussion about matters of consent and enjoyment, safer sex and alternatives to penetration, difference and diversity (including gay and bisexual experiences), and (most important of all) accurate information about the "how, what, when, where and why" of sex and relationships.

It was another lively and thought-provoking evening that generated plenty of debate (despite the session being somewhat shorter than usual as Peter had to travel cross-country for another engagement) - and yet again served to prove that it takes someone like Mr Tatchell to say the things that people (particularly our benighted and under-educated political leaders) need to hear.

More power to the man!

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  1. Thanks for this! Quick note - we've now dropped the 'Galha' from our name and are known simply as 'LGBT Humanists'.

    1. Thanks Richard - it was a good evening!


      PS name change noted


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