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Dear Editor: Religious and feminist factions competing to provide sex education—both are wrong

“The Family Planning Association in its own statement on the issue admits that Comprehensive Sex Education covers ‘the same topics as sex education but it also includes issues such as relationships, attitudes towards sexuality, sexual roles, gender relations and the social pressures to be sexually active’.

“But why should education officials be given the authority to tell children what kind of relationships and attitudes are correct, when those children’s parents might have different views?”

The following Letter to the Editor on sex education was sent to Wired868 by writer Kevin Baldeosingh of Freeport:

Photo: Sex education is needed in local schools.

At first blush, the issue of sex education in schools seems entirely straightforward: children will make better choices if they know about sex and reproduction.

In that context, the narrow views of the Trinidad and Tobago Council of Evangelical Churches is clearly wrong-headed. This is because these fundamentalist Christians promote a view of sex which is not fact-based and which exacerbates intolerance of certain groups, such as homosexuals.

Unfortunately, the views of those who support sex education in schools may also be wrong-headed, since the alternative that may be introduced to schools is also not fact-based. The Family Planning Association in its own statement on the issue admits that Comprehensive Sex Education covers “the same topics as sex education but it also includes issues such as relationships, attitudes towards sexuality, sexual roles, gender relations and the social pressures to be sexually active.”

But why should education officials be given the authority to tell children what kind of relationships and attitudes are correct, when those children’s parents might have different views?

As for “sexual roles and gender relations”, that curriculum is being informed by a feminist ideology which holds that gender and sexual orientation are entirely the result of socialisation rather than, as the scientific research says, biology mediated by a narrow range of environmental factors. So the feminist perspective is really just as superstitious as the religious one, and prosecuted with equal evangelical fervour.

Photo: A satirical take on education.

What nobody in this whole debate wants to acknowledge is that there is a specific cohort of children, defined by residence and race and lower socio-economic status, who are most affected by Sexually Transmitted Diseases and early pregnancy. This cohort already knows a lot about sex, and in fact have entirely rational reasons for being sexually active.

In that context, even a scientifically-based sex education programme is useless unless these children are given concrete incentives to delay sex and motherhood.

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5 comments

  1. “Concrete incentives to delay sex and motherhood”. I came across an interesting study which suggests an evolutionary basis for high rates of pregnancies in low socioeconomic populations. Essentially, organisms with lower life expectancy tend to have more offspring to ensure proliferation of their genes. Consider the survival rate of leatherback turtles for example and the number of eggs laid.

    Using this model, the way to address these issues seem to be educating that population, not just on matters of human sexuality but simply to education to improve standards of living. Of course a Human sexuality course never hurt anyone.

  2. The Minister of Sports should be talking about Sports education for our young sporting personalities especially young footballers who are trying to ply their trade abroad. They are unable to read and understand a contract, resultant to which they are being exploited by both local and foreign clubs. There is an urgent need for literacy in the sporting fraternity.

  3. You are spot on Cliff Bertrand, however, our politicians generally just look for mileage so they throw things around for people like you to impart your skills set and then they take them and run with them, making them their own.

  4. Human Sexuality; Not Sexual Education
    I was flabbergasted to read what the Honorable Minister of Sports had on her mind about Sexual Education .However, my status as a Health Educator with Graduate credentials in the Social Sciences from Yeshiva University, NYC
    I am an Administrator in the field of Teaching, Supervision and Curriculum Development from Columba University. The area of concentration should be Human Sexuality. The term Sexual Education has no place in modern day conversation. It a turn off which implies Male /Female contraceptives.
    Human Sexuality covers human interaction within the portfolio of the social sciences. This has the roots of development at all appropriate age levels.
    A contemporary view of human sexuality fosters personal reflection and critical thinking skills as they apply to the student’s vicarious versus direct experiences.
    If one examines the concept of Human Sexuality in our Changing nation landscape you will realize that this society’s landscape provides a very clear view of diversity ; this could be directed at helping students understand the consequences of misinformed effects of both biology and culture upon our public understanding of Human Sexuality.
    In order to substitute a more personal and impactful learning experience,
    Teachers must encourage students to reflect upon their own beliefs and involvements as they proceed through the learning familiarities.
    Trained Teachers must update their lesson planning with new content; they must engage students in adoptive ways in which the Internet and digital devices have impacted sexuality in many modern-day societies.
    The teacher must provide an interactive learning environment that enables students to read, practice, and study in one continuous experience in transition.
    Human Sexuality education is more than the instruction of children and adolescents on anatomy and the physiology of biological sex and reproduction.
    It covers Healthy Human Sexual Developmental engagement, Gender Identity, Interpersonal Relationships, Affection, Sexual Development, Intimacy, and Body Image for all Adolescents, including Adolescents with Disabilities, Chronic Health Conditions, and other Special Needs.
    Developing a Healthy Human Sexuality program is a key developmental milestone for all children and adolescents that depend on acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values about consent, sexual orientation, gender identity, relationships, and intimacy.
    A Healthy Human Sexuality program is influenced by Ethnic, Racial, Cultural, Personal, Religious, and Moral concerns. A Healthy Human Sexuality program must include the capacity to promote and preserve significant interpersonal relationships; value one’s body and personal health; interact with both sexes in respectful and appropriate ways; and express affection, love, and intimacy in ways consistent with one’s own values, sexual preferences, and abilities.
    The various dimensions of Healthy Human Sexuality comprise the Anatomy, Physiology, and Biochemistry of the Sexual Response System; Identity, Orientation, Roles, and Personality; and Thoughts, Feelings, and Relationships. Ideally, children and adolescents receive accurate information on Human Sexual Health from multiple Professional Resources…
    Dr. Cliff Bertrand
    Public School Administrator, New York City Board of Education