How did sexuality education become hijacked by the gay and lesbian lobby?
Through La Trobe University’s ARCSHS Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society which openly advocates for the LGBTI community.
The strategy to promote programs like the Safe Schools Coalition and to include the affirmation of homosexuality and transgender ideology across the curriculum in schools has been influenced by the surveys of La Trobe University’s Research Centre.
Recommendations from their surveys include
- Changes in policy and programming for sexuality education
- Sexuality education in primary schools
- Training of pre-service teachers in the new sexuality education
- In-servicing of current teachers in the new sexuality education
- The development of teacher resources and programmes like the Safe Schools Coalition
All these changes emphasise sexual diversity and the gender ideology promoted by the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender community.
The surveys are not representative of the national situation regarding sexual health yet they form the basis for classroom resources in sexuality education.
National Surveys of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health
The national surveys of the sexual health of Australian secondary students has been carried out approximately every five years since 1992. Conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University since 1997, it purports to paint “an accurate picture of the sexual attitudes, knowledge and experiences of Australian young people.” Despite obvious shortcomings, the surveys continue to shape the content of Australian sex education curricula. (See below, the 5th National Survey…)
Writing Themselves In (1998), Writing Themselves In Again (2004), and Writing Themselves in 3 (2010) are three reports which led to the creation of the Safe Schools Coalition
Funding for the SSC was originally granted to the program by the Victorian government in 2010, after successful lobbying by Professor Anne Mitchell (the then Director of Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria) and Adjunct Associate Professor Lynne Hillier (author of the influential Writing Themselves In reports). A cofounder of the program is Roz Ward, a political activist with a MA in Gender Studies. All three were working at La Trobe’s Research Centre (ARCSHS) at the time. In August 2013, the program was awarded $8 million in federal funding by the then Labor government, funding which has continued under the Abbott and Turnbull governments. The need for the program was justified using the Writing Themselves studies conducted by Hillier, which tie the health problems associated with same-sex attracted and gender queer/questioning (SSAGQ) youth to school bullying (click here for more details).
The 5th National Survey of Australian Secondary Student and Sexual Health 2013 (ARCSHS)
The Survey involved 26 schools and was supplemented by an online survey promoted via the websites of family planning and LGBT organisations. The samples were combined to create a sample size of 2136 students. This is not a large sample and definitely not so significant as to justify changes to our sexual educational policies.
The online survey used to boost the number of students is a biased sample as they were recruited from the LGBTI community via the Minus 18 website, ‘Australia’s largest network for LGBT youth’.
The Survey boasted that it “involved over 2000 Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 students from more than 400 secondary schools from the Government, Catholic and Independent school systems and from every jurisdiction in Australia”. Only 26 schools participated in the survey. The additional 415 “schools” are counted because 665 of the 775 online respondents named the school he or she attended.
Current sex education programs are criticized in the survey for being ‘heteronormative’. By framing sex education in this light, proponents of reform hope to introduce changes to the way sex education is taught to Australian students.
“19% of the online survey sample mentioned a lack of information on sexual practices. They referred to a lack of information on the practicalities of how to have sex, how to enjoy it and sometimes specifically to sexual practices other than penis in vagina intercourse such as anal or oral sex.” Thus a small percent of students from a biased sample are determining the sexual education of all students. This became the basis for the need to include information on these kinds of sexual practices in the new teaching programs.
This survey has been used as the basis for the development of classroom resources for sexuality education – the national Talking Sexual Health materials, the Western Australian Growing and Developing Healthy Relationships materials, the Victorian Catching On materials and also the new Australian Curriculum in Health and Physical Education.
Growing Up Queer (2014) Kerry Robinson
Speaks of a need to train teachers in “comprehensive and inclusive sexuality education”.
It also encourages the teaching of sexuality education in Primary Schools: “Young people’s access to comprehensive sexuality education in primary and secondary schooling is a right, and is central to sexual citizenship and the fostering of health and wellbeing in all young people..”
The 2010 Writing Themselves In 3 report also makes clear: “At least half SSAGQ young people realize they are same sex attracted while they are still in primary school. It is recommended that attention be paid to the use of inclusive and representative materials throughout the primary school curriculum, as well as throughout all secondary school years.”
On its website the Safe Schools Coalition promotes “The Gender Fairy”, a storybook pitched at kindergarteners.
The findings of all these surveys are not representative of the national situation with regard to sexual health issues and yet educational authorities are using them to inform their decision making processes.
The 1st National Survey of Australian Secondary Teachers of Sexuality Education 2011 (ARCSHS)
The data collected in these surveys has been widely used throughout Australia to inform educational policy and practice in the sexual health
It Includes recommendations for the implementation of the new sexuality education.
Such as the development of a teaching training package for use in pre-service education and training following the mandated teaching requirements in this area. New teachers are equipped with the resources to include the new sexuality education in their programming.
The survey findings also build a strong argument for including sexuality education in the primary school curriculum even though it indicates that the average age of first sexual intercourse is 16 years.