Well... This is an incredibly complicated situation: https://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2016/05/13/toronto-school-offers-sanitized-sex-ed-amid-parent-concern.html
I want to start off by saying that, in theory, it is good to see that schools are accommodating requests to "tone down" the sex ed curriculum for those who are uncomfortable with it. Ontario prides itself on academic accommodation for various reasons, so it is not at all surprising to see this is happening with the sex ed curriculum.
But, this situation is still troublesome.
Firstly, the language of "sanitized sex-ed" is incredibly problematic. Sanitized implies that the current curriculum is "dirty" and needs to be "cleaned up," which is not the case.
Secondly, who are these accommodations for? Parents. Who are we teaching? Not parents! Many students are curious about the new sex ed curriculum and are eager to learn. Of course, we must respect religious views and personal outlooks, but our curriculum is not offensive - it teaches students information that has been empirically supported (the revised curriculum was developed by experts in the field, including psychologists, experienced teachers and sex educators). Not to mention, a lot of the controversial topics (e.g. gender identity and sexual orientation) is something that is embraced and celebrated in Canada. We have laws protecting folks who identify on any part of the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity, so it is fitting to talk about it with our students - who are not exempt from falling somewhere along the aforementioned spectrum.
Instead of hiding behind the wrath of enraged parents by developing a "sanitized" curriculum, this should be an indication that there is a powerful opportunity to educate parents themselves - not only about the truth of the curriculum, but also the content. Why are parents so afraid to have their child use the word penis and vagina, two anatomically-correct words? That's an important question to ask, and an important conversation to have. When we teach about "private parts" instead of penis, vagina, vulva, etc., students still know exactly what we're talking about (not to mention it is important for them to have the vocabulary to take ownership of their body and seek help if incidents of sexual abuse occur).
“If schools ‘accommodate’ at this early stage in the game, they are setting themselves up for real battles later on, and the only ones who are going to suffer are the kids.”
A fascinating article was published last summer, entitled "Colorado teen birthrate drops 40% with low-cost birth control."
"Colorado's teen birth rate dropped 40% between 2009 and 2013...in part due to a program that provides long-acting contraception to low-income women."
Providing resources is just part of the package of providing holistic and impactful sexual health education. In addition to providing access to resources such as (affordable) birth control, we also need to provide information to youth to allow them to make informed choices that best suit their needs. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) - such as in the case of this article - is one of many different birth control methods for females. Oral contraceptives, the patch, and others are available, all of which have their pros and cons (which I will describe in a later post. Stay tuned!)
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"Love Has Won."
Today marks a significant point in American history. Finally, in the year 2015, marriage equality exists in all 50 states. It truly fills me with joy to see all the news coverage of happy, celebratory members of the LGBTQ community and allies during this special time.
Although most of the news I have read/watched is in support of this change in American law, I think it is important to note that "same sex marriage" is a politically incorrect term. If we unpack this term, "marriage" is predicated by "same sex". By placing "same sex" in front of "marriage", we are unintentionally perpetuating heteronormativity in relationships, or more specifically marriage. According to Canadian (and now American) law, marriage is not reserved only for a man and woman. Any two people can marry - regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
A "same sex marriage" is not different from a "marriage". As such, it is important to use the term "marriage equality" when referring to the right of marrying someone of the same sex.
"Today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we made our union a little more perfect."