During the summer slump, two United Nations agencies – United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) – issued highly controversial new guidelines for sexuality education of children around the world. These groups have a long history of pushing “reproductive health care,” and the new report, International Guidelines on Sexuality Education, builds on an earlier report released by the International Planned Parenthood Federation to promote the “need and entitlement” for sexuality education for children beginning at age five.
Not surprisingly, both documents argue for “guaranteeing” the sexual rights of children and for integrating sexuality education as an essential aspect of human rights. The Center for Reproductive Rights is cited as the source for the assertion of the absolute human “right” of young people to have sexuality education, access to condoms, and abortion-on-demand.
Additionally, in the view of the United Nations, sexuality education is the responsibility of “education and health authorities” not parents. Teachers and doctors, so the liberal line goes, understand the big picture and have the conceptual understanding necessary – the “rights based approach” that excludes parents and incorporates appropriate “practitioner experience and expert opinion.” Excluding parents from the process keeps them from being aware of how frequently “sexuality education” indoctrinates against traditional values, especially “discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
At the outset, the report makes it clear that “good” sexuality education should “take priority over personal opinion” – which, being translated, means trample all over traditional morality. One whole section of the report counters the “common concerns” of those who “resist” sexuality education. The implication is that the report’s “evidence-based” approach is “non-judgmental” and should prevail over those “custodians of culture” who dare to put values ahead of the “needs of young people.” The report states as fact that “teachers remain the best qualified and most trusted providers of information and support for most children and young people.” Yet, parents remain their children’s most trusted advisors.
The report paints a very dire picture of young people’s supposed “inadequate preparation for their sexual lives” – especially the “conflicting and confusing messages about sexuality and gender.” Naturally, the report identifies both “gender” and “diversity” as “fundamental characteristics of sexuality.” The term “gender” is used nearly 200 times in the 54-page report. The “inadequacy” of current sexuality education, the report contends, leaves young people “vulnerable to coercion, abuse and exploitation, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV.”
In other words, we learn later on in the report, if kids would just learn how to masturbate at around five years of age they could avoid abuse and exploitation and the other problems mentioned above. “Masturbation” the report emphasizes, “is a safe and valid expression of sexuality.” All this information must be conveyed, of course, in the “school setting” as part of a “formal curriculum” for maximum impact and effectiveness. After all (get ready for high-powered scare tactics!) ignorance and misinformation can be life threatening.
The report recommends “age-specific standard learning objectives for sexuality education.” The authors stress the importance of addressing “beliefs, values and skills that are amendable to change.” Thus, they let us know at the outset that authoritative – timeless – beliefs and values are unacceptable.
The authors stress that their report is not a curriculum. Instead, it is a strategic plan – “a global template,” if you will – “to introduce and strengthen sexuality education.” Ah! The purpose is clear: this is a “how to” manual for getting around those pesky parents and their “misplaced” concerns. It is, after all, (as is mentioned repeatedly) “rights based” and “respectful of sexual and gender diversity.” There are sections that tell readers how to develop a case for sexuality education in the face of opposition. Another section describes how to plan for implementation. So, let’s get this right: schools now must teach reading, writing, math and sexuality.
UNESCO and UNFPA repeatedly refer to their recommendations as “scientifically accurate, age appropriate and evidenced based.” Yet, they spend an inordinate amount of space describing the limits and inadequacies of their studies and evaluation designs. Even so, we are told that the recommendations “provide a platform for those involved in policy, advocacy and the development of new programmes.” The bottom line is that the research is primarily from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). The report admits that SIECUS guidelines “provide the overall organizing framework for the topics and learning objectives.” In addition, UNESCO conducted interviews and held a consultation with experts from 13 countries. No conservatives were included, of course.
Once again, the worst of U.S. radical ideology is being exported around the world through these guidelines based on SIECUS recommendations. All the children are taught that family structure doesn’t matter and that any group of people can be a family. They are all warned against “rigid” gender roles and responsibilities that reflect “gender inequality.” All children are taught that “people do not choose their sexual orientation or gender identity” and that expressing your sexuality “can enhance well-being.” And they repeat the mantra that all “children should be wanted, cared for, and loved.”
Five- to eight-year-olds are told that “touching and rubbing one’s genitals … ‘can feel pleasurable.’” They learn about “gender stereotypes” and that anybody (regardless of sexual status) can “raise a child and give it the love it deserves.” Nine- to twelve-year-olds learn how to get and use condoms, emergency contraception, the “signs and symptoms” of pregnancy, and all about sexual pleasure and orgasm. They learn that abortion is safe and discuss “homophobia, transphobia and abuse of power.” They learn about their rights – to decide for themselves about whether to become a parent and to have access to anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Twelve- to fifteen-year-olds are told about their right to safe abortions and post abortion care, how to use emergency contraception, and that the size and shape of the penis or breasts does not affect sexual pleasure.
The very first paragraph in the section, “Young people’s sexual and reproductive health,” complains that the “burden of disease” among young people stems from “sexual and reproductive ill health.” In other words, they admit that early sexual activity is not healthy, but they nevertheless advocate “being sexual” as an important part of young people’s lives and contend that “abstinence is only one of a range of choices available to young people.”
Amazingly, the official press release declares that the guidelines are “to help young people learn how to protect themselves against HIV and against abuse and exploitation.” You’ve got to love the way the left spins their craziness – just cloak all the controversial stuff in lofty goals and protective rhetoric. Over half of the new STDs every year occur among young people, so don’t promote abstinence. Instead lament that more than half have never been taught how to use a condom or where the local sexual health office is located, and rejoice that there is greater access to anti-retroviral therapy (ART). More than four million girls will seek abortions every year, so don’t promote abstinence. Instead, “introduce and strengthen sexuality education.” Remove the stigma against sexual activity, and then introduce worldwide programs to remove the stigma against STDs, and establish a bureaucracy to teach masturbation and contraception.