Spare poor kids all the over-sexualised ideologies please, urges Mercy Muroki
Teaching children about sex - when it is done in schools - should focus on the necessary facts and safeguarding issues.
Teachers at a Catholic boys school have gone on strike after religious leaders in the borough cancelled a talk by a gay author , who was due to give a talk on his LGBTQ-themed books.
Simon James Green has written 12 books for children and young adults focused around LGBT+ characters.
His works include 'Gay Club' - a novel about a group of queer teens,
Alex in Wonderland - a book about a young boy who falls for a another boy who has a gilrfriend- a play, of course, of Alice in Wonderland.
Heartbreak boys - the story of two newly dumped gay male teens who essentially team up to make their exes jealous and get over their heartbreak.
Now, I have not read these books so I can't speak to their plotlines in detail.
And I have absolutely nothing against these book, or this author per se. I'm sure they're well written, I'm sure many young people have resonated with them, the author would not be as successful as he is if this were not the case.
But here's where I draw the line - these teachers going on strike over the fact this author is not allowed to come in to discuss his LGBT books are completely, unequivocally wrong.
It is wrong to force the school to close and for children to lose their education because they don't like the fact that children will not get to hear about the quote 'queer stories' from this author.
This is a Catholic School, after all, for goodness' sakes - what did they expect when they were signing up for the job?
The Diocesan Schools Commissioner, Dr. Simon Hughes, who told the school to cancel the visit had this to say, and I quote: ''From time to time materials or events emerge for consideration that fall outside the scope of what is permissible in a Catholic school.
'In such circumstances, we have no alternative but to affirm our unequivocal and well-known theological and moral precepts and to act in accordance with them.'
That's fair enough.
The archdiocese also made this comment: "Literature that insults the faith, which in the case of Mr Green’s book was a highly sexualised re-writing of the Lord’s Prayer, understandably causes offence to many Christians, and as such has no place in a Catholic school."
And that should be the bottom line.
The fact this has caused such a furore at the school is frankly bizarre. 40 teachers union members protested outside the school, two school governors' resigned, teachers have walked out with staff shortages leading to the school having to close.
Those protesting this say it sends a damaging message to the LGBTQ+ community, that is reeks of homophobia and transphobia.
That is disingenuous at best. Because these are the facts:
The religious heads have NOT cancelled the authors visit BECAUSE he is GAY - they've cancelled his visit because the books' content does not align with their own religious teachings.
Are we a Christian country which upholds religious freedoms or not?
He also has no right to speak at the school, he was invited as a guest, he's hardly part of the national curriculum, is he?
There's also the fact that the school are not banning their pupils from accessing these material. If students or parents want to buy or read these books in a private capacity, they are completely free to do so - as should be the case.
Look, ultimately my point is this: as far as I'm concerned, teaching children about sex - when it is done in schools - should focus on the necessary facts and safeguarding issues.
It should focus on biological facts, biological processes around sex, puberty, and reproduction. Children should be taught the basics about 'stranger danger', that consent is crucial, and that individuals, couples, and families come in all shapes and sizes.
Spare the poor kids all the oversexualised literature, ideologies, please.
It is up to parents, and parents only, how much detail and exploration young children should have about issues of homosexuality, issues of transgenderism, and issues of sexual pleasure and preferences.
That is the bottom line. And it should remain the bottom line.