I’ve just arrived in London ready to protest and meet some cool people outside parliament to show public dissapproval of the abstinence only for girls bill being submitted by my MP Nadine Dorries…
Nads, who not only has an abbreviated first name which is also shorthand for the sex/gender-non-specific description of reproductive cell producing glands (gonads means both testicles and ovaries), is also trying to get a bill passed tomorrow that would mandate schools to teach abstinence to teenage girls… and nothing else… at a time when here in the UK, sex education is not really mandetory in schools.
This means that if a school only did what was necessary, boys (if there are any there) would only indirectly learn some basics about reproduction from a purely biological perspective, in the middle of other science, whereas girls would get that, plus get told, apparently, how to say no to sex. A piece of information which on it’s own is really not a lifesaver… What you really need is to know that what you want and don’t want sexually is important, and that that you can be trusted to make such a decision for yourself, so that when you don’t want it you can say it proud, because you know what it is to want it as well.
Abstinence is also, not a word that has been plucked from no-where, it’s an established term which describes a certain type of “not having sex” that is taught in a number of programs and is especially used by groups who don’t think young people shouldn’t be taught ANYTHING bout sex… but can use all sorts of guilt tricks and scare tactics to encourage people to do things like write a contract or wear a ring to promise that they’ll be “abstinent”. The thing is, most people taught abstinence have as much sex as those who didn’t, which can be a healthy thing I think… but without having been taught the things that make that sex safe, the use of condoms is way low, as are all the other things that make sex safer, and the effect of breaking those promises must have on people’s guilt just really worries me, and I imagine the effect on relationships is pretty difficult. Abstinence is also often taught as being bout “saving sex til marriage” which totally ignores all the queer students in the room at best, and at worst will make negative comments.
This is a totally new thing on a national scale… these sorts of things have been taught in some schools for a long time but for the schools in whom the problems thus far have been just awkwardness and unhelpfulness, this would introduce something completely new into the mix and give us years of work just to get us back to where we are now.
Nads of course is getting all sorts of bashing from everyone angry about this, so I’m guessing there’ll be some pretty angry responses to her voiced tomorrow… if you’ve only just heard of this please don’t be put off by that… she is probably not as much of a meany as her bill might suggest, but the bill really really really is dangerous, and the people who support her in this behind the scenes will always have something up their sleave… as parents for sre have said “it’s not all about you Dorries“.
A lot of people said it really wouldn’t pass but politics is unpredictable this year, who knows what can happen.
The protest is today, Friday, at 10:30 at Westminster, say Hi if you see a boy in a ridiculous faux-fur coat! If you’ve not been to protest before, don’t worry this should be pretty civil and I know quite a few nice friendly people who are going to be there. Showing your support really will help everyone out.
PS Exams over for me! I swear there’s a conspiracy to make these decisions fall right in the middle of exams, but I made it.