What follows will be updated, comment below with your thoughts, and if you agree sign the petition.
We basically believe that empowerment is central to Good Sex & Relationships Education.
In short from our facebook page we believe in “Good complete and progressive sex education not drenched in paranoia, panic and over-compensating please!”
This means we should have access to the knowledge and respect that empowers us to be both good to ourselves and to the people we come into contact with.
To be able to say no to unwanted sex or yes to wanted sex, depends on knowing what it may entail and having been taught that to question or disagree with any situation beit a romantic relationship, a friendship, a household, a school environment, or a government policy that effects us is a good thing to be met with respect and response…
(Which is why of course this campaign is happening)
Here we believe in ourselves, and that accurate knowledge is always good for us, and that to legally barre it from us when we seek it is to make a dangerous statement on the untrustworthiness of young people that sits so unfairly on our shoulders. We want to shrug it off. If it is not made clear to young people like us that those around us believe our voices deserve to be heard and acted upon then we are being taught something very harmful about our sexualities, and the value of our own agency.
We believe that understanding, receptive sex education should be on the national curriculum like Maths and English. Basic knowledge is always helpful like biological realities of all reproductive organs and the challenges of all types of relationships or sexual situations. But skills like respectful discussion and critique can only be provided with dependable confident teaching, that support those of us in the class who might feel uncomfortable or picked-on.
Well funded training should be available to teachers of such an important subject, it needn’t be a small side project.
We believe that what you learn in the classroom, the internet, the living room and the kitchen is taken into the bedroom, so creating a safe space in class to question all of this is central to making healthy sexual lives, partnered or not.
We believe it should be understood in Sex Ed that all parties in any relationship, sexual or otherwise have the same right to ownership of their own bodies, and that their sexuality is their very own.
This means for example that we do not think that female sexualities or bodies are just something that is there to accommodate male ones and don’t think that men are automatically a sexual threat, but that they are deep, feeling and unique people with their own thoughts and agency.
It means that it is not for anyone else to define a person’s sexual identity…
It should also be made clear so that nobody ever feels they should enjoy something they don’t enjoy, or do something they don’t want to do.
We believe SRE should understand that everyone and everytwo, everythree, and everyfour is different… we think there is no singular “normal” way to experience sex, and that there is no “normal” relationship. What we believe is that it should be healthy, fun, safe, informed and wanted.
We believe that virginity and other such culturally defined concepts should be treated as such. It is not for anyone but ourselves as individual people to decide whether virginity even exists or whether or not we feel like they are one. The same goes for a gender identity or sexual identity… nobody can judge the authenticity of another person’s self-definitions.
We believe emphasis should be placed on healthy relationships with partners and yourself. A relationship that didn’t last isn’t “failed”. The point of learning about relationships isn’t just about keeping people in “lasting relationships” but healthy ones, which often can mean learning how to healthily break up and deal with break up too.
We don’t think that Sex & Relationships Education should assume anyone to want any sexual act or relationship, no matter their age, gender or situation.
We are against attempts to divide knowledge between the genders or types of people. If we are to be good allies to each-other even if just as friends then understanding things that aren’t directly about us still means we can help each-other, and fight bullying. Bullying is often about fear, and fear is often about the unknown.
We don’t think anyone knows everything or expect that sex education ends at school, and so don’t expect teachers to speak from a position of complete authority on the issues, but that they will support us in finding things out that they don’t know and won’t expect them to speak beyond the limits of their expertise or comfort zone.
We don’t think abstinence is an option that makes sense when taught on it’s own. Declining unwanted sex only makes sense when we know what it is we’re saying no to, and having the confidence that comes from it being our own personal decision to say yes, as well, if we want to.
We believe in good complete and progressive sex, sexuality and relationships education.
For what we don’t believe in we can’t yet quite put it better than P4sre (thanks parents & carers! ) :
- “the idea that parents and children will always be most comfortable talking to each other about sex and relationships. We all aim to build the kinds of relationships where our children talk to us openly and can ask us anything. The reality is that many young people feel more comfortable talking to someone outside of the family about some things, and many parents are grateful they don’t have to do it all.
- the view that parents are all naturally equipped to teach their children everything they need to know about sex and relationships. Parents have a vital role in this and we hope our website will give everyone more ideas, and resources to take on this task. However, most parents are not experts and will not necessarily have the knowledge to give their children accurate information on every aspect of sexual health
- the view that someone’s faith or the faith of their parents should deter them or prevent them from participating in good quality sex and relationships education. Whatever someone’s background, all young people are entitled to accurate information about their own bodies and health.
- abstinence-only education – because withholding information from young people does not help to keep them safe, protect their innocence, or prevent them becoming sexually active.
- the disgraceful idea that professionals who want to help young people to learn about sex and relationships in preparation for adult life are corrupt, corrupting or even – as some extreme campaign groups have claimed – paedophiles. See here and here.
- the idea that accurate diagrams of body parts are ‘pornography’. It is an essential part of growing up to understand what the name and function is of your different body parts and to know what changes to expect in your body during puberty.”
What is Feminist Sex Education? from Scarleteen.com