National Affairs Rory Leishman

Under intense public pressure, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty may have withdrawn his government’s revised curriculum guidelines on sexual education for a “serious rethink,” but this battle is far from over. Proponents of ever more explicit sexual education for young school children have been quick to mount a concerted counterattack. They commend the revised curriculum for proposing to normalize homosexuality in Grade 3, instruct youngsters on vaginal lubrication in Grade 6 and warn boys in Grade 7 to avoid “anal intercourse without a condom.”

Dr. David McKeown, Toronto ’s medical officer of health, was one of the first to urge reinstatement of the new curriculum. “Kids need clear, unbiased, age-appropriate information,” he said. “Research shows that when young people have good sexual health knowledge, they postpone sex and have lower rates of teen pregnancy, and they practice safer sex when they become sexually active.” Is that right? For more than 20 years, youngsters in the secondary schools of Ontario have been bombarded with propaganda about how the consistent use of condoms can prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). It has all been for naught. As even McKeown acknowledges, “Rates of sexually transmitted infections are increasing.”

In this respect, Canada is not alone. Dr. Stephen Genuis, clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Alberta , pointed out last year in a peer-reviewed article in Acta Paediatrica: “Despite more than two decades of relentless condomania, rates of HIV⁄ AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have skyrocketed. In the UK and Canada , for example, rates of some STIs have doubled or tripled over the last 20 years despite ubiquitous safe-sex education.”

Genuis emphasized: “Numerous large studies have demonstrated that concerted efforts to promote condom use have consistently failed to control rates of STIs, even in countries with advanced sex education programmes such as Switzerland and Sweden – nations sometimes considered paragons in progressive sexuality instruction.” Regardless, reputed experts like McKeown insist that what we need is even more of the same failed safe-sex education starting with instruction of children in Grade 1 on the correct anatomical name for their sexual organs.

At least, the McGuinty Liberals and their expert advisers in the education ministry have stopped short of the approach taken by International Planned Parenthood Federation in a pamphlet entitled “Healthy, Happy and Hot: A young person’s guide to their Rights, Sexuality and Living with HIV.” According to the experts who put together this guide, “Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when, and how to disclose their HIV status.” That goes even for sexual partners. The guide suggests that people in long-term relationships have a right not to disclose their HIV status to their sexual partner if they have reason to “fear that their partner will react violently or end the relationship.”

Pity the victims of this deadly advice.

Sex education on the post-secondary level in Canada is not much better. According to the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 13 of Canada’s leading universities currently offer “Queer Programs.” Last semester, for example, the department of anthropology at the University of Western Ontario featured an undergraduate course in “Sex, Sexuality and Desire: Cross Cultural Explorations of Queer Lives.” In an outline of the course requirements posted on the department’s website, Associate Professor Douglass St.Christian (dr.d.) [sic] indicated that students must submit a photo essay on “the living history of your sexual selves.”

“Hmm,” dr.d commented, “you’re thinking – he wants amateur porn? Not quite but then again, maybe a pornographic gaze is something you will want to explore.” Having assured that acceptable photos might be “accidental, staged, public or private, funny or dangerous and so on,” dr.d concluded: “Have fun, use your imagination, take chances, learn. It won’t hurt, honestly. I know these things.” Who would challenge this assertion? The expert, dr. d, has spoken: He knows that taking even dangerous photos of one’s personal sexual experiences won’t hurt.

One wonders: Are there any limits to the depravity that can pass for acceptable instruction at Western?

This column originally appeared May 7 in the London Free Press and is reprinted with permission of the author.