10 Questions about LGBT Sex Ed, because a parent has the right to know, and the right to choose…

Whether or not you believe that sexual orientation is fluid, static, not a choice, a choice or an equal choice for your child, —YOU, as a parent have the inalienable right to raise your child according to your family’s values, culture, nationality, religion (or lack thereof), and morals.

The latest LGBT belief is that sexual orientation is fluid, a choice, and an equal choice for people. This is a huge departure from what was believed during our generation (parents of current students), while we were growing up. We were told that homosexuality is genetic and therefore the gay community has no choice in the issue. Today’s parents need to know what the current beliefs are, because these beliefs will inform how schools teaching LGBT approach the subject.

This blogpost is mainly for International School parents, but public school parents can find valuable information in it for their context, too.

The over-arching guiding mission of all International Schools, which is stated explicitly in the guidance of the International Baccalaureate program (IBO), is that International Schools will teach “international-mindedness” and foster “intercultural-understanding”.

As such, this means that International Schools are bound, by ethics if not by law, to respect children’s nationality and culture—–no matter where they’ve come from, or are going to. Religion, values, morals, and especially sexual morals grow out of children’s nationality and culture, as well as their family-life.

International Schools can take any position they want on LGBT teaching (or any other teaching), but ethically— they must be completely transparent with parents about what exactly they are teaching them, because children of expatriate children move and live all around the world. This is so parents can guide and protect their children —should they move to any LGBT “unfriendly” countries. In some countries, LGB is illegal— punishable by jail and even in death in some places. So, it’s a SAFEGUARDING issue for children. (India only did away with their laws making LGB illegal, last year.)

If an International School is not transparent, parents should complain to their local ministry of Education to force them to have such transparency. Typically, local ministries of education exercise no oversight over International Schools because of the language barrier. International Schools, fundamentally, are private businesses. Local governments usually have no role or understanding of the curriculum or policies an International School might be using. They won’t know a school is not being transparent unless parents tell them; but they can force transparency because public schools are required to be transparent. International Schools are expected to meet the standards set for local schools. International Schools, themselves, might not know the standards expected of local schools. If they do, they can conveniently “overlook” them, because few of their parents would know what the standards are, either. Did you know a school law in the canton of Fribourg, in Switzerland says schools must uphold Christian teaching? I’m sure that this “law” is conveniently ignored.

There are laws in Switzerland and in your nation that can’t be ignored. As an example, Swiss School Laws Article 9.2 says that “The school must respect the religious, moral, and political convictions of their students and their parents.” Article 9.1 says that, “Teaching must be neutral from the point of view of religion or politics.” Article 11.1 “Political, religious, or commercial propaganda in schools is forbidden.” See this link for the document of Swiss School Laws for the province of Vaud, Switzerland, for an example.

In my opinion, if an International School embeds the teaching of anything that doesn’t respect the religious, moral, and political convictions of their students and parents of all nations, religions, cultures,– -they can’t call themselves an “International School”. The obvious remedy for this is to not teach students their sexual morals. Leave that for the parents. (IB teachers talk about a “values-laden” curriculum. Teaching values is not the same as teaching morals. As an example, a value could be “relationships”. A moral is “Multiple sexual partners is fine”.

Private Schools usually must meet the minimum standards of public schools. In Switzerland they definitely do. As an example Swiss Private School Laws for the province of Vaud Article 2.1 says that , “The legal provisions valid for public schools concerning hygiene as well as the public order and moral standards are applicable by analogy to private schools.” Please see this blogpost for more details about what this means.

If I found out that my child’s international school was teaching LGBT in their human sexuality curriculum, these are the questions I would want answers for. Our family has not been able to get satisfactory answers to any of these questions, therefore we had to recently withdraw our child from our International School. Our family of 4 children has been with the school for 8 years (from Y3 to Graduation), so it was with great sadness that the relationship had to end like that.

10 Questions to Ask:

  1. What is your school’s belief about sexual orientation? “Do you believe that it is fluid, therefore the children can choose and change their sexual orientation?” What is your school’s belief about gender? “Do you believe that gender is socially-constructed, and therefore children can choose their gender?”
  2. What if my child goes to you for 1:1 counselling about changing his sexual orientation and gender? At what point will you let me know? Can I be involved in the discussions from the very beginning? What if my child asks you to promise to not tell me? What will you do and say? Note that Canada has a law in place Bill 24 that forbids schools from telling parents if their child has “come out”. School Counsellors work from a professional bias that does not want parental involvement. Ask your school for its written policy on confidentiality. If they say they that confidentiality is “high priority” (coded language), ask them, “Does this confidentiality include not telling me anything my child doesn’t want me to know?”
  3. Please send me a copy of the Scope and Sequence of your human sexuality curriculum. Scope and Sequence means the exact concepts and teaching objectives (scope) that will be asked of children at every grade, as they move up the school (sequence). The documents that teachers work from are not secret. They should be available to parents, upon request.
  4. Did you write your own curriculum? If so who wrote it? and what are their beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identification? If you didn’t write the curriculum, are you following the Canadian LGBT Sex Ed curriculum (various language versions are available on that web page)? The Canadian government is exporting its LGBT Sex Ed curriculum through the United Nations See article here . Since IB International Schools have a close working relationship to the United Nations, I believe it is the Canadian curriculum (or something similar) in International Schools that is going out to other nations. There is also the UK LGBT sex ed curriculum called “No Outsiders”. Note that the Canadian curriculum was in Ontario public schools for only 3 years (2015-2018) until it was rolled back, when the government that implemented it was voted out. The parent vote, in reaction to the LGBT sex ed curriculum, was a significant factor in ousting the government that had been in power for 15 years, prior. The government thought it was invincible, but see what the power of parental voice can do?! The Liberal Party went from 58 seats to 7. You need 8 seats to even be considered an “official party” in Canada, and so the Liberal Party lost even official party status.
  5. If they won’t give you a Scope and Sequence, you may ask:
    • What is the school’s beliefs about sexual orientation? Is it static or fluid?
    • What is the school’s belief about gender identification? Is gender socially constructed? How will you teach gender in biology classes? Do they believe that children can change their gender?
    • Will you teach about homosexuality, bi-sexuality? At what ages?
    • Will you teach about transsexuality? gender identification? At what ages?
    • Will you teach grade 1 children that they can choose to be a girl or a boy. Most schools do a unit called “Who am I?” in grade 1
    • Will you teach grade 2 children about same-sex couples? Most schools do a unit called “Who is my family?” in grade 2.
    • Will you teach masturbation, oral sex, anal sex? (see Canadian curriculum for ages for this). Will you teach digital sex (sex with fingers)?
    • At what age will you start teaching about dating, and consent? What is your definition about consent. The school’s definition of consent might be very different than yours!
    • At what age will you start teaching about contraception? What kind of contraception will be covered?
    • How much time and focus is given to the topic of chastity, abstinence? Ireland has Sex Ed curriculum in schools that encourages chastity and abstinence. See Love for Life Workshop.  This workshop will travel to our school. Can we invite them in? Any school that purports to be Internationally-Minded should readily agree to this. One of the IB Learner Profile traits is “Open Mindedness”. Open-Mindedness means, “We see and evaluate a range of points of view and we are willing to grow from the experience.” If the school is not willing to offer substantial abstinence and chastity education (from outside organizations if they are not equipped for this), you will know that the school is working from bias. The justification for LGBT Sex Education is to teach “Diversity & Inclusion”, but this includes teaching the other side of the story, then. If not, then this is not “diversity & inclusion”, but propaganda. Your country may have laws against schools teaching propaganda (Fribourg Province or Vaud Province) as Switzerland does. Note that LGBT sex education is considered propaganda towards minors in Russia and this is illegal in Russia.
    • What are your beliefs about pornography? What and how will you teach children about pornography? (You don’t want your child to view pornography, in order to learn about pornography.)
    • Will you try to influence my child’s inner-thought life in any fashion? (i.e. teaching about sexual fantasies)
    • What proportion of the over-all curriculum will be devoted to sexual education? Ask for the number of hours per grade. No matter what your opinion is on sexual orientation and gender identification, parents and children don’t necessarily want their entire curriculum to revolve around human sexuality. There are psychiatrists and organizations (not affiliated with any religion) who believe that the early sexualization of children is harmful to children’s mental heath.
  6. How, when, how often, and at what level of detail will you keep me informed about the human sexuality classes that my child will attend?
  7. If my child tells the school that he/she wants to change gender through hormones and/or surgery, what will you do next? What if I disagree with my child’s desire to change gender? (We won’t have data for another decade whether sex reassignment hormones/surgery addresses the underlying issues that cause children to want to change gender.) Will you involve the child welfare authorities, if we refuse hormone treatment and/or gender reassignment surgery? Can you guarantee to me that the school’s introduction to my child about the concept of transgender, will not end up with my child being taken-away from me, by the state?
  8. In educational language, teachers talk about the Taught Curriculum and the Implied Curriculum (hidden curriculum). If your school employs an openly gay or obviously transsexual for a primary school teacher or primary school counsellor, this is part of the Implied Curriculum. Children are learning, through example. Ask the school for the philosophy that underpins their decision to hire teachers to teach primary school children, by example, about homosexuality and/or transgenderism. In the same way, if your child is learning about the biology of human reproduction from an openly gay teacher (primary school or secondary school), ask the school for the philosophy that underpins that decision.
  9. What LGBT children’s picture books will be read to my child? at what ages? There is a whole genre of books written to introduce young children to LGBT concepts. See an example here, which comes in baby boardbook format, which was read to my 10 year old son in a Puberty Unit in the International School. This is a picture book about two gay penguins who adopt a baby.
  10. The most important question of all: Can I take my children out of these classes? You might believe you will always have this right, but this may not aways be true. See this BBC article. Your nation may have school laws that require schools to respect the religious, moral, and political convictions of students and their parents ex. Article 9.2  In that case, you have the choice to withdraw your child out of these classes.

In Switzerland and Canada, laws have been put into place to censure language that might be deemed hate language towards homosexuals. In Canada, they have in-addition laws censuring language about transgender people (Bill C-16). Therefore it may not be possible in the near-future for parents to debate LGBT Sex Ed, disagree with it, or take their children out of these classes. If you are a Swiss national, there will be a referendum in about two years about whether to roll-back the laws censuring language about homosexuals. Our family’s story was used by the UDF Swiss Political Party to campaign and collect signatures (Dec 2018 – March 2019) to trigger this referendum. Switzerland is the only country in the world that has a direct democracy. Citizens can trigger a referendum on any topic as long as they collect a minimum of 50,000 signatures in 100 days. The UDF collected 70, 000 to trigger a referendum to roll back the laws censuring speech about homosexuality. If you are a Swiss national, please vote in two years, to preserve parents’ freedom to speak about and to have control over their children’s sexual education. Our family’s story will be used during the UDF Referendum campaign to protect this family right.

https://www.censure-non.ch/

To put the referendum in context, the Swiss argue that it dangerous to stifle freedom of expression. The LGBT community is already protected as all minority groups are from hate speech, through their general legislation against hate. As a visible minority (Chinese), I don’t see why one minority group has been singled out for special protection, but my ethnic minority group has not. I experienced bullying about my “race” while growing up. My children have been sworn at, because of their Chinese appearance. Singling out one minority group for special protections, is not being inclusive, if you ask me.

The loss of freedom of speech is not off-set by whatever gains the LGBT lobby groups want from it. Switzerland is not a hot-bed of hate towards LGBT.

If there was a minority group that needed special protection against hate speech in the world, it should be for muslims and jews. This is unchecked and spreading through the world very quickly with bloody consequences.

As a parent, and an educator, I definitely have my opinions about this issue. But, my motivation to write this blogpost was not to impose my views on you, but to give you the tools and information that is YOUR RIGHT to make the best decision for your family.

I absolutely support the right for parents to raise their children according to their family’s values, whatever you decide, and all that you read, here, is what I would have told you if you came over for a cup of tea and asked me for advice about LGBT Sex Ed Curriculum.

Along these lines, if your child has come out gay or wants to change gender, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned in my personal research, according to my opinion as an International School educator, who is conservative and a Christian. There are resources for parents of LGBT that come from a compassionate, even if it is Christian, viewpoint.

I have tried, to the best of my ability, to present website links that aren’t biased. Some of the articles that I’ve linked to are very biased, but this is because I could not find an unbiased document to link to. If a government document existed, then I would link to that. If an article from a mainstream news website was available, I would link to that article.

I’m MOST worried about the cases in the news where children have been taken away from their parents, when their parents refused hormonal therapy and/or surgery to change their child’s gender. It is too early to say that hormonal treatment and/or surgery is going to address the underlying issues a child may have that prompted him/her to want to change gender. We won’t have that data for another decade, after we have a large sample of children who have changed gender to see what their outcomes are, after they are adults. Google for your own articles.

YET, society has already made the gigantic leap into removing children from their parents, if parents won’t allow their child to change genders. Institutional Care has historically put children at risk of physical and/or sexual abuse. I can’t see how taking these children away from their parents is ever going to have any good outcome, for anyone.

Whatever your beliefs are, you HAVE THE RIGHT, as a parent to be the FIRST educator of your child, and the final authority over the sexual education of your child. Sexual morals should ONLY be the domain of families but since schools and governments believe they have the right to teach children their sexual morals, at least be informed WHAT sexual morals they are teaching your child.

The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights say that we have to right to manifest our religion or belief in teaching. I believe this includes teaching within a family from parents.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18

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The right to raise our children, according to our consciences, is an inalienable right, conferred to us, by our humanity when we gave birth to our children. Governments may legislate to take away these rights, but that doesn’t mean you don’t carry these rights. Inalienable rights don’t change with time, governments, or legislation. That’s what makes them “inalienable”.

I hope these 10 questions will help you navigate a very different landscape in school education, than what we went through when we were children. We sort of “assume” that things couldn’t have changed that much. I mean,…biology doesn’t change… so how different could Sex Ed be?

Now you know.

I wish you and your child every opportunity to grow up and blossom into the person that he or she desires to be and that you dream for him or her. Whatever the future holds for you—whether your child adopts your family morals or not; —whether he/she is gay or changes gender, the BEST thing you can do for your child is to LOVE your child unconditionally, no matter what the future holds. But before their character and morals are set in young adulthood and you set them free to fly out of the family nest, it is your job to guide them and to be knowledgable about your guidance.

Unconditional love does not mean letting them think and do whatever they like. You still give them firm boundaries and guide them;–but you acknowledge that they have a free-will too, and if they go a different direction after you’ve done your best to steer them, you will love them still. Unconditional love does not mean no boundaries. You’d fight with every ounce of your strength for your child’s physical life if he/she were sick. Sexual morals are about saving their physical lives, too—we can’t be deceived about this fact.

I hope that these 10 questions will help you do the best for your child.

~Vivian

If your child has come out gay or trans, I’ve compiled a list of resources that I would suggest to you, if you were asking me, as a friend or as a parent of one of my students. I’m a school teacher, and a mother of 4 (ages 15-22). What I have and know about, I offer to you…

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For those who believe that dreams have meaning, please read about a dream that one of my son’s had (the older brother to the one mentioned in this blogpost), that gives us insight into how God views the issue of school curriculum and its care of students.

About Vivian

Vivian @ChezVivian is a Canadian-born Chinese, currently living in Switzerland. She has also lived in Hong Kong and Indonesia. She holds a M.S. (focus: Educational Technology Integration), B.Ed and a B.A. and graduate studies in Kodály and Orff music pedagogy. She is an elementary school classroom generalist, but has also taught as a music specialist, ESL/EAL and also in Learning Support. Most of her teaching career was in International Schools in Hong Kong. She is excited about the IBPYP and the possibilities of using technology to Inquire. Recently, she has been looking at the opportunities that computer programming gives to put #TECHXture back into the hands of children. In other words, technology need not be just about looking at screens. It can be about building things with our hands; and computer programming levels-up what children can do with the things they build---encouraging higher thinking skills. She is a Coetail Post-graduate Certificate grad ('13-'14), a former Coetail Coach and one of the co-founders of #CoetailChat. Her blog home chezvivian.coetail.com curates her assignments for Coetail and her M.S. graduate studies about Educational Technology integration and anything else educationally-related that she feels inspired to write about. Her twitter tagline sums it up: "Mom to 4, Mentor, Educator, Musician (in that order)".
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