Dear Doug Ford: Time for Some Straight Talk on Sex Ed

Sex education written on a chalkboard.Dear Premier Ford:

I am writing to express my concern about your government’s decision to repeal Ontario’s current sex ed curriculum. I know certain factions of your party are overjoyed, but many thousands of Ontario parents feel differently. Perhaps your understanding of the issue has been distorted by the very vocal minority opposed to the curriculum. Herewith, a few realities they choose to ignore that will hopefully change your mind.

Your decision to kill the sex ed curriculum will not stop kids from being interested in sex. Sex is a natural human impulse that kids will seek to satisfy regardless of what adults say or don’t say about it. What your decision will do is prevent kids from learning facts about sex that will keep them safe and healthy.

Your decision will not help kids struggling with questions about how far to go in a relationship. What it will do is deny them the chance to learn about consent and healthy relationships. As the #MeToo movement has shown, many people fail to understand the concept of consent. Because of peer pressure and inexperience, adolescents are especially confused about the boundaries in a sexual encounter. In these grey areas, lines can be crossed and people’s lives changed forever. Early lessons about consent carry through to the pre-teen and teen years, ensuring boys and girls understand limits and treat others with respect.

Your decision will not stop gay teens from being gay, bisexual teens from being bisexual, or transgender teens from being transgender. What it will do is create a sense of shame in those who are questioning their sexuality or gender identity. It will also diminish kids’ understanding and acceptance of individuals whose sexual preferences and gender identity are different from their own.

Your decision will not equip Ontario’s students for the issues they face daily, including sexual harassment and cyberbullying. What it will do is place Ontario far behind other jurisdictions that provide comprehensive sex education in schools because they know it is in the best interest of their students. 

Premier Ford, you promise “straight talk” and government “for the people.” I am one of those people and I would love some straight talk about your decision on the sex ed curriculum. You didn’t reply to the first letter I sent, so I hope you will reply to this one.

You have said you dislike the sex ed curriculum because parents were not consulted about it, but they were. I know, because I was one of them. Beyond the process involved, and in light of the points listed above, can you please tell me what it is about the content of this curriculum that bothers you so much? Can you list the specific passages you object to and why? I think you owe everyone who supports this curriculum a full explanation because, from where we’re sitting, your decision looks a lot like pandering to the social conservatives who helped you win the leadership. There appears to be no courage in your conviction, just political payback. Our kids deserve better than this.

Image from London Free Press article: Sex-ed in Ontario schools is a positive thing for kids.

A copy of this post was emailed to Doug Ford. 

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