Ontario is introducing a new sex education curriculum in schools. I am quite a fan of it for many reasons, including that it openly discusses gay and trans identities and places them as equal to straight and cis identities, but my approval is not limited to that. It also begins sex ed with discussions of consent and teaches young children that they have the right to decide when and how they are touched. That is a fantastic lesson to begin with as it applies not just to sex when and if they get there, but also just to life in general. We should be telling kids explicitly that they can choose their own identity, that those choices are valid, and that they can control who touches them and when.
There are also a lot of nuts and bolts sorts of things that are big improvements over the old and outdated current curriculum. Acknowledgement of things like anal sex and masturbation are long overdue. Obviously these are taught at very different age levels - young children starting from toddler age usually figure out masturbation, though clearly it changes in tone some as they mature, so they need to know that it exists, it has a name, and it isn't wrong. Anal sex on the other hand is something that kids don't need to be taught about until they are quite a bit further along.
Of course people hate this. Many of them are pulling their children out of school in protest and there are lots of Facebook campaigns, yelling of slogans, and calling into radio shows to complain. "Stop teaching our children to masturbate!" they say. "Schools should not be demonstrating how to have anal sex!" they chant. The fearmongering is intense, but fortunately most of what they say is absolute nonsense and has no bearing on what is actually going to be taught. Obviously schools aren't going to be teaching children how to masturbate... they are going to be saying that people do that, there is nothing wrong with doing so, and no one should feel bad for touching themselves in a way that gives them pleasure.
I am sure there are some people who are demonstrating and being all kinds of angry about these changes only on the basis of false information. Some of them surely believe that teachers will strip down, bring in porn stars, and demonstrate anal sex on their desks to give the students a proper sense of technique.
But most of them don't.
Most of them don't believe that at all, but they are so incensed by the idea of acknowledging that gay people exist and that gender isn't an absolute binary laid down by God at conception that they seize on any ridiculous talking point to object. Also there is a lot of sex negativity in the mix, and a desperate fear that talking about sex will somehow cause teenagers to suddenly start bangin' away like rabbits, ignoring the obvious fact that no knowledge about sex means teenagers have sex more but with less protection.
Funny thing is that some of the things people are yelling about aren't even significant changes. Things were chugging along just fine and then parents noticed that someone was going to admit that sex is a thing, people have bodies, and sometimes people don't fit cleanly into the square holes that they are used to and lost it. It isn't all the changes, but also just that suddenly these topics made it into the public consciousness and knowledge of them spread.
I am happy to report though that the government's response to these protests has been to listen to them and then to totally ignore them. Yes yes, you are all very angry, and come September these changes are going to be in place. Deal with it. Sometimes the government backs off good initiatives because fools make a stink about them but not this time it would seem. I approve, and the vindictive side of me is glad to see religious folks who want to keep their children ignorant and bigoted getting shown the door.