For my blog this week, I have decided to revisit a topic that my blog has already explored – Ontario’s new (and apparently controversial) Sex Ed Curriculum. I am coming back to it because of the media storm that has surrounded it in recent times and because, quite frankly, I can’t hold my tongue any longer. These words have been bubbling under my skin for days, and it is time to put them down somewhere. Now given that this blog is focused on a Disability Positive lens, I feel inclined to underpin what follows with disability.
Here’s the cruz of the issue for me. The point of education to prepare our youth for life ahead…right? Unless I’ve been seriously misunderstanding education for thirty years, that is why we teach math, science, Shakespeare etc. If we don’t want to prepare our youth for the adult world, then we should close every school and instead just have giant grazing fields. Am I being silly? Yes, but I feel as though I’ve earned it after listening to similar silliness. Because guess what? Sexuality is a part of being human, just like numbers, words and laws. Whatever your perceptions of sex ed, to deny that sexuality is a necessary part of who we are is to deny our existence as a species. I don’t know about you, but that sounds way sillier than my grazing pen idea.
So let’s talk disability. The fact is that disabled people are sexual beings. Many of us have the same, if not stronger, sexual urges than our peers. The second fact is that disabled people are often not afforded the same opportunities as their peers to explore the sexuality. And I will add in a third fact; sex ed is sorely needed in the disabled community. Some may argue that this is an opinion rather than a fact, but when you see what I have in the community, you would take it as fact as well. If we continue to attack the need for sex ed as a province, then disabled people will be among the most vulnerable. We cannot let this happen.
Teaching children and teens, especially those of us fortunate enough to have disabilities, about safe and consensual expressions of sexuality is critical. In my view, it is more critical than any algebra equation, account of WW1 or Shakespearean verse that we make part of schools. The fact that so many people cannot see this and chose instead to deny their children that opportunity is beyond worrying. Please, do not harm the next generation. Be disability positive. Be sex positive. Be youth positive.