Daily Mail objects to Labour plans to combat homophobia

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The Daily Mail has responded to Labour’s plans for compulsory LGBT sex education with the headline “Sex lessons at 5 under Labour”.


Labour yesterday announced plans to make sex and relationships education compulsory in all state schools, in a bid to tackle homophobia and sexual abuse. The Mail’s front page response claims “Children aged five will have sex education classes if Labour win the election”.

The newspaper said Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt “wanted ‘age-appropriate’ teaching about sex and relationships to begin in key stage one, when pupils are aged five to seven.

“But campaigners warned against sacrificing childhood innocence for the sake of political correctness. Margaret Morrisey of Parents Outloud said ‘We need to let children be children, particularly at key stage one, when many are still not very mature and may find this kind of material confusing and quite scary. Are we really saying at the age of five children have to put their childhood behind them and learn about all the things adults have to deal with?’”

Stonewall estimates that 15,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils in schools will miss school due to homophobic bullying, that 37,000 pupils will change their education plans because of being bullied, and that the school work of 70,000 young people will suffer as a result.

Mr Hunt announced the policy at a school in Ilford yesterday saying: “The presence of homophobic bullying in our classrooms, playgrounds and dinner halls is deeply troubling, and it is very real. The use of homophobic language and other forms of homophobic bullying is damaging the life chances of so many young people.

“It has a daily effect that limits learning, and causes people long term damage. There is no place for it in our society – and never should it be ignored in our schools. Schools have a duty to show a zero tolerance approach to the use of homophobic language and bullying.”

PinkNews in September joined with a coalition of LGBT organisations and campaigners writing to political leaders in the UK to highlight a need for compulsory LGBT-inclusive SRE in all schools.