‘The world has moved on’: Welsh First Minister champions inclusive sex and relationship education at PinkNews reception in Cardiff

The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, tonight championed inclusive sex and relationship education (SRE) at the PinkNews summer reception in Cardiff.

“The world has moved on,” he said ahead of taking to the stage at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff on Thursday (June 7).

Thirty years after the passing of Section 28 – which forbade the “promotion of homosexuality” in schools – a cross-party group of Welsh politicians gathered at the first of many regional receptions held by PinkNews to debate LGBT+ topics from education to same-sex marriage.

Politicians and campaigners from across the political spectrum came together to hear the First Minister and other prominent politicians speak on current LGBT+ issues, celebrate the achievements of Wales’ LGBT+ community and highlight what is still to be done.

The First Minister of Wales meets LGBT+ campaigners at the PinkNews summer reception in Cardiff (Elizabeth Iafrate and Jon Pountney)

Mr Jones told the audience: “Too often we just assume the LGBT community know politicians are on their side.”

This will now become a statutory subject in all schools – including religious schools – requiring the education on relationships and sexuality, inclusive of LGBT+ issues. The change in curriculum will be rolled out in 2022.

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Howell Jones (NIKLAS HALLE’N/AFP/Getty Images)

The First Minister, said: “The days of traditional sex education are long gone; the world has moved on and our curriculum must move with it.

“The fact is relationships and sexuality shape our lives as well as the world around us. They are a fundamental part of who we are and how we understand ourselves, each other and society.

“By creating RSE as a statutory area of study in our new curriculum for Wales, we will support our young people to develop healthy relationships, maintain good mental health and keep physically and sexually safe.

Comedian Rhona Cameron and political activist Peter Tatchell help to hold a banner at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride event, London, 4th July 1998 (Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“Thirty years ago Margaret Thatcher denounced local education authorities for teaching children that ‘they have an inalienable right to be gay.’

“The Welsh Government wants all our learners to know that they have an inalienable right to be happy –  this is the driving force behind the changes we are introducing in Wales.”

Speaking at the reception Nick Ramsay of the Welsh Conservatives said: “Britain has changed. Wales has changed… Everyone should feel free to be themselves without fear.”

Welsh Conservative AM Nick Ramsay addresses guests at the PinkNews summer reception in Cardiff (Elizabeth Iafrate and Jon Pountney)

Benjamin Cohen, Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief, PinkNews, said: “There has been a fantastic response from the Welsh political sphere to the introduction of this new legislation, which will make LGBT+ relationship and sex education compulsory in the Welsh curriculum – showing that Wales continues to lead the UK in terms of LGBT+ inclusion.

“PinkNews is pleased to see both the interest and enthusiasm to improve Welsh education, promoting a truly diverse and inclusive society for the benefit of all.”