According to research by sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, 95% of young people have never learned about LGBT sex and relationships (SRE). Meanwhile 97% believe it’s wrong to exclude LGBT-inclusive SRE from schools. It also found 75% of all young people do not recall being taught about consent.
The survey of more 1,035 young people – from state, independent, grammar and free schools – found one in seven had received no SRE of any type, while six in ten had just one lesson in the matter.
Teaching SRE became statutory in all schools earlier this year, but it’s not yet clear whether it will be LGBT-inclusive. Nick Gibb, Minister for Equalities, told PinkNews that although the law doesn’t go into specifics about the subject’s content, he would argue for LGBT issues to be on the curriculum. The government is due to hold a consultation on the shape of compulsory SRE in 2018.
Terrence Higgins Trust, Mencap and Young Minds hosted a discussion in parliament to highlight the need for people to speak out on the issue.
William Wragg, a Conservative MP who chaired the event, said: “It was fantastic to hear first-hand from young people themselves about why we need compulsory Relationships and Sex Education in all schools, and which topics they felt should be included to ensure students are prepared for the realities of life in today’s world.
“It’s really important that the next generation leave school with the knowledge they need to enjoy safe and fulfilling relationships as adults. This includes teaching them not just about the basics of reproduction, but also includes teaching about consent, internet safety, LGBT relationships, and good sexual health.”
Alex Phillips, Policy Lead for Relationships and Sex Education at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We’re very grateful to William for supporting our campaign and meeting inspiring young people, to make sure RSE helps students to make positive and informed decisions, and to have healthy relationships with themselves and others.”
Gibb, the minister partially responsible for the policy, told PinkNews after his appointmentearlier this year: “My intention is to ensure that it will be LGBT-inclusive. “We need young people to be equipped for life in Britain as it is today, with all its diversity, joy and challenges.
The former Minister for Education who has been Bognor Regis and Littlehampton’s MP since 1997, added: “We will be consulting widely about the curriculum to ensure it is the best it can be, is age appropriate, and commands the support of the teaching profession.”