Remember these heinous ads the last time we tried to update the curriculum? Image via Macleans
The last time Ontario’s sex education curriculum was updated was in 1998, before important pieces of legislation like the anti-bullying bill and Toby’s Act–which added gender identity and expression to the Ontario Human Rights Code–were implemented. Four months after the Premier’s pledge in January to reform the outdated curriculum, education and health experts are now calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to update the outdated curriculum. “We will be consulting with parents and stakeholders to ensure the curriculum is current, relevant and age appropriate.” Gary Wheeler, communications coordinator for the Ministry of Education, said to Xtra last month. “Decisions around timelines have not been finalized.”
While that’s all well and good, one can’t fault Premier Wynne for not trying. In 2010, the Liberals proposed a new curriculum that was applauded for teaching basic anatomy at younger ages, respect different kinds of families and expression of gender identity. The proposal was ultimately shelved by then Premier Dalton McGuinty after three days of outcry by religious conservatives who said things like, “The curriculum makes no mention that anal intercourse, in the context of male-on-male sex, leads directly to the death of a large percentage of those who practice it,” which is obviously a load of BS.
As much as the current Premier has more pressing matters to deal with–like the provincial budget and our allegedly crack-smoking mayor–as a queer person herself, she’s in the best position to push this much-needed legislation through Queen’s Park. Politicians can worry about bullying all they want, but without the proper education supported by the province, the point is moot.
Vidal Wu is an intern at Toronto Standard. You can follow him on Twitter at @vidalwuu.