THE EDITOR, Sir:
I READ Monday's edition of The Gleaner and was surprised by the full-page spread captioned 'A threat to health and family life', in reference to the controversial HFLE text recently pulled by the Ministry of Education. That the Coalition for a Healthy Society and Christian groups in the nation would seek to promote the nuclear family as an 'ideal' for the nation is welcomed. However, this certainly could have been achieved without disingenuously spreading sensationalist propaganda that alternative sexual lifestyles 'threaten the procreation of life and future generations', and declaring the text and curriculum in question as 'a threat to health and family life'.
The inconvenient truth that these groups must contend with is that heterosexual parents give birth to children, some of whom will inevitably become homosexuals; others will be unable to have children due to physical challenges; and others will not wish to get married or have children. The fact that some may choose lifestyles at variance with their parents' will not threaten procreation and humankind; nor does teaching children that alternative lifestyles exist. It is time we educate our youth to be citizens of a world diverse not only in languages, cultures and races but also in family structures and sexuality, instead of educating them to be narrow-minded homophobes and confine them to an insular existence on Jamrock.
The coalition, the education ministry and these Christian groups must also consider that children are indeed having sex, some unprotected; that children are in fact being infected with deadly diseases; and that children as young as 11 years old are becoming pregnant. I will agree that some of the topics may best be suited for students 12 years and older; however, the harsh reality is that at 10 years old, many boys and girls have already experimented sexually, or are being sexually abused and at risk of diseases or pregnancy. It may well be argued that being armed with the requisite knowledge would help them to at least protect themselves against these risks.
Where was the voice of these overly pious groups when it was announced that the 14-year-old girl on bail for the murder of her lover's girlfriend was pregnant and about to start a 'family' of her own? It is quite tragic that it is only the 'threat of a homosexual invasion' which suddenly summons their voice to repel this perceived 'threat' to family life and humankind. It would be more welcomed to see future full-page spreads by the coalition and the Christian groups advocating a healthy family planning for the nation; chastising absentee fathers and mothers; and lauding single parents and grandparents who continue to raise amazingly well-rounded and gifted children who do not feel ostracised or any less than because they are not from a religiously ordained 'ideal' family.