We’re coming for your children—and we don’t intend to let you stop us. This is the message parents are increasingly hearing loud and clear from the LGBT activists and sexual revolutionaries tightening their grip on the British education system.
For some years now, and especially since the advent of same-sex “marriage” in 2014, schools around the U.K. have been introducing more and more controversial LGBT-friendly “relationships and sex education” into classes for children of all ages.
In March, parents at one primary (i.e., elementary) school finally decided that enough was enough. Hundreds of (mostly Muslim) parents at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham withdrew their children from classes en masse in protest at the ideas being taught. Describing the lessons as “not age appropriate,” “promoting homosexuality,” and “confusing children,” the protesting parents explained that their girls were coming home from school “asking whether it is true they can be boys, [with] boys as young as four asking whether it is true they can be girls.” The school has now temporarily withdrawn the “No Outsiders” program in response to the protests—but not without pledging it would soon return.
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This is just one skirmish in a much bigger war being played out on a national and global level between the proponents of “progressive” sexual mores on the one hand and social conservatives committed to the sanctity of the natural family on the other. For over 50 years now the progressives have had the upper hand and in recent years have begun pressing their advantage and targeting any remaining holdouts against their ideas, mainly among the religious. This next stage is to remove any remaining rights of parents to take their children out of class while expanding the scope of what children are taught and when, and embedding it across the school curriculum so it cannot be anticipated or avoided.
In Britain, this next step comes in the form of the new Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) regulations currently making their way through Parliament. Described by Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle as “liberal bilge,” these updated rules downgrade the right of parents to withdraw their children from sex education at the secondary school level to a right only to request withdrawal which can be refused by the school principal. They also introduce the new mandatory subject of Relationships Education for all children beginning at age five, designed to teach students to understand and accept LGBT lifestyles and relationships. Schools will have some discretion over what they teach and when, but Ofsted, the government’s schools inspector, has made it clear they expect LGBT relationships to be taught at all levels, and parents will have no say over what schools ultimately decide to teach and whether their children will hear it or not.
Not that schools have waited for the regulations to begin pushing the agenda—as we have seen at Parkfield. Roger Kiska at the Christian Legal Centre tells of three primary schools in Croydon, South London, where the children have been forced to participate in a Gay Pride event. One assembly “was so sexualised that one parent came to us saying it resulted in her 7-year-old daughter being sexually touched by another child,” and where story time for 4-year-olds includes same-sex parenting books such as King and King, Mommy, Mama, and Me, and The Different Dragon. Children are required to draw LGBT logos or slogans in art class, exemplifying the “embedding” of LGBT material throughout the curriculum so it cannot be avoided. One school in Manchester set 6-year-olds an assignment of writing gay love letters.
And this is before the subject is mandatory. Things are only going to get worse—particularly when you realize that the Strategy Director for Ofsted is a former executive at the U.K.’s largest LGBT campaign group, Stonewall. Both Ofsted and the Department for Education (DfE) have made it clear that all teaching in England must be LGBT-inclusive. As if by way of reminder, the DfE’s email signature sports an ostentatious rainbow flag with the slogan “I’m an LGBT+ Champion.” For the avoidance of doubt, a further note adds: “We cannot tell by looking at someone or by their name how they self-define their gender.” The Department for Education’s Westminster headquarters is festooned with a rainbow flag spanning two entire floors of the building.
These people mean business. In the past few years, Oftsed has targeted high-achieving conservative Christian and Jewish schools, failed them, and closed them down or caused them to be taken over by others solely because they were deemed insufficiently enthusiastic regarding the LGBT agenda.
If you hoped the Christian churches might be a refuge from this pansexual madness, think again. Church schools are frequently no better than others. The Church of England, for instance, has collaborated with Stonewall to produce LGBT guidance for its own schools. It has also wholeheartedly endorsed the new regulations. Likewise the Catholic Education Service, which seems long ago to have capitulated to the progressive agenda on sex education—in line, it appears, with the current papacy. One Christian mother whose son attends a Church of England primary school in Gloucestershire discovered the school was running the “No Outsiders” program and criticized this on her personal Facebook page. She also encouraged friends to sign a petition protesting the new regulations—and promptly found herself sacked by the school where she worked as a pastoral assistant. Freedom of speech is another notable casualty of the progressives’ takeover.
The new regulations have been widely criticized for failing to respect parental rights and authority over their children’s education. They are likely to be subject to a legal challenge on this basis in the near future. According to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for instance, “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children” (Article 26). The European Convention on Human Rights 1953 similarly states that “in the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions” (Article 2, Protocol 1). The Human Rights Act 1998 enshrines this provision in U.K. law (Schedule I, Part II, Article 2). The Education Act 1996 underlines that “pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents” (Section 9).
Parents have every reason to oppose these regulations—as indeed they have. The government’s own consultation found that well over half of parents responding thought the regulations were not age appropriate and would not help children with their relationships. More than two thirds of all respondents were against the proposed teaching of LGBT issues. Sadly but predictably, this seems to have had no impact on the content.
Supporters of the changes are adamant that they are necessary to promote acceptance of LGBT people and reduce bullying. Whether they will reduce bullying is highly questionable. But one effect the intensified promotion of LGBT lifestyles to young people in recent years does appear to be having is to vastly increase the number who go in for them. In 2010, for example, there were just 50 referrals of children for gender reassignment therapy to the U.K.’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) based at the (controversial) Tavistock Clinic in London. In 2018, that figure was 2,519—a whopping 4,000 percent increase in 8 years.
Or consider that 4.2 percent of U.K. 16-24-year-olds identified as LGB in 2017—more than double the national average of 2 percent. Moreover, that same figure was 2.8 percent just three years earlier in 2014, meaning the number of LGB young people in Britain increased by 50 percent in that time. This surge was driven in part by an increase in the number identifying as bisexual, more than doubling since 2012. We might also mention the dramatic upswing in 16-24-year-olds identifying as “other” for their sexual orientation over the same period: from 0.2 percent in 2012 to more than four times that number, 0.9 percent, in 2017. These rocketing figures are indicative of a very large number of British young people moving into new and experimental sexual identities and behaviors in a very short space of time. That it is a time which coincides with the arrival of same-sex “marriage” and the heavy promotion of LGBT lifestyles in mainstream media, entertainment, and education is unlikely to be happenstance.
Almost all modern sex education is of dubious value for protecting young people, and assuming underage girls may be sexually active has been implicated in making them vulnerable to predatory adults, most shockingly in the child sex grooming gang scandals in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, and Telford (among others). But when combined with an affirmation of an array of sexual identities and behaviors, sex and relationship education cannot fail to encourage the things it portrays and endorses. Very likely this is exactly what many of those who promote it want. But it is not what many parents want for their children, and it is not the state’s job to indoctrinate children in ways contrary to their parents’ basic moral convictions.
Parents want the best for their children. For many, this means raising them in their faith, and protecting them from the dangers associated with early sexualization, promiscuity, and risky forms of sexual behavior. It means setting them on a path that prepares them for the domestic contentment of getting married and starting a family of their own. The parents’ right to do this is enshrined in international law as well as in the domestic legislation of many countries, including the U.K. The state has no business interfering with families to undermine this legitimate aim. This latest power grab by progressives in education must be confronted and opposed wherever it appears, whether in the U.K. or around the world.
Editor’s note: Pictured above, parents and protestors demonstrate against the “No Outsiders” program, which promotes LGBT ideology to children, at Parkfield Community School on March 21, 2019, in Birmingham, England. (Photo credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)