We are here publishing an independent review of two standards documents produced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). These standards underpin the global initiative for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), currently promoted by UNESCO’s ‘Foundation for Life and Love Campaign.’
The UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (IE SOGI), Mr. Victor Madrigal-Borloz, will conduct a formal country visit to the United Kingdom from 24 April to 5 May 2023. Safe Schools Alliance have been invited to meet with him during his visit. We will be drawing his attention to this review and expressing our concerns.
The review reveals the extent to which the WHO and UNESCO’s standards are ideologically aligned with Queer Theory and with a ‘sex positive’ approach to Sexuality (not Sex) Education.
Queer Theory challenges boundaries that are put in place to preserve ‘oppressive’ ideas such as the importance of child safeguarding. The UNESCO and WHO documents and guidelines do the same, stating that children are ‘sexual from birth,’ and accordingly require sexual knowledge to fulfil their right to sexual pleasure.
‘Sex positivity’ is central to Queer Theory. This review finds that the WHO and UNESCO standards use the concept of sex positivity to reframe safeguarding barriers such as the age of consent as an “injustice”, and to advocate for children’s engagement in sexual activity with their peers, parents and other adults.
Both organisations appear to have abandoned a safeguarding first approach, explaining this shift as necessary to enable a ‘positive’ approach to sex and sexuality. The issue of grooming is conspicuously absent in both sets of standards, and sexual abuse is referenced primarily as justification for providing comprehensive sexuality education from birth.
It is clear that parents who do not buy into this are viewed as a threat. UNESCO’s ‘key concepts’ promotes the idea that children’s values may differ from their parents’ and, to undermine parents’ legitimate concerns about the contents of Sexuality Education, these concerns are minimised by the UN as “misconceptions.” We have already seen how this approach has played out in Wales, with parents’ concerns comprehensively sidelined in the interests of a holistic sexuality education that influences all aspects of the child’s development.
We find it extremely concerning that the UN and WHO are promoting an approach that is experimental, unscientific, and appears to be aligned to the work of unethical individuals and organisations, including those promoting the acceptance of paedophilia. We call upon them to revise their standards to align with a safeguarding-first approach that protects children while allowing them to develop a healthy and age-appropriate understanding of sex.