Gender identity, same-sex marriage and consent are just a few of the issues that the 2015 Ontario Sexual Education curriculum introduced. They are not even mentioned in the 1998 curriculum that was previously in use. Rob Ford, the current premier of Ontario, has reverted all sexual education curriculums back to those of 1998. The year may not seem quite that long ago, so let me put it into perspective. There are no students left at TFS who were born in 1998 (or before); the Spice Girls were still singing “stop right now, thank you very much” and the second Harry Potter movie had just been released.
According to Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, in 2018 Ontario will have one of the most outdated sex ed programs in Canada. The main reason for this is that back is 1998 students did not have to worry about sexting or cyber-bullying, two things the 2015 curriculum covered. Some other highlights from the updated program was teaching topics of consent, masturbation and the gender spectrum. One of the main differences between the two programs is that the one from 1998 proposes only abstinence as a method of safe sexual encounters while the 2015 version includes segments about various contraceptive methods.
It is not only politicians and teachers who have reacted negatively to the news of the sex ed repeal. On September 21st, students all over Ontario staged a walkout called “We The Students Do Not Consent.” The walkout involved signs, chants and projecting a message to the government that the students know what they need. Some students have made comments that an updated sexual education curriculum is often a case of “life or death.” A life or death concern regarding sexual education is especially a concern for transgender students and students with different gender identities, as not having the words to express how they are feeling is often an issue.