Opinion: Netflix is ahead of Ontario in sex-ed

Sex Education reflects much-needed changes to the current curriculum

The Ontario government has reversed progress towards creating a modern sex curriculum for students. After scrapping a 2015 update students are still being taught the 1998 curriculum. 

A new Netflix series, Sex Education explores topics about sexual health that Ontario students should be learning about, but aren’t.

The protagonist of the show has a sex therapist for a mother, which is why topics that are sometimes considered taboo are being discussed. 

Most of us are not so lucky, and we need to rely on actual sex-ed taught in school.

Sexual orientation, consent and abortion are talked about in an open and honest way that truly depicts the experiences of today’s teens.

Until Sex Education, I had never seen a fictional character go through with an abortion. 

Of course the topic comes up, but the character would typically choose to continue their pregnancy and ultimately pursue a glamorized portrayal of parenthood or adoption.

The character glorifies the process of pregnancy, being a single parent, and makes it seem like giving your baby up for adoption is a walk in the park.

I was convinced there was no way a mainstream show would depict a young girl actually having an abortion.

But in Sex Education, a main character, Maeve, not only has an abortion but is supported for her choice. Most importantly, Maeve is shown being okay after the procedure and throughout the season. 

Many people still believe that this isn’t a possibility after an abortion.

Abortion is not mentioned in the current Ontario curriculum. Instead, grade eight students will learn how to “explain the importance of abstinence as a positive choice for adolescents.”

Extensive research shows that abstinence-only programs actually increases the risk of unsafe sex, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies in youth.

The highest number of reported Canadian abortions occur in Ontario and approximately 20 per cent of Canadian pregnancies are not followed through with, according to Statistics Canada.

The archaic Ontario sex-ed curriculum will only make matters worse by pushing abstinence first, pregnancy prevention second, and abortion never.

Consent is another topic in Sex Education and non-consensual sexual encounters are portrayed for the damage they actually do.

“Consent is not only the foundation for sexual experiences, it’s also the foundation for basic interactions,” said Shana Kealy, a mother to a seven-year-old in Toronto’s public school system.

She isn’t happy with the curriculum rollback. “They are going to be learning on their own if we are not teaching them,” she said.

Kealy is very concerned that consent does not come up in the curriculum until grade nine. After all, consent is not just sexual, it affects every part of our interactions with people.

She constantly teaches her child about consent and thinks it is absurd for students to only learn about it in high school.

Consent is at the forefront of every sexual encounter in Sex Education, as it should be.

Sex Education’s honesty and relevance to youth today depicts the education needed in schools , unlike Ontario’s curriculum.

Share

Opinion: Netflix is ahead of Ontario in sex-ed