“I think if we can get rid of misogyny, we can get rid of a huge amount of homophobia.”
Dublin-born actor Andrew Scott has made a link between the “insidious” nature of sex education in schools and misogyny, rape and homophobia. His comments come as Minister for Education, Richard Bruton has announced major reform in sex and relationship education (RSE) in Irish schools.
He said that children needed to be given an “understanding what consent is and what yes and no is, and female sexuality.”
Interviewed by Jarlath Regan on the Irishman Abroad podcast, the 41 year-old star of Irish gay film, Handsome Devil said: “I suppose that idea of understanding and starting children understanding sexuality a little bit earlier and what it means and what it’s for in an honest way will help all those discussions about choice, because choice is a right for every human being.”
“I think if we can get rid of misogyny, we can get rid of a huge amount of homophobia,” he added, “because the idea of homophobia is founded in if you act a little bit feminine that’s a bad thing. You have to act in a particular way.”
Provision of Objective Sex Education Bill
Along with Minister Bruton’s announced reforms, this week Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger announced the launch of a Provision of Objective Sex Education Bill, which will be introduced Dáil on April 18. Among other things, the Bill seeks a requirement for “factual and objective coverage of consent to sexual activity, sexualities and genders, contraception and all options in crisis pregnancy ethos as a consideration for schools and teachers when it comes to relationships and sexuality education.”
Telling his own coming out story, Scott was critical of a “flawed” Irish education system, in which he experienced “very overt, out, loud and proud homophobia,” which was not just contained to other students. He said he found his school days “quietly terrorising,” adding that “respected” and “popular” priests made comments about gay people and about sexuality.
Welcoming Minister Bruton’s announcement of the Relationships And Sexuality Education Review, Monnine Griffith, Director of BeLonG To Youth Services said, “For too long information about same-sex relationships, safe sex and LGBTI+ matters has been taught in just a small minority of classrooms in Ireland.
“Our young LGBTI+ people have been calling for improvements to sex education for many years now. They are frustrated with the lack of information available to them and eager to see significant improvements.
“With this review process, we hope that the implementation of RSE will be mandatory for all schools and that schools will receive the encouragement and support they need to talk about sexuality and relationships.”
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