Updated Sex Education Programme Will Address LGBT+ Issues

The proposed curriculum will be inclusive of "LGBTQ+ relationships and experiences including sexual orientation, gender identity and the spectrums thereof".

A student raises her hand in a classroom.

A draft report from the Oireachtas’ Education Committee has proposed an updated version of Ireland’s sexual education curriculum which would include reference to LGBT+ identities and sexual health, as well as classes on consent, and a plan to target homophobic and transphobic bullying in primary and secondary schools.

The committee will discuss the report today before it is sent off to the Minister for Education Joe McHugh.

The draft clarifies that the updated programme would reflect “significant and welcome changes that have taken place in Ireland in order to produce a gender equality-based, inclusive, holistic, creative, empowering and protective curriculum.”

Students in a classroom in Ireland.

The curriculum will be delivered to students in schools at an “age and developmentally appropriate manner”.

The new sex education programme will be “fully inclusive of LGBTQ+ relationships and experiences including sexual orientation, gender identity and the spectrums thereof”.

The draft states:

“Consideration should be given to the inclusion within curriculums of LGBTQ+ specific sexual health issues and the presentation of LGBT relationships without distinction as to their heterosexual counterparts.”

Moreover, the draft includes plans to specifically address transphobic and homophobic bullying through a new system which will monitor and report incidents of anti-LGBT+ harassment in schools.

Another element of the proposed update will see a greater emphasis on consent, which will be brought to the attention of both primary and secondary school level students.

Additionally, the State has clarified that Catholic schools will be required to teach the new sexual education programme.

Fiona O’Loughlin, the chair of the Education committee outlined the intentions of the programme in the document’s forward:

“The curriculum needs to be inclusive of all students and to give a voice to LGBTQ+ students and those with special intellectual needs who are often overlooked in this area.

“To achieve this, the curriculum must be reviewed, to reflect today’s society and must be delivered in a consistent manner to all students and from an earlier age so that it becomes embedded in our children’s social development.”

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