Grade two students to learn about sexuality and gender identity in new Quebec curriculum

Starting at the elementary level, children as young as six will receive lessons on sexuality, body needs, sexual assault prevention, and diverse family compositions.

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The Quebec Ministry of Education has implemented a new mandatory program focusing on sexuality and gender identity in elementary and secondary schools. Children as young as six years old will now be introduced to the complexities of sexuality.

The Quebec Ministry of Education has announced the replacement of the "Ethics and Religious Culture" (ERC) curriculum with a new program titled "Culture and Citizenship," set to become mandatory in the 2024-25 school year. The revamped curriculum aims to introduce students to various aspects of sexuality, gender identity, and LGBT+ content, sparking a wide range of reactions within the population.

Starting at the elementary level, children as young as six will receive lessons on sexuality, body needs, sexual assault prevention, and diverse family compositions. By the second grade, students will learn about the sexual parts of the body and gender roles. In the third grade, the focus will shift to stereotypes related to sex and gender, inclusion and exclusion, and respecting differences.

The curriculum continues to build on these themes through secondary school, with only Secondary III students, (14 year olds,) receiving a brief respite from the sexual education content. This approach may overwhelm young students, introducing complex topics at an early age.

The previous ERC curriculum provided tools for understanding cultural and religious heritage, promoting social cohesion, and teaching tolerance, respect, and openness. In contrast, the new curriculum aims to address inequalities and differences based on appearance, sex, and behaviour.

Some concerns have been raised that the curriculum, whose focus is on gender identity and sexuality, may lead to early sexualization and confusion among young children. Topics like gender dysphoria and non-binary identities are complex psychological issues best addressed by medical professionals rather than school programs.

This new program is now mandatory for public schools in the province of Quebec, but will parents challenge it?

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