Conservative “pro-family” advocacy groups with US ties are targeting increasingly inclusive sex education lesson plans being developed by the South African education department as part of the life orientation curriculum.
Three groups in particular are vehemently opposed to the new content. They are Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA), the conservative teachers’ union SAOU, and the Family Policy Institute. The three organizations are calling on civil society to mobilize a boycott of the new Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) material. They argue that the content violates traditional Christian values and is dangerous to children.
The new lesson plans have not yet been released. But media reports suggest they include topics such as consent, gender and sexuality diversity, self-image, genital differences and changes, body diversity and touching oneself for pleasure.
According to the Department of Basic Education the purpose of CSE “is to ensure that we help learners build an understanding of concepts, content, values and attitudes related to sexuality, sexual behavior change as well as leading safe and healthy lives”.
The narrative that sex education is dangerous to children is common among US conservative “pro-family” advocacy groups. The pro-family movement unites the anti-abortion and anti-gay movements that emerged in the US during the 1970s in response to the sexual revolution.