Promoting sex education to the youngest of the young has drawn harsh criticism to a UN agency and its interpretation of age-appropriate education.
Once highly respected for its independence and integrity, UNESCO now works in partnership with the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US (SIECUS), an educational arm of the controversial Kinsey Institute.
Last September, a torrent of criticism greeted new UNESCO guidelines on sexuality education for promoting legal abortion and masturbation for children as young as five. The intensity of the objections forced the agency to pull the guidelines, only to quietly reissue new ones in December.
UNESCO acknowledges a former director of SIECUS is one of the principle authors of its sexuality guidelines. The guidelines are cited authoritatively as a model of age-appropriate sex education in a new UN report on education rights that was roundly denounced by UN members last week.
UNESCO removed some of the most explicit language in the revised guidelines, but retained an appendix with “guiding principles” that includes a Kinsey-inspired sex education curriculum for children from birth to age five. This curriculum instructs parents to provide anatomically correct dolls for young children to play with, inform them of diverse sexual relationships, and to be supportive of masturbation.
“If a child is touching his or her genitals in private, ignore the behavior,” suggests the curriculum. Regarding gender identity and sexual orientation, the curriculum warns that parents who insist on reinforcing traditional gender identities will hinder their children’s growth. “Confusion about these issues and fear of homosexuality (homophobia) has caused many parents and other adults to limit how girls and boys express themselves.”
One model curriculum included in the UNESCO guidelines tells instructors they should avoid moralization, as there are no rights or wrongs when discussing values. In another curriculum, the authors note a contradiction when looking at “religious approaches and rights based approach.” Yet another curriculum examines early sexual development, noting from birth to age two that children may “experience genital pleasure”, and by age three may engage in “sex play”.
Infamous sexologist Alfred Kinsey founded his institute at Indiana University. Kinsey reached prominence in the 1940s and 1950s for his work in documenting human sexual behaviors. Critics accused Kinsey of promoting pedophilia, pointing to his research that documented adults bringing children and infants to orgasm. The Kinsey Institute created SIECUS in 1964 as its educational arm. Its first director was Dr. Mary Calderone, the former medical director of Planned Parenthood.
A recent government report revealed that SIECUS received $1.6 million dollars in federal funding between 2002 and 2009.
Last month, a UNESCO working group released a new report calling for a new look at the UN moratorium on human cloning. The group proposed that only therapeutic cloning should be banned, which would allow support for research involving other types of cloning.
LifeNews.com Note: Terrence McKeegan writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication and is used with permission.