ST Forum: Supporting gay rights does not make one gay

23 May 2009
Straits Times Online forum

Teach sex education in context of meaningful relationships
I READ with interest the reports on how sex education is needed to counter worrying trends and the approaches to be taken.

There is one important factor missing in all the discussions and that is the context in which sex happens – in a relationship.

Sex education is not just about teaching how sex takes place or when sexuality is aroused. Nor is it about accepting the barrage of emotions involved in exploring alternative lifestyles. These make up only one component of sex education.

The reason there’s such a mess is because the programme should be entitled “Relationships”, with sex, sexuality and so on as sub-topics. If sex education is taught in isolation, our children will never see the importance of abstinence or why precautions are to be taken when engaging in sex.

Relationships should be the anchor to sex and sex education should be taught in the context of a relationship and all its intricacies, such as self-esteem, values and beliefs.

First, a complete and wholesome view of what a balanced relationship should be must be shared so that children from various backgrounds understand the goal and aim of having a relationship. The choices of abstinence and the consequences of indulging in premarital sex should be shared and revealed.

Share what happens when abstinence is not practised and when relationships are not honoured. Provide our children with a reference point for a good and wise choice.

Whatever the choice is, it is ultimately their choice and they should enter these scenarios with their eyes wide open.

Don’t advocate options like wearing a condom as a choice for premarital sex. Instead, educate them on what is premarital sex in the context of a relationship so that our children know why it is not encouraged.

If they do eventually engage in it, it is their personal choice but one where they are made fully aware of the consequences. They need to be ready to deal with the situation after that.

So, it’s really not sex education that needs to be taught. It’s the importance of being in a responsible adult relationship that needs to be shared.

We, as a society, need to be brave to stand up for what’s right, to communicate clearly what’s right and allow our children to make the choices themselves and subsequently handle the various consequences of their choices.

Karen Chew (Mrs)

Seeking clarification on feminist mentor’s comments

I REFER to Dr Thio Su Mien’s letter on Monday (“Gay activists a key constituency of Aware”) in which she pointed out that “many sexually challenged women were among the most vocal and vociferous supporters of the old guard” at the Association of Women for Action and Research’s recent extraordinary general meeting.

I would like her to clarify how on earth she knows that those who spoke up are “sexually challenged”.

Also, what does she mean by “sexually challenged”? While I can understand the term “aesthetically challenged”, I have difficulty fathoming the latest term.

Patrick Low

Supporting gay rights does not make one gay
I REFER to Dr Thio Su Mien’s letter on Monday, “Gay activists a key constituency of Aware”.

I was at the Association of Women for Action and Research’s extraordinary general meeting from start to end.

Gays did not comprise a numerical majority at the meeting. Being a supporter of rights for gay people doesn’t make one a homosexual, lesbian or homosexual activist.

I support the Palestinians’ right to live their lives without a wall dividing their communities, but that does not mean that I am a Palestinian. Nor am I a Palestinian rights activist.

I am not sure�why Dr Thio calls the supporters�of the old guard “sexually challenged”. Does she mean they are somehow physically or psychologically sexually impaired?

Just because I was a “vocal and vociferous supporter of the old guard”, does that make me sexually challenged?

Indulekshmi Rajeswari (Miss)

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