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Homosexuality missing from sex education

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By Chung Hyun-chae

Controversy has risen over educating students about homosexuality at schools, following the education ministry's refusal to include the topic in new guidelines for sex education.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the Ministry of Education's new guidelines and a teacher's manual for sex education to be distributed in March will have no mention of homosexuality.

The educator's reasoning is this: Social consensus is necessary to include homosexuality because there are opposing opinions lingering on this issue. Also, "We view it's too early to teach children younger than 20 about homosexuality," according to a ministry official.

This is not the first time. The same thing happened in 2015, drawing a huge backlash from civic groups.

"Adolescents, who are most impressionable, need to receive comprehensive sex education including homosexuality to accept gender identity naturally," the secretary general of the Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea, said during an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

The secretary general also said the group plans to launch a campaign to scrap the education ministry's sex education guidelines. The group condemned the decision for violating basic human rights.

Meanwhile, parent groups welcomed the ministry's decision.

One group called Next Generation said Saturday, "It is quite natural that the education ministry decided not to provide education promoting homosexuality for the future of our sons and daughter."

The education ministry explained that even though the guidelines did not include homosexuality, teachers can answer related questions from students and have discussions on it during classes. "The schools have already been providing education on the understanding of gay rights in social studies," the ministry official said.

The educator's move runs counter to a slowly growing awareness about homosexuality in Korea.

Homosexuals are still suffering hard from discrimination as homosexuality is a strong taboo here; however, more people are coming forward seeking social acceptance, as the annual "Queer Festival" demonstrates.


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