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New British Sex-Ed Guidelines Lead To Confusion
Jessica
12.26.18

Menstruation is a natural part life. Of course, that doesn’t make it any less awkward to explain to 8-year-olds.

Lucélia Ribeiro via Flickr
Source:
Lucélia Ribeiro via Flickr

Now, teachers at a school in Brighton, England are being asked to make their classes more inclusive when it comes to gender diversity by explaining that trans people can also get periods, meaning that while a child might identify as a boy, they may have to ask for a tampon or pad. That’s simply because they were born with a uterus and may indeed bleed. While periods often start around the age of 12, they can begin as early as age 8.

While people have called the new curriculum everything from “unnecessarily confusing” to “insanity,” the goal is simply to allow kids to talk about a completely normal part of life and get them to feel comfortable asking for what they need – as well as avoid humiliation and prying questions from classmates.

Pixabay
Source:
Pixabay

Now, in case you’re confused, here’s what you need to know about this from a biological standpoint: 1) Menstrual blood originates in the uterus; 2) Most females menstruate (although there are conditions under which some females do not); 3) therefore, trans people who identify as boys/men but who were born with a uterus can menstruate.

WNPR
Source:
WNPR

But being asked to teach pupils that “all genders can have periods” is apparently too much for some adults to handle. (Remember, gender is a cultural term, while sex is a biological/anatomical term.)

Pixabay
Source:
Pixabay

Interestingly, the accusations of things having gone too far are coming from both sides of the political divide. One politician has claimed that it’s the “latest example of barking mad trans activism.” He said: “Learning about periods is already a difficult subject for children that age, so to throw in the idea girls who believe they are boys also have periods will leave them completely confused.”

Even feminist activists are registering their displeasure. One said that “To tell impressionable children that boys can also menstruate sidelines girls who should be getting support when they start their periods.”

For something hardly anyone wants to talk about, there’s quite a lot of outrage.

Pixabay
Source:
Pixabay

Both sides seem to completely miss the point that anyone with a uterus can indeed bleed. Trans language can be hard to process accurately for those of us whose sex and gender are the same, but this confusion can be easily remedied with a little education and empathy.

And let’s face it, it can’t hurt to allow anyone who needs a tampon or pad to have one without labeling it an enormous victory for some political agenda.

Pixabay
Source:
Pixabay

Is this just another thing for adults to argue over in the name of politics? Or is it truly confusing these children in a way that may be detrimental to their development? Your outlook on the matter is up to you, but it’s important to note that the new curriculum that has everyone up in arms is only in effect in one school.

The school’s new guidelines stem from a report produced by the Brighton & Hove City Council, which also concluded that “periods are something to celebrate” and advocated “a cross-curricular approach to learning about periods, particularly in science and PSHE but also in media studies, PE, maths, graphics, and textiles.”

But you don’t need to agree with the entire sentiment to support one provision, which is that “Period products are provided for all pupils and students who need them” in order to reduce “stigma and shame related to periods.” That seems like a common good.

Pixabay
Source:
Pixabay

No doubt there will be continued debate on how far-reaching the curriculum will be in this Brighton primary school and beyond. And there may never be a conclusion the suits everyone.

In the end, these sorts of policies will likely be decided on a school-by-school basis, as legislation coming down the line in the UK plans to recommend that schools are free to determine how they address LGBT issues in a way that is “sensitive and age-appropriate.”

In the meantime, students will be taught about menstruation based on the fact that “Trans boys and men and non-binary people may have periods,” and that “menstruation must be inclusive of all genders.” That means that trash cans used to dispose of tampons and pads will be located in all bathrooms (because it’s not good for plumbing if you flush them) and school nurses will be alerted to the need to provide menstrual products and support for transgender students.

Global Citizen
Source:
Global Citizen

The same council also approved a “Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit” to help teachers treat children’s gender identity sensitively, including being aware of their preference for being called “he,” “she,” or something else.

While the fight will rage on among adults with their own agendas, it remains to be seen how the children are responding to it. Most likely, they’d just like all the fuss to go away.

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Pexels

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By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a writer at Shareably.
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