Anti-Sex Education Protest in Kraków, Poland

Around a hundred people gathered in Kraków city centre to protest against government plans to provide children with a new form of compulsory sex education in schools.

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The protesters held placards urging will power in sexual matters, questioning whether Poland had a minister of education or depravation, and attacking World Health Authority guidance on sex ed. Other placards claimed wrongly that schools intended to teach four year olds to masturbate.

The protest was held on October 7, at the Adam Mickiewicz monument on Rynek Główny. It is the latest to be staged in several cities, since the government announced public consultation on following WHO guidelines in Polish schools.

The guidelines state that sex education should be age appropriate, holistic (that is, including good sexual health advice), be based on human rights, should be rooted in gender equality, self-determination, and accepting diversity, and should start at birth. WHO also says that sex education should be aimed at creating a fair and compassionate society, and should take scientific evidence as its basis.

Opponents interpret these guidelines as an attack on Catholic family values in Poland. Antoni Zięba,  vice-president of the Polish Federation of Pro-Life Movements, has gone on the record saying that the World Health Organisation recommendations for sex education standards were ‘very dangerous’ for young people.

He added: “You should defend what is currently in Polish schools. Of course, the current programme should improve , because it has some shortcomings , but we cannot allow it to enter the type of sex education has been based on promoting free sexual attitudes and widespread access to contraception.”

A book published last year also claimed that sex education was an ‘evil threat’ to family life.

However, Ponton, an organisation that gives lectures on sex education, said: “We know that the situation of young people often becomes completely hopeless because of lack of information. Girls write about unwanted pregnancies, violence… reliable sex education in schools could prevent many dramas such as unplanned teenage pregnancies.”

Pictures: Anthony Casey