Germany isn’t shy when it comes to addressing controversial social issues, but for some, the issue of making sexual diversity part of the regular curriculum at schools in the German state of Baden-Württemberg is going too far.
For the past year a committee has been drafting up this plan for the 2015 curriculum with the hope to teach students about accepting LGBT people and students. It shouldn’t be all that surprising that some people would disagree with the decision, but now a online petition started by a middle school teacher has gained some traction, bringing in over 100,000 signatures.
However the petition itself isn’t without its own criticism. The original verbiage had to be modified slightly to come across less discriminatory towards the LGBT community. One of the main points of the petition against the proposed addition to the school curriculum that has come under fire was a statement that the plan fails to “reflect the negative side effects of an LGBT lifestyle”, citing suicide, drug abuse, HIV and mental illness.
One could argue that summing of the lifestyle of LGBT individuals in that way is the reason a curriculum is needed. There is a vast amount of disinformation on this community and in reality their ‘lifestyle’ is no different from a heterosexuals, aside from their sexual attraction. It’s also quite possible that teaching more on acceptance could in fact reduce the ‘negative side effects’.
Despite the petition, the planned curriculum is not expected to see much change. A statement was released by the German Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs to address the issue. In it it states that “Information about pluralism in life planning as well as sexual preference is supposed to strengthen the self-esteem of children and teenagers, as well as their appreciation of others, ultimately helping young adults to develop a their own personalities.”
Others in Germany have started up a petition against the petition and are quick to note that other German states have been progressive on this issue in their schools, citing Berlin, Brandenburg and North-Rhine-Westphalia as examples. That petition has so far been signed by close to 50,000 people.