Gove under fire over “Anti-Gay” booklet used in schools

18th February, 2012 10:24 pm

According to the Guardian:

“Brendan Barber, the TUC’s general secretary, wrote to Gove in December expressing alarm that a booklet containing “homophobic material” had been distributed by a US preacher after talks to pupils at Roman Catholic schools across the Lancashire region in 2010. The booklet, “Pure Manhood: How to become the man God wants you to be”, discusses a boy dealing with “homosexual attractions” which it suggested may “stem from an unhealthy relationship with his father, an inability to relate to other guys, or even sexual abuse”. 
The booklet, which claims that “scientifically speaking, safe sex is a joke”, explains that “the homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God’s natural purpose for sex – babies and bonding.” 
Referring to the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits discrimination against individuals, Barber said: “Schools now have a legal duty to challenge all forms of prejudice. Such literature undermines this completely.”
But Gove insists: “The education provisions of the Equality Act 2010 which prohibit discrimination against individuals based on their protected characteristics (including their sexual orientation) do not extend to the content of the curriculum. Any materials used in sex and relationship education lessons, therefore, will not be subject to the discrimination provisions of the act.””
So homophobia isn’t allowed in schools (except if it’s on the curriculum)? How does that work exactly…?
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  • Tristan Price-Williams

    Erm… wow… Gove never ceases to surprise me. Next he’ll be getting out of bed without any help.

  • M Cannon

    A quick look at those provisions of the Equality Act 2010 which deal specifically with education in schools suggests that Mr Gove is right and Mr Barber is wrong as to whether they can be prayed in aid against the rather obnoxious views of the US preacher.  They are about such things as admission to schools rather than what is taught there.

    But his department seems to be clear that it is against the law to promote homphobic material.

    So what is the fuss about?

    I think the answer is clear: the Left is out to get Mr Gove who is doing a fantastic job at raising standards across the board in the state sector in the face of desperate and (I hope now despairing) opposition from those who have condemned so many of our children to low expectations and low achievements.  Mr Gove is winning the battle and thank goodness for that. 

    • Tory supporter. What’s he doing here?

      • Heaven forbid you talk to someone who has a different perception of the world instead of engaging in a massive circlejerk. 

        • AlanGiles

          Sexual orientation is not a lifestyle choice. Therefore, to encourage the use of literature to give the impression it is – is not only anti-educational but mischevious. 

          When I was a boy, left-handed boys at school were “encouraged” to write with their right hand.

          We wouldn’t do that today because the world has advanced. Do we want the methods of the 1940s/50s to be used in any sphere of education?

          • Winston_from_the_Ministry

             Are you telling me I can’t be gay if I want to be?

          • Gem

            That depends on your definition of gay. You can certainly sleep with someone of the same gender if you so wish; however, I presume considering the (insulting) nature of your question, you have not experienced attraction to a member of the same sex. You can’t force yourself to be sexually attracted to someone.

            Just as gay people, who are born as gay, cannot and should not force themselves to be in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex because it’s what society, with its narrow-minded focus, teaches them. Religious perspectives are understandable. But not when they teach bigotry, and this cannot be considered to be anything but. 

      • M Cannon

        I am explaining the true position in relation to the provisions of the Equality Act 2010.  Do you have a problem with the truth?

      • TomFairfax

         Hi Mike,
        Have you no concern for the educationally challenged being heard? ;o)

    • AlanGiles


       Mr Gove who is doing a fantastic job”

      This must qualify as the most ridiculous piece of hyperbole on the site this week – and God knows there have been quite a few contenders

    • Franwhi

      Yes but all curricula must meet the requirement of providing a broad and general education to all pupils. To keep the curriculum broad and general and keep schools accountable for maintaining that standard it is right that a wide range of stakeholders (left and right if you like) monitor what children are being taught.
      Don’t confuse this duty with pushing for excellence in how subjects are taught. clearly the “what” and the “how” are two different things. Hope I’ve cleared that up for you.

    • TomFairfax

       Mark, Actualy I agree blaming St Michael for the activities in Lancashire Roman Catholic schools is a bit desperate, but;

      ‘ Mr Gove who is doing a fantastic job at raising standards across the board in the state sector’

      is equally so.

      Unless you really do mean fantastic literally, as in some connection with fantasy.

    • Dave Postles

       May we be shown the full text of Gove’s letter to see whether he condemned the content at any point, regardless of the technical issue of the 2010 Equality Act?  If he simply replied on the technical point, then he should think again about his response.
      IMHO, Gove and Hilton are the two most dangerous people in the country: they seem to think that they can make some proclamation and take some actions without regard to the consequences or conventional bounds. 

    • Jeremy_Preece

       I can think of a lot of word to describle Micheal Gove, and fantastic is not one of them. He always struck me as a charater out of a P G Woodhouse novel, who accidently slipped through out of the book and into the real world.
      The difference is that in the novels he would be funny, and he would always have access to someone sensible like Jeeves, who would intervine before he made a prat of himself in public.
      In real life there is nothing to laugh at though.

  • And that coming from Michael Gove, the campest man in parliament.

  • Winston_from_the_Ministry

     How is it in insulting?

    You’re very narrow minded if you don’t mind me saying. You seem to be working from the assumption that if you are heterosexual all homosexual possibilities are immediately unnappealing and vice versa.

    Not a very liberal or open minded view.

    • Cari_esky5

      Everyone can try same sex intimacy if they  decide to as much as a homosexual can try opposite sexual intimacy.  It’s just that the true instinct of sexual attraction comes from within and that is where the choice has already been made by biology not  by an intellectual choice.  

      As a gay man myself I do not have a choice on my instinct but I had a choice to ignore where my attraction laid.  The thing is how ever I tried to, the feeling of same sex attraction was always there and still very much is.  It doesn’t go away. 

      Now to a evangelical Christian God made everything so he made the workings of biology.  If God made the biological processes then he purposefully made same sex attraction possible for same sex intimacy. 

      Now stop trolling, Mr Winston. 

  • Winston_from_the_Ministry

    How is it insulting?

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