Junior cycle sex education 'would have helped me to understand myself'

A new sex education programme is set to be rolled out following a review of the current Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) for the junior cycle
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.42 25 Apr 2023

Share this article

Junior cycle sex education 'wo...

Junior cycle sex education 'would have helped me to understand myself'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.42 25 Apr 2023

Share this article

Teaching sex education and gender identity to junior cycle students will help people, and their friends, understand issues a lot easier.

That's according to one listener, who was responding to the announcement of a new sex education programme.

It follows a review of the current Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) for the junior cycle.


It will teach students about consent, sexual orientation, gender identity and the influence of pornography.

Stephen in Dublin told Lunchtime Live that those against the idea generally have never questioned their identity.

"Everytime I hear these discussions, it's people that have never had cause to question their gender identity in the first place because their gender matches their biological sex," he said.

"I identify as a man, I was assigned male at birth - based on the fact that I have a penis - and I've never really had cause to question it.

"But I know plenty of people that do question, and have questioned, their gender identity.

"If it's not being taught by the parents, it's either being taught by the internet, or a person's friends.

"So schools should be teaching factual information based on the best available evidence at the time".

'It was too late for me'

Stephen believes such changes to sex education in the junior cycle will benefit a lot of people.

"As a gay man I never got sex ed that was relevant to me - I went and found it when I was about 16 or 17," he said.

"All the information that I got left me terrified of having sex, because I might get HIV or another STI.

"It was too late for me by then to have had a basic pre-understanding of what I was looking at".

Stephen said this would have made his understanding of himself much easier.

"If I had this when I was their age or younger, it would probably have made my understanding of myself a lot easier - but it would also have made my friend's understandings of me, and my family's understandings of me at 12, 13, 14 way easier," he said.

"There would have been an awful lot less problems when I started coming out, in terms of the questions I was asked and the perceptions that were made of me when I came out".

'Where is the demand?'

Jana, who is founder of the Natural Women's Council, has said they are strongly opposed to this.

"The million euro question that we've asked - and we haven't received any answer [to] or any evidence on this - is where's the evidence that students, teachers and parents were demanding this to be brought in?" she said

"We haven't gotten that answer.

"We have hundreds of thousands of parents and teachers in our outreach... and not one person has said that this should be taught in schools.

"It seems like it's sort of an astroturfing, coming down from... the Government and the NGOs.

"Whether you have children or not, the men and women of Ireland need to realise that we only get one childhood - and we can all agree that it's up to us as parents and society to protect children from harm".

Jana said these harms can go beyond the physical or illnesses.

"There's another type of harm that can be equally as damaging, and that's social contagion," she said.

Using her home country of the United States as an example, she claimed: "The increase in children who are becoming gender confused because of the social contagion is alarming".

Listen back here:

Main image: A school notepad about sex education. Picture by: designer491 / Alamy Stock Photo

Share this article

Read more about

Consent Gender Identity Jana Junior Cycle Junior Cycle Sex Education Lunchtime Live Natural Women's Council Sex Education Sex Education Programme Sexual Orientation Stephen

Most Popular