End the tyranny of sex in youth culture;Letter

27th March 1998 at 00:00
I wish to support calls by Sir Ian McKellen and others for action to curb and, if possible, eradicate homophobic bullying. There is no justification for passive inaction when pupils are being verbally or physically damaged, whatever their sexual orientation.

As I think about the victims, more radical objectives occur to me than those advocated by Stonewall and the Terrence Higgins Trust. "Pupils believed to be gay" are often identified by their tormentors because they do not join in the obsessive pursuit of members of the opposite sex.

Such obsessions take over the waking and sleeping thoughts, language and actions of children at ever-lower ages. Hence the persistence of teenage pregnancies and the large number of young people under 16 receiving regular contraceptive help. Sexual assault in schools is a widely recognised problem and, as a recent court case revealed, primary schools are increasingly troubled by it.

Young people dissenting from this "natural" fanaticism are likely to be called "queer". Many of them come from orthodox Christian homes, or they have voluntarily adopted a Christian lifestyle, in which the personal universe does not revolve around the urge for sexual conquest. For young people to be taunted about supposed promiscuity with their own sex, merely because they are not promiscuous with the other sex, is deeply insulting.

The truth is that much emphasis on sexuality in our cultures, particularly youth cultures, is both redundant and tyrannical. Young people should be taught that sex is not everything. If they learned that, partisanship about orientation would be less inflamed.

RICHARD WILKINS

General secretary Association of Christian Teachers 94A London Road St Albans, Hertfordshire

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