- A video that encourages schoolchildren as young as 14
to experiment with gay sex has caused outrage among MPs and family campaigners.
The film, now available in 180 schools, also asks pupils aged 14-16 to
discuss whether a fictional 15-year-old boy - Michael - should have unprotected
gay sex with his boyfriend.
- The Department of Health faced furious calls last night
to step in and block the teaching pack, which was paid for by Avon health
authority using public money.
- The pack - called Beyond a Phase: A Practical Guide to
Challenging Homophobia in Schools - is being cited by campaigners as a
prime example of why Labour should abandon plans to scrap section 28, the
law that forbids the promotion of homosexuality in schools. The 14-minute
film would be a clear breach of the law if health authorities were not
exempted from section 28.
- In it a young college student called Karl tells his audience
of school pupils that to obtain sexual satisfaction they should "try
experimenting with both boys and girls to see who you feel most comfortable
- Valerie Riches, of the Family and Youth Campaign pressure
group, said: "This puts concepts and activities into the minds of
youngsters they would not normally think about."
- Last night Liam Fox, the Conservative health spokesman,
said few parents would want their children "exposed" to the film
and said he would demand that the Department of Health investigate.
- The video shows young people talking about "coming
out" and their experiences of homosexual relationships and includes
images of young gay couples kissing. At one point, pupils are asked: "Michael
is 15 and his boyfriend wants him to have sex. He really wants to, but
he is nervous. Michael knows he should use a condom, but doesn't know where
to go for help. What should he do?"
- The teaching pack plus video was produced last year by
Health Promotion Services Avon in Bristol, which runs health and sex education
programmes for the health authority. It cost about £9,000 to produce
the £30 video.
- Health Promotion Services Avon said: "The video
and teachers pack promotes the values of tolerance and understanding and
that everyone has a right to be accepted whatever their sexuality."
- A spokesman for Avon health authority said: "We
have reviewed Beyond a Phase and in our view it treats a difficult subject
with great sensitivity. Local teachers consider it a valuable resource
and we fully support its use in schools."