Unpacking religious and secular binaries in public school sexuality education: Conceptualizations of sexuality in Ontario Christians’ life narratives

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DesRochers, Jacob
Youth , Sexual Health Education , Politics , Public Discourse , Controversy , Evangelical Christianity , Secularism , Sex-Ed , Comprehensive Sexuality Education , Religion , Narrative Research , Life Story
In 2010, less than 48 hours after the first release of a new Health and Physical Education curriculum (HPE), Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty revoked the update, claiming the Liberal government, had ‘listened to the parents.’ In 2015, the Liberal government would eventually implement a revised HPE curriculum, much to the same social and cultural dissonance faced by the McGuinty government in 2010. Nine years later, and these curriculum concerns are still present. In August 2018, Conservative Premier Doug Ford, repealed the 2015 HPE curriculum, vowing to ‘put the rights of the parent first.’ Before the start of the 2019 school year, Ford’s second Minister of Education Stephen Lecce unveiled a ‘new’ HPE curriculum that largely mirrors the vilified 2015 document. During the history of Ontario’s curriculum controversy, Evangelical Christians have been frequently represented in mainstream media accounts of the conflict as a united opposition to comprehensive sexuality education. However, it is currently unknown whether the informal sexuality education that plays out across an Evangelical Christian’s life course is as categorically opposed to Ontario’s HPE curriculum as media representations suggest. This study explores how sexuality emerges in the ways Ontario Christians narrate their life stories.
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