Submission on the health education curriculum

On 30 July we made a slightly hasty submission on the draft national Health and Physical Education curriculum.

The draft that we commented on mis-described intersex as a form of gender diversity, while legislation and guidelines now more accurately recognise that intersex is a biological phenomenon. There are consequences both in terms of education around sexual health, and physical education.

The draft “Revised Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education: Foundation to Year 10” of July 2013 read:

Gender-diverse: Refers to people who fall outside the typical range of masculinity or femininity with regards to gender identity and/or physical sex characteristics. Sex and/or gender diverse people include many different groups, including intersex, transsexual, transgender, androgynous, people without sex and gender identity and cross dressers.

We’ve since been advised that the glossary reference to intersex has been corrected, such that it has been extracted from the definition of “gender diverse”.

We understand that the independent definition has been linked to the curriculum in the area of sexual health. The term has also been appended to a section under “planning considerations and student diversity”:

The Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education is designed to allow schools flexibility to meet the needs of all these young people, particularly in the health focus area of relationships and sexuality. All school communities have a responsibility when implementing the Health and Physical Education curriculum to ensure teaching is inclusive and relevant to the lived experiences of all students. This is particularly important when teaching about reproduction and sexual health to ensure that the needs of all students are met, including students who may be same sex attracted, gender diverse or intersex.

Our submission covered a range of other health and physical education issues – in particular noting that health issues impact in unique ways on intersex infants, children and adolescents, as detailed in our submissions to the Senate Inquiry on involuntary or coerced sterilisation.

Our submission can be downloaded in PDF form here.