Attitudes of parents of young men towards the inclusion of sexual orientation and homophobia on the Irish post-primary curriculum

Case Studies & Research
16 p.
Periodical title
Gender and Education, 22 (4), 385-400

The ‘Exploring Masculinities’ (EM) programme was piloted in 22 Irish single-sex boys’ post-primary schools during the late 1990s. Following objections from some influential journalists and an organisation representing parents whose sons attended Catholic secondary schools, the Minister for Education and Science put the planned dissemination of the programme on hold. The concerns of the objectors included the proposed treatment of sexual orientation and homophobia in the context of the school curriculum. The authors researched the views of a national sample of the parents of young men regarding the inclusion of social and personal education issues on the school curriculum. The vast majority of parents would welcome the inclusion of all EM topics including sexual orientation and homophobia, the focus of the current paper, on the school curriculum. However, parents did express concerns in relation to the adequacy of teacher development for dealing with such sensitive topics and possible conflict between school and parental values.

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