Korean gay rights groups are calling for the country to introduce a more comprehensive sex education program into the nation’s schools.
Currently there is no mention of LGBT people in text books relating to any subject in Korean schools. In January the country’s education department announced that a curriculum review would uphold the policy of not mentioning LGBT people or sexuality.
Last week activist protested in front of government buildings in central Seoul to raise awareness of LGBT rights.
“The Education Ministry should discard the sex education guidelines which only promote discrimination and prejudice against sexual minorities and should opt to give LGBT-inclusive education,” activists said.
Homosexuality has never been illegal in South Korea but Korean society is largely not accepting of sexual minorities, despite a thriving gay scene in the capital Seoul.
The education department has said that it would not be appropriate to update the guidelines until societal attitudes have changed but has also said that teachers are free to explain homosexuality to students at their own discretion.
The concession is a marked change from statements released last year with expressly forbid any mention of homosexuality in the nation’s schools, but leaves teachers with no guidelines on how to broach the subject.
The Education Department’s new 40-page guidelines for sex education have been criticised for being outdated and reaffirming gender roles.
The guidelines include promotion of abstinence and suggest that girls should not be left alone with their boyfriends to avoid sexual violence.
Source: Korean Herald, Image: Rainbow Umbrellas at the Mencenatpolis Shopping Centre in Seoul.