Elite Qld school blasted over teen sex book

Students at an elite private school are being taught from an inflammatory book suggesting God hates homosexuals and being gay could be a result of poor parenting and childhood sexual abuse.

Moreton Bay Boys' College is using a controversial sex education book - which also discusses how LGBTIQA+ youth can "successfully" become heterosexual and describes people with ambiguous genitalia as "freaks" - in its religion classes.

The Teen Sex By the Book student handbook is a requirement on the Year 10 booklist of the Uniting Church-affiliated school in Manly West, but many parents are unaware of its alarming and "dangerous" content. Others who are aware want the book removed.

Some parents at Moreton Bay Boys’ College have reacted angrily to the contents of the book. Picture: John Gass
Some parents at Moreton Bay Boys’ College have reacted angrily to the contents of the book. Picture: John Gass

As well as giving 14 and 15-year-old boys messages parents slam as "homophobic", it condemns all sex before marriage, downplays domestic violence and perpetuates victim-blaming of sexual assault survivors by suggesting girls are responsible for male sexual frustration and aggression, including by the way they dress.

The 64-page book - not on the list at sister school Moreton Bay College or any other Queensland school - is written by Belinda Elliott as a companion to a paperback authored by doctor-turned-sexologist Patricia Weerakoon, an evangelical Christian in her 70s who was raised in Sri Lanka.

Students are asked to consider various statements, including "God hates homosexuals", before reading excerpts from Dr Weerakoon's book and answering questions on hypothetical case studies.

When asked if people are "born gay" or "choose to be gay", they learn from Dr Weerakoon that "some people with same-sex attraction may be predisposed to this by some gene-hormonal-immune interaction" and others are influenced by their childhood … "parenting, experiences in growing up, the sad instances of abuse, especially sexual abuse and peer group pressures make a big difference".

In a case study on "Thea", they read about a lesbian who, after becoming a Christian at 16, "knew God didn't want [her] to live this way", and are asked "what factors might increase her chance of success" of becoming straight.

They then undertake a "reflection" on Dr Weerakoon's words: "Even when there is a biological or genetic basis for the variance in gender, every person has a choice in how they live and act."

The book is a companion to a paperback authored by doctor-turned-sexologist Patricia Weerakoon.
The book is a companion to a paperback authored by doctor-turned-sexologist Patricia Weerakoon.

In the current, 2019 edition of her book, the former University of Sydney academic says unless the "homosexually-inclined" repent and anchor their identity in Jesus, who sacrificed for all sinners including prostitutes, they are likely to "end up in the gay/lesbian community".

Dr Weerakoon says the "tendency for same-sex attraction is likely to be more malleable in some and fixed in others".

People who "struggle with sexual sin" - including transgendered or transsexual people who use sexual desire "selfishly" - deserve compassion but that "doesn't mean approval and definitely not celebration of an ungodly lifestyle".

One angry Year 10 mother said the book was "homophobic and incites hate".

"The school should be teaching acceptance, consideration and kindness, especially now as same-sex marriage is legal," she said, declining to be named.

"It's outdated and very sad and it should be taken off the syllabus."

Another parent said she had "no idea" about the book's content until contacted by The Courier-Mail but it was "dangerous" when teenagers were still "working out who they are".

Deanne Carson, a leading Australian sexuality educator, said Teen Sex By the Book was, at best, contradictory to best practices in teaching sexual health, and, at worst, discriminatory.

"It promotes 'purity culture', where the only acceptable expression of sexuality is within a Christian marriage between a man and a woman," Ms Carson said.

The $12 handbook and $15 paperback, obtained by The Courier-Mail, also deem it unkind and ungodly for girls to wear short skirts and low-cut tops "tempting their Christian brothers to lust".

An excerpt from Teen Sex By the Book, which is a requirement on the Year 10 booklist at Moreton Bay Boys’ College.
An excerpt from Teen Sex By the Book, which is a requirement on the Year 10 booklist at Moreton Bay Boys’ College.

Girls are warned not to have sexual intercourse because they will "regret" it, and if they try to stop, their partner is "likely to get frustrated and angry", which is "dangerous territory".

Boys are told they cannot control arousal, and if unmarried "the time to stop sexual activity is when you feel desire or soon after you get an erection".

Moreton Bay Boys' College - which has been plagued by scandals this year, including the exit of executive principal James Sloman in June - maintains its religious education is diverse.

When asked why the school was using the handbook and whether it was relevant in 2020, head of college Andrew Holmes said it contained "thought-provoking statements used as a springboard for discussion".

"In class the boys are encouraged to question the views in the handbook and share their own thoughts and opinions," Mr Holmes said.

"All boys' viewpoints are respected. We focus on providing boys with learning that is made relevant to today's context and that of the future, reinforcing our college values, the importance of respect for others and understanding of those whose views may be different to their own."

Craig Roberts, CEO of Anglican Youthworks which publishes Dr Weerakoon's book, said the resource was not used elsewhere in Queensland and was in "a mere handful of faith-based independent schools" in NSW.

Mr Roberts said its traditional teachings were thousands of years old and therefore not surprising to be incorporated in a Christ-centred school, but the book would not be part of its 2021 curriculum offering because it had "run its course".

The Courier-Mail contacted Dr Weerakoon for comment but did not receive a reply.

 

kylie.lang@news.com.au

 

Originally published as Elite Brisbane school blasted over teen sex book


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