Thursday, 30. October 2014
03. 12. 12. - 10:00
A new sex education brochure for teachers aimed at helping them to raise the subject with kids aged between six and 12 has been strongly criticised by politicians from the ÖVP, FPÖ and BZÖ because of its emphasis on including alternative sexuality.
They branded it "disturbing" and "a discredit to the so-called core family" during a debate in parliament, saying they had received several calls from concerned parents. Catholic groups have also called for the publication to be withdrawn. Critics have said it equates "traditional" heterosexual relationships with same-sex partnerships and is an attack on family values.
But its creators say it merely reflects modern society and also it was important to inform children as the best way of protecting them from abuse.
But despite the fuss the 152-page book "Ganz schön intim" is unlikely to be taken off the market although experts that were behind its creation said they might make some slight modifications.
The book is rather tame on the illustrations and is mainly designed to prepare teachers to instruct school children on sexuality. But it also includes detailed written information on masturbation, homosexuality and intersexuality, the term denoting those born with biological characteristics of both genders.
The brochure aims to teach children to speak openly about sexuality and learn to identify their own limits. "First and foremost, good material for sexual education should not merely cement the status quo. It should surprise, inspire and challenge," write the booklet's creators, from the group Selbstlaut, which seeks to combat sexual abuse and violence. The government hired the group to develop the publication.
Controversially the brochure also presents the use of sperm banks and surrogacy as possible solutions for child-bearing, although both are illegal here in Austria.
Still the government have shown themselves to be largely unmoved by the fuss. "Conservatives and the right wing have always viewed sexual education with suspicion," said Green party member Harald Walser, adding that it is an important step in fighting the sexual abuse of children. "Children find it easier to talk about their own experiences if they are used to confronting adults with embarrassing questions or difficult feelings," he said.
Other groups have also come forward this week to defend the brochure, saying that it merely reflects the realities of today's society. "The whole thing is very user-friendly and practicable," says Olaf Kapella of the Austrian Institute for Family Research at the University of Vienna. He added that teachers in the country are often not trained to give sexual education in schools, making a brochure like "Ganz schön intim" particularly useful and necessary.
For the moment, it seems unlikely that conservatives will succeed in getting the booklet withdrawn. But it may be slightly revised. Kapella noted that a couple of improvements could be made, particularly when it comes to describing where children come from. The list, he notes, begins with adoption, "and is in alphabetical order." He suggests that it might be better to weight the list toward biology.
Halloween At The Zoo
Pumpkin pie might be the order of the day for people this Halloween but now zoo animals are also getting in on the act.
Baby Naked Mole Rats Born In Vienna
With their pink hairless bodies and fangs for front teeth, these baby naked mole rats were never going to win any cuteness contests at Schonbrunn Zoo in the Austrian capital Vienna.
Jihad Girls Gunpoint Retraction Of Desire To Go Home
Austrian anti-terrorism police believe that an interview given to a French magazine allegedly with one of the two teenage girls who fled to Syria to join in the jihad was probably carried out at gunpoint.
Get Shorty As Confused Bald Ibis Gets Lost Again
A rare bald Ibis that seems to have a different sense of direction to her fellow birds has once again had to be rescued after getting stuck trying to find a different route to the southern Italian feeding ground.
Alpine Trains Venture Into Space As The Final Frontier
Austria’s national railway line the OeBB has raised eyebrows after offering themed toilets including one that is supposed to "look and smell like outer space".
MEP caught In Brit papers Fraud Probe Jailed
A corrupt MEP caught by a British newspaper offering to propose amendments to EU laws in exchange for 100,000 euros a year has been given a three-year-jail term.
Vienna Jihad Girls Want To Come Home
The two Austrian teenage girls who became ‘poster girls’ for the jihad in Syria are now desperate to come home after getting completely disillusioned with their new lifestyles.
There was a festival atmosphere as Bundespresident Heinz Fischer opened Vienna's new Hauptbahnhof Friday morning.
Apple Truck Causes Traffic Jam
When 24 tonnes of apples are catapulted across a road it can only mean a jam.
Farmer Cleared Over Wolf Shooting
Furious animal rights campaigners have accused an Austrian farmer of lying after he shot dead a wolf that he claimed he thought was a fox.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Jihad Girls Gunpoint Retraction Of Desire To Go Home|
|Alpine Trains Venture Into Space As The Final Frontier|
|4.3 Million GBP For Sterilised Roma Women|
|Man Severed Penis That Failed To Impress Girls|
|Get Shorty As Confused Bald Ibis Gets Lost Again|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.