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Navigating the Journey

Family planning believes young people have the right to “honest, accurate, and age-appropriate information about sexuality.” Their resource, Navigating the Journey, is provided for this purpose and is used in over 30% of New Zealand schools.

This programme is intended for children from year 1 to year 10 with the aim of promoting the well being of young people and to help them develop healthy, consensual, and respectful relationships.

While containing many worthwhile activities, the resource is not accurate or age-appropriate when it comes to sex and gender. From Year one, children are taught that there are more sexes than male and female by incorrectly using intersex (a medical condition) as proof. (see our FAQ on intersex conditions here.)

In the Year 5-6 lesson plans students are given false statistics to support the concept that sex is an internal feeling rather than a physical fact. (“It is important to be aware that at least 1 in 2,000 people are intersex” p59)

Further, they are taught incorrect biology:

  • Turn around if you think everyone who has a period identifies as a girl. (NO) (p59)

  • Sit down if you think some boys start growing breasts during puberty. (YES) (p59)

  • Do our body parts define who we are? (No. Some people with penises might feel more like girls and some people who identify as boys might have female body parts.) (p63)

  • Appendix 19 has labelled drawings of reproductive parts, but no label to say they are male or female.

  • The discussion about periods in Appendix 26 refers to people getting periods, not girls getting periods.

A worksheet is available for parents and caregivers but does not include any of the above information. Students are told that their issues may be kept confidential from their parents and are encouraged to find a wide range of other support people. Among the support sources cited is Rainbow Youth who encourage children who are uncomfortable in their bodies to transition.

There is much that is positive about this programme, but parents should be aware that untruths are being taught about biology, identity, and gender.

Schools do not have to ask for parents’ permission for their child to be included in this program but parents do have the right to withdraw them.

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