Sex and gender at school, with wisdom

It is therefore done: we will create a “committee of wise men” to reflect on the vast question of sex and gender and, inevitably, on what follows for the school and its curriculum.

The subject, as you know, is extraordinarily controversial, polemical, divisive.

In this very particular context, I think that the creation of such a committee is, in theory at least, a good idea. In practice ? Everything will depend, on the one hand, on its composition, and on the other hand, on the way in which it designs and carries out its work.

On this last point, here are some modest ideas for reflection.

I break them down in four words.

Science. Distinguishing between what is scientifically established (no doubt to varying degrees) and what is opinion, often nourished by convictions or by ideology, or by what is only pseudoscience, will be crucial here.

The committee will have to do considerable but essential work on all this. This will be difficult work on some subjects, given the relative novelty of certain questions on which the most recent research leads us to revise the positions we had hitherto adopted. This is currently demonstrated by the significant reversals of certain countries (the very progressive Sweden and Finland, but also England) on medical interventions for gender transitions in minors, as well as on hormone blockers.

To establish what is scientifically credible, it will require the collaboration of learned and impartial biologists and doctors.

This evidence will be brought together for the purpose of deciding on policies, and therefore for taking action. As we know, every action aims at an end and the end contains a value judgment. However, this cannot be drawn from facts alone, cannot be dictated by conclusive data alone.

A new and crucial project is opening here.

Values. What exactly do we want to accomplish by acting on this issue? What goals are we aiming for, what values ​​should guide us? When it comes to the youngest, is it not to harm children? How is this precisely defined? What exactly is evil? What does all this mean for all children? Should we aim for something else?

The committee will have to be very clear on this subject, because the choice of values ​​to be established through action informed by evidence will weigh heavily on what we agree to do, or not to do.

I just talked about children. The issue of school, of what we will do, say, or not, is here as unavoidable as it is difficult.

The key word here is: indoctrinate.

Indoctrination. Indoctrinating is the opposite of educating. It closes the mind, whereas education wants to open it. To indoctrinate is to make one a slave to an idea, whereas education wants to make one free to adopt them by thinking about them lucidly. It even happens that doctrines are deadly, dangerous, for those who adopt them or for others. Having a clear idea of ​​all this is crucial.

We will want (thanks to science) to distinguish between what is established and what is a doctrine. And we will want at all costs to avoid searching, by means that reason does not authorize (appeal to emotions, attacks against the person, concealment of important data, appeal to the crowd, exploitation interested in cognitive biases and so on), to unconditionally adhere to a doctrine.

Vast, but essential program, to be taken seriously.

But it is not enough to not indoctrinate to act badly in such matters. Kairos must also be taken into account.

Kairos. It sounds very erudite, but I have always loved this word and its origin.

Kairos is a god represented with a lock of hair. If he passes near you, you see him… or you don’t see him. If you see him, either you do nothing or you grab him by the hair!

You understand: kairos is the opportune moment, the right moment that must be seized.

When it comes to sexuality, what we say to children, it is not enough not to indoctrinate: we must also seriously take into account the age of the children and what they can, or cannot, taking into account this variable, hear without it causing them harm.

Think about a subject related to sexuality, a delicate, very delicate, sensitive subject. I’m not naming anything, but it’s not difficult to find: sexual practices that fall into this category do exist. Have you made your choice ? GOOD.

We can talk about this without indoctrination, by giving the facts, by respecting and presenting the various possible points of view on the practice in question.

But if we do all this with children of such an age, which I will let you determine here, we cause them, or we can cause them harm, even very great harm. To avoid this dangerous pitfall, you will have to wait for kairos to pass, see him, and grab him by the hair.

With the help of sexologists and psychologists, we will be able to tell when this god will pass away.

Science, values, indoctrination, kairos: these, in my opinion, are the paths to wisdom that are essential.

Doctor of philosophy, doctor of education and columnist, Normand Baillargeon has written, directed or translated and edited more than seventy works.

To watch on video

source site-42