Parents have expressed concern at a play being shown in schools about young children ‘coming to terms with their sexuality’.
The “hip hop musical” FIT, staged by Drill Hall touring theatre group, is targeted at pupils aged 11 to 14.
A number of parents are concerned and feel it is sending out the wrong messages to their children.
A mother whose two children attend Dagenham Park Community School where the play is being shown this week, said: “When I was 11, I didn’t even know what ‘gay’ was.”
“It has come to something when our schools are worried about first year pupils making their minds up about their sexuality”.
The play which is commissioned by homosexual pressure group, Stonewall, has been staged at more than 75 schools.
A Drill Hall spokesman claims: “FIT has been developed to tackle the growing problem [of] homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools” by telling young homosexuals they should be proud to be gay.
Parents are protesting and say children are too young to be confronted with messages of homosexual discrimination.
A father whose 12-year-old son is at Dagenham School added: “Maybe I’m an old fashioned sort of bloke but I don’t want my boy seeing this. I could be wrong but I don’t think it’s normal to think about being gay at that age”.
The play is another addition to current controversies concerning “sexualising” schoolchildren.
Earlier this year two British primary schools were forced to back down over plans to use controversial picture books which celebrate same-sex relationships.
The plans led to protests from over 90 parents.
A governor at one of the schools, Farooq Saddique, said: “Families were saying to us ‘our child is coming home and talking about same-sex relationships, when we haven’t even talked about heterosexual relationships with them yet’.”
In September a ‘gay rights’ education group held a series of seminars on how to promote homosexuality in primary schools.
Among the topics up for discussion were:
• How might we create primary classrooms where gender-queer bodies and queer sexualities (for children and teachers) are affirmed and celebrated?
• What would it take to teach queerly? How would teachers’ and children’s bodies be implicated in this? What sorts of subversions and reversals might it entail?
• At what cost do we deny children’s and teachers’ sexuality? What do we lose if desire and pleasure are banned from the classroom?