Polish gay rights group hits out at new textbook

Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:49pm EDT
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By Agathe Osinski

WARSAW (Reuters Life!) - A gay rights group urged the Polish government on Wednesday to withdraw a book authorized for use in secondary schools that it says portrays homosexuality as an illness that can be cured.

The 'Association for Diversity' said the textbook, one of two authorized recently for use in family and sexual education classes, limits itself to a narrow, traditional view of homosexuality espoused by Poland's powerful Catholic Church.

The education ministry shrugged off the complaint, saying textbooks were approved on the advice of experts and individual teachers were free to choose which ones they used.

"(The book) remains silent on the problems of homophobia and discrimination and presents the theory that homosexuality is something one can reject and that one can return to 'normality'," 'Diversity' spokesman Przemek Szczeplocki said.

"This kind of attitude deepens the lack of acceptance for gays, lesbians and bisexuals and perpetuates a belief that some sexual orientations are weird, and this is hurtful," he said.

A previous edition of the book had gone further by putting homosexuality on a par with incest and pedophilia, he added.

"This latest edition is more subtle but this is just as dangerous as it can seem less outrageous and more convincing to students," said Szczeplocki.

Reuters was unable to obtain a copy or excerpts of the book in question. Szczeplocki said the second newly-authorized textbook on the same subject was in line with more tolerant views enshrined in the Polish constitution and the European Court of Human Rights.   Continued...