Recipients include Jeremy Corbyn and Justine Greening.
More than 400 valentine’s cards have been sent to UK MPs this week. But instead of saccharine gestures of love and lust, this is a PROTEST. Allbeit a very nice artful one. 2017 seems to be shaping up to be the year of the protest, and we couldn’t be happier. Question everything and stand up for your beliefs, that’s what we say! That’s why we’re always putting mad, wonderful people on the cover.
Anyway, this Valentine’s Day, over 400 LGBT students and Terrence Higgins Trust supporters, sent cards to their MPs, to ask them to back mandatory Sex and Relationships Education in UK schools. The UK education system is still woefully underdeveloped in this department. Frankly the fact that it’s not already mandatory is shocking. It means many students never receive sex education, which explains why the UK is the STI and teenage pregnancy capital of Europe.
LGBT sex education is also a serious subject to be addressed. It is, for the most part, not taught at all in schools across the UK.
The mass card campaign was the result of a partnership between the Terrence Higgins Trust, National Student Pride and NUS LGBT+. Dozens of high profile MPs received the cards, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Education Secretary Justine Greening, as well as Chuka Umunna and Iain Duncan-Smith.
The figures from a recent survey by the Terrence Higgins Trust are chilling. 95% of young people said they’d never been taught about LGBT relationships, with 75% saying they’d never been taught about consent. Meanwhile, an overwhelming 99% thought sex education should be compulsory in every school.
LGBT students from universities and colleges across the country joined the charity for a series of card-making sessions last week. Each of the Valentine’s cards carries a rainbow heart, and a personalised message about SRE, ranging from the hilarious to the heart-breaking.
Jamie Wareham, Communications Director at National Student Pride, said: “The tradition of sending anonymous Valentine’s cards seems to have disappeared over time, but today, hundreds of MPs across the country will be opening their doors to piles of cards. And unlike most, these Valentine’s cards actually mean something.
“This month, MPs have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make SRE mandatory in every school in the country. If these cards can persuade MPs to vote for mandatory SRE to be included in the Children and Social Work Bill, this could transform the experiences of young people everywhere, as they grow up and navigate their own sexuality.”
National Student Pride weekend takes place 24 – 26 February, and this year’s theme is Sex and Relationships Education.
For more info, head to studentpride.co.uk
To back the SRE campaign, head to tht.org.uk/endthesilence