Text books teach Polish nurses that homosexuality is equivalent to rape

Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz,
plenipotentiary minister for
equal treatment.
(Photo: Polish government)

Homosexuality is equivalent to rape, according to official teaching materials for Poles studying to be nurses and midwives. Teaching books refer to homosexuality as a “pathology”, under the section of “sexual problems”. “This is a particularly dangerous incident of homophobia,” said Agata Chaber, the president of the Campaign Against Homophobia of Poland.

“Official information in course curriculums is regarded as reliable and verified. Therefore, very few people will question it,” explained Chaber.

The Campaign’s ir anger has been intensified by the fact that the material went unchallenged for some 10 years despite reviews by leading Polish medical scientists.

“For 10 years the health ministry did not mind that nurses and midwives learnt content that was both discriminatory and hurtful for sexual minorities, and now it doesn’t seem to mind that the content will still be taught until it ends a bureaucratic procedure for establishing new programmes,” commented Zosia Jablonska, from the Campaign Against Homophobia.

Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz, Polish government's plenipotentiary for equal treatment, said the course content was “unacceptable”, and reported she had written to the health ministry calling for its teaching to end immediately.

The health ministry said it would initiate a review of the teaching material with the aim of bringing it up to date but this could take some time because of legal procedures.

A multiple-choice question from a 2011 exam paper on gynaecology reads: “Homosexuals are particularly dangerous socially and seduce individuals by...” Students are then given a number of options including “abnormal sexual drive” and “prostitution”.

Another question refers to homosexuals “seeking treatment” for their condition.

The curriculum content has been condemned by equal-rights campaigners in Poland, a country where conservative attitudes towards homosexuality still hold sway over large parts of the population.

Textbooks describe homosexuality as a “sexual problem” and as a “pathology”, covered in sections on “how to identify and provide assistance in situations of sexual assault and sexual disorders”.

One book lists apparent problems associated with “sexual dysfunction and pathology” include “homosexuality, exhibitionism, masochism, group intercourse, rape and prostitution”.

The chances of the material being swiftly dropped from the curriculum appear slim. The ministry said it will initiate a review of teaching materials but to change it involves lengthy legal proceedings.


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