Champion family inclusivity

Happy family

It is wrong to subject individuals to discrimination and harm because of who they include in their family.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Conservative propagators of family values preach a set of bare minimums.
  • The safety of every member of a family should never be taken lightly.

Love and affection, respect, honesty, responsibility, loyalty, empathy and compassion, cooperation and teamwork, safety and security.

These are some of the qualities that spring up in one’s mind whenever family values come up.

Family is more than parents, children and pets. It is a diverse and inclusive social unit that can take many forms beyond the traditional nuclear structure.

It is rather unfortunate that the values are being used to cause trouble, discrimination and bring harm to others.

Conservative propagators of family values preach a set of bare minimums, including a heterosexual married couple and the biological children in the union as the ideal family.

They oppose non-traditional lifestyles, resist same-sex marriages and promote programmes and education that focus on abstinence until marriage.

Discrimination and harm

Some of the messages are questionable and baffling. No one should be beaten up and fought legally because he or she is of a different family set-up.

It is wrong to subject individuals to discrimination and harm because of who they include in their family. Abstinence-only education and programmes that focus on abstinence until marriage are problematic.

According to Unesco, comprehensive sexuality education increases young people’s knowledge, improves attitudes towards reproductive health, delays sexual initiation and promotes safe practices.

Abstinence-only programmes are ineffective. Comprehensive sexuality education is most successful when it includes gender and power discussions. It needs to be supported by the involvement of parents, teachers and youth-friendly services.

There are more pertinent issues to worry about. People’s sexual choices should never among these things. Values should embrace diversity and acceptance. These values should ensure everyone is treated with respect, love, care and support.

The safety of every member of a family should never be taken lightly. Let us condemn violence for it causes pain, suffering, damage and even death.

Mr Mokaya is a sexual and reproductive health and rights expert.  [email protected]