Catholic Civil Rights League disgusted with controversial show
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
The Catholic Civil Rights League has written to the Canadian Heritage Minister to ask him to review the funding of a controversial sex exhibit aimed at adolescents at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology.
“Based on information from the museum’s own website, as well as on information provided to a local contact during a preview, I find this material is far too advanced and detailed for the age group for which it is intended, and in any case has little if anything to do with the museum’s stated mandate ‘to help the public to understand the ongoing relationships between science, technology and Canadian society,’" wrote League executive director Joanne McGarry to Heritage Minister James Moore.
The League is also calling on members to complain to Moore about the exhibit.
Patrick Meagher and his wife Alba Pascual-Meagher, both Catholics, attended a media preview before the Sex: a Tell-All Exhibition at Canada’s Museum of Science exhibition’s opening May 17.
“If I hadn’t gone and my wife had come back and told me what she had seen, I would have been convinced she was exaggerating,” Meagher said in an interview. “I had to see it to actually believe it.”
The exhibit includes photographs of men’s and women’s genitalia, as well as animations of a boy and a girl masturbating.
“I couldn’t believe the stuff I was seeing,” said Meagher who is a journalist and publisher of Farm Forum, an Ontario-wide agricultural publication. He said the exhibit is “teaching kids to experiment with sex, multiple partners, anal sex, ‘friends with favors,’ homosexual activity and masturbation.
“It’s hard to imagine teenagers don’t know how to find their private parts,” he said, adding the videos of masturbation would probably be classified as child pornography if they were not the rather life-like drawings used in the animation.
One video that plays continually shows couples kissing, including same sex couples. An audio presentation with a sexologist and sex therapist allows exhibit-goers to press a button next to a question and pick up a phone to listen to the answer.
One of those questions: “Why do so many boys want to have anal sex?”
Meagher reports the answer is: “In general, people are curious about it . . . it could be fun for you.”
“The thing that infuriates me, is that no kid should see this,” said Meagher. “I know that some people will unwittingly bring a child to something like this and it could ruin their life.”
“The reason why we teach abstinence, self-sacrifice and self-control is that we want to raise our children to be good parents and good husbands and wives,” he said.
Yves St-Onge, vice president for public affairs, said the exhibition is well-marked so that no one will inadvertently enter it. “We have established it as a segregated area, monitored by an employee,” he said. “Every visitor, especially school groups, will be informed.”
St-Onge said the exhibit was designed in Montreal, where it first appeared, after extensive consultation with social scientists, doctors, nurses, public health practitioners, teachers and government officials.
It has won an award in Quebec, as well as an award of excellent from the Canadian Association of Science Centres.
It has also been displayed in Regina, Sask., he said, noting that he does not recall any public objections in either Montreal or Regina. In Montreal, it was quite popular, he said.
“The market has already established a significant interest in that exhibition,” he said. “It’s only fair that those people interested in seeing it should be offered the opportunity to do it.”
“Those who don’t wish to see it, every step possible has been taken so they won’t fall into it inadvertently,” he said.
St-Onge disagrees the exhibit encourages homosexuality or other sexual behavior. It does not encourage people to question their sexual orientation, or experiment, it merely provides the plain facts from a biological and psychological point of view, he said. He visited the exhibit with his 16-year old children when it was in Montreal. “The impression I gathered, it was fairly neutral.”
The exhibit includes a presentation on sexually-transmitted diseases, he said.
St-Onge said the “level of reaction seems to be higher,” than it had been in its previous locations.
The exhibit will run from May 17 to the end of 2012.