One unit of the new lesson plans emphasizes gender equality to second graders, encouraging them to be whatever they want in life. Materials show that men can be teachers and nurses, and women can be astronauts and police officers.
There also diagrams of the female reproductive systems and graphics showing how children are conceived. The captions translate to "Daddy and mommy love each other," "Daddy's penis enters mommy's vagina," and "Daddy's sperm enters mommy's uterus."
When discussing inappropriate touch, students are told that it can come from relatives as well as strangers, that both men and women can be sexual predators, and that if they are ever touched inappropriately they must immediately tell their parents.
The textbook, published by Beijing Normal University, also explains gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships, telling students that people of all sexual orientations deserve equal treatment, and that "Love is a beautiful thing."
Students are also being taught that sometimes same-sex couples get married and have families.This is notable, considering that same-sex marriages are currently not allowed to be registered in China.
Fifth graders learn about HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases, and are urged to remember that using condoms will help reduce their risk of being exposed. When it comes to marriage, the plan notes that some people stay single, while others prefer a spouse, and that both lifestyles should be respected.
Following the curriculum’s release, controversy began after a mother in Hangzhou posted screenshots of the teaching materials to the Weibo blogging site, asking if the textbooks were fake. She wrote, "Is it reasonable for a textbook to be compiled like this? I myself blush just looking at."
Some users concurred, decrying the "explicit" content as "tasteless" and "vulgar." Yibada quoted one person complaining that, "The picture showing the mating process of men and women is absolutely unacceptable!"
Other users thought the lesson plan would be good for students, writing that, "Giving our children more knowledge about sex will help them better protect themselves in the future." While another declared, "Finally, sex education in China has caught up with the rest of the world!"
A doctor’s praise of the curriculum went viral after he wrote, "Abortion ads are now everywhere, and if the adults are now saying these textbooks have gone too far, it can only be said that their own sexuality education has been a big failure," adding, "Sexuality education protects children from sexual abuse, and it can only be effective if we go straight to the point and do not hide anything. Those who say the textbooks have gone too far mistake ignorance for purity."
LGBT groups in China have praised the textbook as well.