Virginia Parents Overwhelmingly Reject Gender Ideology-Based Sex Ed

Deena Kennedy, left, holds a sticker for a new gender neutral bathroom as members of the cheer squad applaud behind during a ceremonial opening for the restroom at Nathan Hale high school Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Seattle. President Obama's directive ordering schools to accommodate transgender students has been controversial …
AP/Elaine Thompson

A community review of new materials for proposed changes to Fairfax County schools’ sex ed curriculum finds parents overwhelmingly reject many gender ideology-based changes to the district’s program in advance of a school board meeting Thursday evening.

According to a document published at the Fairfax County Public Schools website, many community comments to an advisory committee’s recommended changes to the Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum were overwhelmingly negative.

Email responses to the survey of recommended changes totaled 1,318.

Among the FLE advisory committee’s recommendations to the sex ed program are that the biological trait “sex” be replaced by “sex assigned at birth”; pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) be promoted as a safe and effective way for adolescents to be sexually active and avoid an HIV infection; the curriculum remove language stating abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs); puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment surgery be affirmed; and “clergy” be removed from the list of trusted adults who might serve as a resource to young people struggling with sexual issues.

Among the results presented in the community review document are the following:

  • Oppose use of the term sex assigned at birth – 941
  • Oppose instruction about PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) (high school) – 837
  • Oppose removing language that states abstinence is the only 100% effective method to eliminate contraction of sexually transmitted infections – 852
  • Oppose removing clergy as a trusted adult – 844
  • Support – if students are instructed about hormonal or medical interventions for transitioning, then include risks and side effects – 400
  • Support including risks and side effects of contraceptives whenever contraceptive are [sic] instructed – 626

In a letter to the school board, Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians; Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; and Dr. David Stevens, chief executive officer of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, commented on some of the advisory committee’s proposed revisions to the Fairfax County FLE.

“Abstinence from all sexual activity is the only 100% effective way for teens to avoid pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and associated emotional disorders,” the doctors wrote, adding that both the Department of Health and Human Services and a study published this year found comprehensive sex education programs of the sort that emphasize condoms and contraceptives “have failed to demonstrate long term effectiveness in achieving higher rates of either sexual abstinence, or correct and consistent condom and contraceptive use among teens.”

Regarding PrEP, the doctors noted that “despite PrEP’s recent approval by the FDA for adolescents in high risk groups, such as teen boys who have sex with men, rigorous, large, long term studies of PrEP in adolescents have not been done.”

The physicians asserted as well that sex is a biological trait that is “not assigned.”

“Sex declares itself in utero; it is recognized and acknowledged at birth,” they wrote. “Gender refers to the stereotypical social roles associated with sex. Gender is not an innate biological trait. Gender identity refers to a person’s awareness of being male or female. Gender identity is a cognitive and psychological trait that exists in the mind.”

Finally, the doctors said that affirming the use of puberty-blocking drugs, such as Lupron and cross-sex hormones, as a safe treatment for “gender dysphoria” is “medically inaccurate.”

“There are no long term studies of Lupron or cross sex hormones in biologically healthy children,” they wrote. “Cross-sex hormones also have significant potential risks including, but not limited to, stroke, heart attack, diabetes and cancer.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, weighed in on the Fairfax County FLE advisory committee’s recommendation to omit clergy from the list of trusted adults suggested to struggling teens. In an op-ed at Eurasia Review, Donohue wrote:

The list of changes reads like a page out of the gay rights agenda, so thoroughly out of touch with reality are they. Before assessing them, the most pressing issue for the Catholic League is the proposal to eliminate the clergy from the list of competent advisors to young persons who are confused about sexuality.

No reason is given why priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, and others, should be eliminated as a resource to students struggling with sexual issues. To make matters even more absurd, after recommending that the clergy be stricken from the list of advisors, the document prepared by the Advisory Committee says, “Emphasis will be placed on tolerance and nondiscrimination of all people.”

Tolerance and nondiscrimination? What the Advisory Committee is proposing is intolerance and discrimination. Indeed, the proposal smacks of religious hostility, a scourge that the U.S. Supreme Court said last week (see the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision) is constitutionally prohibited. Is the Fairfax County school board prepared to spend large sums of money on a lawsuit challenging its discriminatory initiative?

The Fairfax County School Board meets Thursday evening to consider the recommendations of the advisory committee in light of the community survey results.

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