Education Politics: Gender Ideology Lessons on the Rise in Some Schools, Off-Limits in Others

Teacher with LGBT flag. (ajr_images/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
ajr_images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

As the national debate over teaching gender ideology to children in schools rages, some schools are putting in restrictions while others are doubling down.

While seven states require gender ideology training in their schools, five other states have put in restrictions, at least until later in a child’s education.

Some of the demand for teaching the ideology has been met by curriculum developers with increased options for all grade levels.

The National Sex Education Standards group has called teaching about “gender identity” as “one of seven essential topics, alongside puberty, consent, sexual orientation, and other subjects,” according to the Washington Post.

NSES’s gender ideology standards for K-12 students include, by the end of the fifth grade, being able to “describe the role hormones play in the physical, social, cognitive, and emotional changes during adolescence and the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.”

Even earlier, though, by the end of second grade, students should be able to “define gender, gender identity, and gender-role stereotypes” and “discuss the range of ways people express their gender and how gender-role stereotypes may limit behavior.”

The Biden administration has also advocated for gender ideology teaching in schools, in addition to puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and even genital mutilation for children who identify as transgender.

Florida is one of the five states that either ban or limit teaching such an ideology to its youngest students. The state made headlines when leftist media outlets erroneously dubbed the bill the “don’t say gay” bill. There are ten other states considering measures to limit the discussion of the ideology until later in a child’s education.

Members and supporters of the LGBTQ community attend the "Say Gay Anyway" rally in Miami Beach, Florida on March 13, 2022. - Florida's state senate on March 8 passed a controversial bill banning lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools, a step that critics complain will hurt the LGBTQ community. Opposition Democrats and LGBTQ rights activists have lobbied against what they call the "Don't Say Gay" law, which will affect kids in kindergarten through third grade, when they are eight or nine years old. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Students and adults attend a “Say Gay Anyway” rally in Miami Beach, Florida, on March 13, 2022. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

Walpole, MA - March 11: Students at the Norfolk County Agricultural High School participated in a Gay Student Alliance protest/rally in Walpole, MA on March 11, 2022. The event was held in conjunction with the school administration to support a nationwide student protest over  anti-LGBT government education plans in Florida and Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Students at the Norfolk County Agricultural High School participated in a Gay Student Alliance protest/rally in Walpole, Massachusetts, on March 11, 2022. The event was held in protest against legislation plans in Florida and Texas that prevents gender ideology from being taught to young students. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

One common point of contention is certain books in school libraries and classrooms that depict pornography or pedophilia that are somehow supposed to represent LGBTQ persons.

Leftists contend that banning these books is tantamount to censorship but fail to realize that children can be harmed by being exposed to such adult content.

Other restrictions include disallowing boys from competing against girls in sports, a restriction in at least 18 states, and similarly disallowing boys from using the girls’ restrooms and changing rooms.

Leftist outlets like the Post breathlessly report that “Philadelphia’s school district even came under fire for informing teachers about an independent Trans Wellness conference where some attendees discussed how to support youth who are transitioning genders.”

What the Post failed to mention was the fact that the conference in question explored topics such as “BDSM,” “masturbation sleeves,” “kink,” “banging beyond binaries,” and “trans sex.”

As Breitbart News reported, one presenter spoke about “prosthetics for sex” and showcased his collection of over 500 genital prosthetics.

“I have tried and touched many dicks, right — prosthetics, real dicks, all dicks,” he said during a presentation. “This is one of the most realistic feeling in terms of like the inside of a penis.”

“It’s a big boy, this is, like, gigantic,” he continued. “Alright, give me two hours alone and I’ll get this in my butt.”

The increase in teaching gender ideology comes as more and more of America’s young people identify as transgender or nonbinary.

Indeed, over five percent of young adults in the United States identify as transgender or nonbinary — a massive generational increase.

The gender training starts early, setting a foundation to build on as children get older.

For example, some early training tells students there are no “girl colors” or “boy colors” and that dolls are not just for girls. Teachers will also stay away from saying things like “good morning, boys and girls, and instead only say a gender-neutral “good morning, class.”

But other curriculums are more direct.

One training for first graders pushes the message that gender is fluid.

“You might feel like you’re a boy even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ‘girl’ parts,” teachers tell children. “You might feel like a girl even if you have body parts that some people tell you are ‘boy’ parts. And you might not feel like you’re a boy or a girl, but you’re a little bit of both. No matter how you feel, you’re perfectly normal!”

That curriculum was developed by a gender ideology activist organization called Advocates for Youth.

The Post reports of a Massachusetts kindergarten teacher using the activist curriculum, where the teacher “introduces the terms transgender and genderqueer but doesn’t fully define them because that is too much for kindergartners.”

“He talks to students about anatomy but declines to classify various body parts as male or female,” the Post reports. “‘We don’t say a penis belongs to a man,’ he said. It belongs to a human, he explains.”

“And he makes clear that even if a doctor proclaims at birth, ‘It’s a boy!’ that baby may not be a boy,” the Post continues. “‘Someone who was born a boy may not feel they are a boy.'”

Maryland has a statewide framework for teaching gender ideology in sexual education courses, but the topic could vary by the school district, with each being able to decide for itself how to go about teaching the topics.

One of the creators of the Maryland framework told the Post she believes the standards will mostly be used in schools or districts where a student has identified as transgender.

Among individual states and school districts, gender ideology is taught or not taught extremely differently.

RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 17:  Newly donated LGBTQ+ books are displayed in the library at Nystrom Elementary School on May 17, 2022 in Richmond, California. California State Superintendent of Schools Tony Thurmond celebrated the donation of thousands of LGBTQ+ books from Gender Nation to 234 elementary schools in nine California districts. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Gender ideology children’s books are being displayed in the library at Nystrom Elementary School on May 17, 2022, in Richmond, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BETHESDA, MD - MAY 21: Children books that are fighting for survival at public schools because of their LGBTQ content are displayed at the annual Pride Town Hall at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, MD, May 21, 2022, with students and their families, staff, youth service providers and community members attending.The event featured workshops and a resource fair and keynote speaker Gavin Grimm, a nationally known advocate for transgender rights. (Photo by Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Gender ideology children’s books are displayed at the annual Pride Town Hall at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, MD, May 21, 2022 (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Many conservative-leaning areas have been pushing to ban the ideology entirely or delay the age at which it is taught to students. Indeed, many conservatives argue that the ideology is a political movement, and many consider the left’s insistence that it be taught at such young ages as “grooming.”

The idea of “grooming” is the belief that schools and other left-leaning organizations might introduce these ideas to children in order to suggest to them into believing they are of a different gender than they actually are. In essence, these institutions can take children who are already impressionable and naïve and get them to question their own identities. That, the argument goes, is the source of the extraordinary amount of America’s young people identifying away from their true gender.

Indeed, in many instances, teachers have been caught telling children that doctors “make mistakes” when declaring the gender of a newborn baby. Further still, children have reported teachers telling them that their parents may be lying to them about their gender and asking if they had ever considered that they were not the gender that matches their biological sex.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) had issues with her state’s sexual education course, which included a video for kindergartners telling them that doctors “make a mistake” when declaring gender. After the Maine Republican Party ran ads against her, Mills removed the video from the government’s website.

Virginia saw this issue as well, particularly in the months leading up to its 2021 gubernatorial election, where parents became outraged at what their children were learning in school — from gender ideology to critical race theory. The Commonwealth, too, had a statewide standard for transgender students that allowed boys to use girls’ locker rooms and restrooms, among other things.

After a revelation that the Loudoun County School Board appeared to cover up a rape of a female student by a boy in a dress using the girls’ facilities, the election flipped in the Republicans’ favor.

Virginia, a state that had been trending blue for many years, elected three Republicans statewide and a Republican-controlled General Assembly almost entirely based on the education issues.

New Jersey nearly had the same fate for the same reason, with Gov. Phil Murphy (D) nearly losing his reelection bid.

Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.

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