Commentary

Hormone Treatment During School? A Review of the Nation's Transgender Curriculum

By Bill Donohue | August 24, 2021 | 1:13pm EDT
Androgynous model Kyle Farmery, drag queen child Desmond is Amazing, and transgender model Amanda Lepore attend Wigstock 2018
Androgynous model Kyle Farmery, drag queen child Desmond is Amazing, and transgender model Amanda Lepore attend Wigstock 2018

This is the first of our three-part series on this subject.

  • According to the updated National Sex Education Standards, by the end of the 2nd grade, students will be expected to define "gender, gender identity, and gender-role stereotypes." Students will also be expected to "discuss the range of ways people express their gender and how gender-role stereotypes may limit behavior."

  • By the end of the 5th grade, students will be expected to "distinguish between sex assigned at birth and gender identity and explain how they may or may not differ." They will also learn about the "differences between cisgender, transgender, gender nonbinary, gender expansive, and gender identity."

  • "By the end of the 5th grade, students should be 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." 

  • Per the curriculum, 5th graders would be expected to "explain that gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum" and "describe gender role stereotypes and their potential impact on self and others." Fifth graders will also be required to "differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity."

  • 8th graders will be expected to "access medically accurate sources of information about gender, gender identity, and gender expression" and "demonstrate ways to communicate respectfully with and about people of all gender identities."

  • "By the end of the 10th grade, students should be able to explain the human reproductive and sexual response systems, including differentiating between internal and external body parts and their functions, and that there are naturally occurring variations in human bodies (e.g., intersex)."

  • "By the end of the 10th grade, students should be able to differentiate between sex assigned at birth, gender identity, and gender expression."

  • "By the end of the 12th grade, students should be able to describe the human sexual response cycle, including the role of hormones and pleasure," and by the time they graduate from high school, they will be instructed to become "advocates" for "people of all sexual orientations."

  • In 2020, the policy-making arm of the California Teachers Association (CTA) approved a proposal allowing trans-identifying minor students to leave campus during the school day to obtain gender hormone treatments without parental consent. The CTA also moved to create "school-based health care clinics" that would provide students with access to confidential hormone treatments so their parents will not find out.

  • New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois, Northern Virginia, and Oregon public schools have adopted radical approaches to gender in their curricula and policies.

  • "Five more states – Delaware, Iowa, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Wisconsin – require that sex education include information on sexual orientation and gender identity that does not affirm or discriminate against LGBTQ students."

  • New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois and California legally mandate that public schools teach LGBTQ history.

  • Educators like Dr. Judy Chiasson, the program coordinator for human resources, diversity, and equity for the Los Angeles United School District, view parents as the problem. They see themselves as the vanguard of the revolution because they view how parents teach the subjects of sexual orientation and gender identity as inferior and antiquated. Further, these educators find teaching about LGBTQ issues difficult when parents complain. Objecting parents are the real problem, not the materials that are being taught. Dr. Chiasson argues that the role of the school is not just teaching, but also to provide a catalyst for social change and "in some places...lead the community."

  • Historical figures like St. Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great, George Eliot, George Sand, and Sally Ride are frequently presented to children as "gender nonconforming" role models.

  • In schools across America, kindergarteners are taught that biological sex and gender very often diverge. Frequently, lessons include the "Genderbread Person," a tool in gender identity indoctrination featuring a gingerbread cookie outline of a person with arrows locating the seat of gender "identity" at the brain, the seat of "attraction" at the heart, "gender expression" as the whole body, and for biological sex, an arrow points to where the genitals would be. 

  • Kindergarten teachers read from "I Am Jazz," a story marketed for children about Jazz Jennings' transition from a boy to a girl. Additionally, these young students are introduced to the concept they might have a girl brain in a boy body or vice versa.

  • The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and GLSEN (formerly the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) provide curricula to schools, and their members routinely lecture to students on sexual orientation and gender. Additionally, they provide teacher training and videos and coach Gay-Straight Alliance clubs.

  • The California Board of Education provides a book intended for kindergarten teachers to read to their class called "Who Are You? The Kids Guide to Gender Identity." The book states. "These are just a few words people use: trans, genderqueer, non-binary, gender fluid, transgender, gender neutral, agender, neutrois, bigender, third gender, two-spirit...." The book concludes by telling kindergarteners "You are who you say you are because YOU know best."

  • Lindsay Amer, an educator who self-identifies as queer, regularly visits schools to play the ukulele and sing a song Amer wrote for preschoolers. Some lyrics to the song are "It's OK to be gay. We are different in so many ways. Doesn't matter if you're a boy, girl or somewhere in between, we are all part of one big family. Gay means 'happy.'"

  • Schools in Transition from the Human Rights Campaign has become one of the most widely used policy guides for dealing with transgender students in public schools.

  • Positive Prevention PLUS is among the most highly respected health curricula that provides instruction on gender identity. One activity listed in the curriculum instructs teachers to ask their students to imagine they are a different gender. The instructions ask the teacher to compel the students to participate and encourage students to think of what would be fun about being a different gender.

  • Schools will frequently facilitate social transitions (refer to the student by a new name, use preferred pronouns on official documents, instruct all students to refer to the student by their new gender identity, etc.) without informing the students' parents. The schools will even go so far as to send duplicates of official documents home that use the child's real name and pronouns to keep parents in the dark. C. Scott Miller, a fifth grade teacher and Equality California liaison to CTA, explains these practices by saying that "it is not the school's obligation to call up and 'out' a child to a parent because you're not sending that kid home to the gay pride parade. You're sending them home to somewhere that's going to be very unsafe and a lot of misinformation, a lot of anger and it's not just going to be a safe place for that kid."

  • According to the National Education Association, "Not having their gender identity respected and affirmed in their daily lives will cause [trans-identified students] significant psychological distress."

For a glossary of terms, click here.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.

MRC Store