Minneapolis Public Schools knew “Gender Resource Fair” focusing on affirming the transgender identity of elementary students would face backlash; continued to host the event anyway


Parents Defending Education previously reported on the “Gender Resource Fair” that was eventually held by Minneapolis Public Schools on April 13, 2023. The event placed a focus on affirming the preferred gender identities of young students, including a “drag storytime.” PDE sent a public records request to the district seeking any emails and documents from the planning process of the event. PDE received back a communications plan for the event and over 300 pages of emails. In one email dated January 10, 2023, an organizer of the event from the school district’s “Office of Equity and School Climate” stated that the event was “for elementary kids/families.”

This organizer emailed several representatives of LGBTQ organizations inviting them to the event. One response was from a program manager of the organization Queer Space Collective. This person responded that the organization “only serves ages 12-17 right now.” The district’s organizer then replied:

Hey, I thought it would be good since this is a family event and 5th graders are usually 10/11 depending on their birthdays. Also, it would be good for them to know of future recourses that would be available for them as well. Let me know if you are interested if not that’s okay too.

In an email dated March 16, 2023, an equity program specialist with “they/them/theirs” pronouns for the district explained that “drag readings” were not publicly announced at one point due to the attention it would bring: “I didn’t list ‘drag readings’ because I’m sensitive to that becoming a distraction and it’s not really the main point of the event.

The speaker of the event was Angela Kade Goepferd. Children’s Minnesota describes her as the “Chief Education Officer” and the “Medical Director of Children’s Minnesota Gender Health Program and a pediatrician in the Children’s Minneapolis Primary Care clinic.” Children’s Minnesota continues to explain: “She is seen as a leader in the LGBT community, is driving equitable care for LGBT youth, particularly transgender and gender diverse youth and she is a sought-after speaker and trainer on these topics.”

Angela Kade Goepferd was a speaker at the event.

In an email dated March 27, 2023, she specifically brought up “Libs of TikTok” and stated: “Let me know what you are thinking with the event. I am less concerned for my personal safety and more concerned about large groups of protestors showing up and traumatizing kids. The folks who showed up at the Capitol last week for the Trans Refuge bill were atrocious.”

In a confusing email dated February 27, 2023, in which an employee of Children’s Minnesota appeared to refer to Angela Kade Goepferd with a plural pronoun, she stated: “In speaking with Dr. Goepferd about this event, they mentioned they would like to speak for about 60 minutes (45 minute talk with 15 minutes Q&A) on the topic of ‘How to Talk to Kids about Gender Identity’. They are available 4:30-5:30 pm or 4:45-5:45 pm (with the earlier time being the preference).”

In an email dated March 20, 2023, the district’s “Equity and School Climate Coordinator” acknowledged potential backlash. He stated: “I wanted to just fill you in that a posting about the Gender Resource Fair in April has gone out in the Teacher’s bulletin (per the communication plan), and the email address that we listed — mostly so we don’t put a particular name in front of the potential backlash we’ve seen around gender and young people — is [email protected].”

The plan that PDE received from the district was titled “Gender Resource Fair Communications Plan.” The plan discusses having the “Drag Story Hour,” how elementary schools in the district are seeing more transgender issues, and how the district does not “have a strong/unified response yet regarding potential backlash.” The plan also states that “focusing on building identify affinity groups should be the focus.” Affinity groups are groups of people segregated by their characteristics, such as race and sexual orientation.

The district also debated using social media because “posting on social media opens a forum up for everyone.” The plan also discussed “collaborating with Children’s Minnesota (guest speaker’s employer) on messaging and media management.”

The event was originally planned to take place at Loring Elementary School but was moved to the Davis Education Center.