A concerned community member provided Parents Defending Education with material used to teach eighth graders in the sexual education curriculum at Stanley Middle School. A presentation that is part of this curriculum is titled “Exploring Gender Identity.” The presentation states that it is the school’s job to “guide” students in the “discussion” of gender identity. The second slide of the presentation states:
Many of us do not consider gender in our daily lives. Our gender is what it is. For others of us, gender is something that we think about and ponder, frequently. It is important to understand gender so that we can be caring and open to all of the ways that students identify and express themselves in our school and in the world. In the end, all people have a gender and since discussions of gender are occurring in society and among our students, it makes sense to guide the discussion.
The third slide states that “our discussion, today about Gender Diversity helps us provide a more inclusive and caring learning environment for all.” A sign with the phrase “welcome all genders, all beliefs, all sexualities, all sizes, all peoples” is also displayed. The next slide states that “a person’s sex and gender are not always identical” and that a “person’s ‘Gender Experience'” consists of “gender biology/body,” “gender expression,” “gender identity.”
The next slide states that “there is more to our understanding of Gender than just Biology” and that “there are more than two ways that bodies present themselves.” The presentation explains that “our bodies vary and are on a spectrum” when discussing if people are either a “girl” or a “boy.”
Another slide states that “our Social Expression of Gender also varies and is on a Spectrum.” The presentation additionally appears to emphasize making students “feel good” by stating: “Gender expression is about the things that we are drawn to, that make us feel good, and that are fun or comfortable. No one should be made to feel ‘less than’ for the things they like or play with do or wear. There is nothing inherently ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ about colors, or toys, or interests, or even clothing.”
The presentation also explains that “identity is Your Core Sense of Self or who you know yourself to be.” The presentation states that “identity” is on a “spectrum”: “Like the other two dimensions of gender (our bodies and our expression), Identity is also a spectrum. But unlike the other two dimensions, gender identity is determined by each of us alone as individuals. Our identity is how we feel about our gender and it is something each of determines for ourselves.”
The presentation also supports children identifying as other identities rather than just boys or girls and promotes the idea that “the language of gender is literally exploding.” The school even states in the presentation that “evolving language” is the “heart of real sea change in our society.” The presentation states:
Here we see the language of gender literally exploding. Young people are operating from a completely different set of terms and concepts about the diversity of gender identities that they and their peers are asserting. This evolving language of gender is at the heart of real sea change in our society when it comes to gender.
The presentation also features a video from the organization AMAZE called “Range of Gender Identities.” A child discusses the idea of gender identity with her grandfather in the video. The video outright promotes that people should “use affirmed names and pronouns” and “be a friend or ally.”
AMAZE promotes “PRIDE resources” for children as young as toddlers on its website. In a document titled “Understanding Gender Diversity,” the organization provides caregivers with lessons to help “guide conversations with children on gender diversity, including gender identity and expression.” The lessons include books like My Princess Boy and When Aidan Became a Brother. AMAZE describes My Princess Boy as a story “about a little boy who loves the color pink, sparkly things, and being a princess.” The organization describes When Aidan Became a Brother as about a girl who transitioned to being a boy. Both books are aimed at children as young as 4 years old.
In another sexual education presentation for eighth graders, the school tells students to follow certain “group norms.” The presentation has students agree that “what is said here stays here.” The presentation states that “as a class, we agree to” with the following rules provided to students:
- Choose to be present & learn
- Raise your hand & wait to share
- Listen with respect
- Welcome differing opinions
- What is said here stays here
- Keep names and details out of sharing
The presentation then features a video from the organization Gender Spectrum. The video is a short clip of a person stating: “Not everyone is, you know, a male or a female. Everyone’s just kind of in between. That’s kind of what makes it beautiful.”
The organization Gender Spectrum offers resources online specifically targeting “youth” and even teachers. Gender Spectrum offers resources to educators on a page titled “Integrating Gender Diversity Into Everyday Curriculum.” This page explains that the discussion of gender can be integrated into subjects like history, science, mathematics, and even physical education. In targeting the youth, Gender Spectrum offers online chatrooms for children as young as 10 years old who identify as “trans” or “non-binary.”
The presentation also features the “Genderbread Person” that is an image educators use in an attempt to teach students that gender is on a spectrum. This presentation is similar to the first one in that it also promotes “dimensions of gender” that include “biological/body,” “expression (social),” and “identity.” The presentation then explains that “our bodies vary and are on a spectrum.” The presentation also features another short video from Gender Spectrum of what appears to be a student who identifies as “pan.” This person claims that people should be taught gender is “more of a broader spectrum.”
The presentation additionally states that “gender identity” is “who I am.” The presentation then describes “gender identity” as “our pronouns and our internal sense of self.” The AMAZE video from the previous presentation is also featured in this presentation.
The second presentation ends by promoting the school counselors. The presentation states: “We are here to continue the convo about gender, answer questions and offer support.” Students can also “email us for a confidential appointment.”