Several community members reached out to Parents Defending Education regarding a transgender activist called Silen Wellington providing professional development training to teachers at the Poudre School District. PDE submitted a public records request to the district and received information and documents back regarding the situation. The school district explained to PDE that Wellington provided two training courses for staff. The two courses were titled “How to be a Trusted Adult for LGBTQ+ Students” and “The ABCs of LGBTQIA+.”
Silen Wellington is a known political activist for transgender issues. Wellington’s website states: “Silen Wellington is a sculptor of sound, artist of people, genderqueer shapeshifter, storyteller, mercurial name collector, and lover, among other things.” Silen Wellington’s SoundCloud account has the pronouns “they/them/theirs” listed. On February 10, 2023, The Epoch Times reported that Wellington openly participates in witchcraft and rituals involving blood. The news outlet reported:
An investigation by The Epoch Times into Wellington’s background reveals that LGBT issues are just one of many interests. Others include Tarot Card reading, rituals involving the use of blood, polyamorous relationships, the casting of “spells,” and even teaching “witchcraft” and “magical activism,” public social-media posts and her own website reveal. She regularly describes herself online as a “witch.”
Several documents PDE received were the proposal forms for the “How to be a Trusted Adult for LGBTQ+ Students” course. The course description states in each document: “This course teaches participants how to build trust with LGBTQ+ youth and become a safe adult as a suicide prevention strategy.” One area of focus listed in the proposals is “getting comfortable talking about LGBTQ+ topics.” Silen Wellington is listed as the “LGBTQ+ Coordinator at Alliance for Suicide Prevention” and the presenter of the course in the proposals.
PDE also received a presentation for the course created by the organization “Alliance for Suicide Prevention.” The organization claims to “prevent suicide in Larimer County through training and education, providing outreach, and offering support” but places significant attention on “LGBTQ+ Youth Outreach.” The organization states that its work includes “engaging schools to support GSAs.” Training classes “include ABCs of LGBTQ+ and How to Be a Trusted Adult.”
The presentation explains that a “trusted adult” will “listen, make youth feel safe, respect physical & emotional boundaries.” The following list is then provided for people who are not considered trusted adults:
- Someone who doesn’t believe a young person when they come out.
- Intentionally misgendering or misnaming, not working on growing/correcting or speaks as if cishet experience is the only one that exists.
- Someone who dismisses or invalidates a person’s experiences.
- Someone who betrays/reveals a young person’s experiences without consent.
- Someone who says:
- “That’s just a phase.”
- “Being trans is trendy. This is just a fad.”
- “They’re too young to really know.”
- “They’re really just doing it for attention.”
The presentation also encourages adolescents into “taking puberty blockers.” Examples of LGBTQ inclusion in the presentation are “physical space – posters, pride flags, know where a gender neutral restroom is,” “introduce yourself with pronouns/put them in your email signature,” and “using LGBTQ+ examples in your teaching.” Teachers are additionally told to “get comfortable” with the words “gay,” “transgender,” and “aromantic.”
The presentation then lists “The 5 A’s.” These are “Acknowledge,” “Affirm,” “Ask,” “Address,” and “Affirm.” The list mentions “affirm” twice. A piece of advice is “do not second guess them or question them.”
PDE previously reported on the training course “ABCs of LGBTQIA+” but received the documents again in this public records request. PDE received several course proposals for the training course. The course description in each proposal states: “This course will educate staff about respectful language and inclusion for students in the LGBTQ+ community. History, definitions, and PSD policies will be reviewed. This supports classroom and school culture equity practices.” Silen Wellington is named as a presenter in all proposals for the course.
One document PDE received from the school district was an outline of the “ABCs of LGBTQIA+” course. The outline explains that the course is 75 minutes and “includes information about different identities, the importance of language, statistics around LGBTQ+ youth suicidality, and how to be a better ally.” The following topics are then listed for the course:
- Why language matters & some statistics about LGBTQ+ suicidality
- Ways to be inclusive of non-heterosexual orientations
- Sex assigned at birth vs gender identity vs. gender expression
- Defining words such as: gender dysphoria, gender euphoria, deadname, transitioning, intersex, asexual, aromantic, Two-Spirit, queer, nonbinary
- Do’s & Don’ts with language around trans identity
- The importance of pronouns & explanation of they/them + neopronouns
- Resources for further learning
Another document from the Alliance for Suicide Prevention is a list of resources for district staff. Resources include links to the organizations GLSEN and Planned Parenthood, a link to a video “geared towards Spanish-speaking families of LGBTQ+ youth,” and a link to a Reddit page based on transgender topics.
Another resource document provided to PDE states: “Please share with students & others in your life as you see relevant.” The document then lists organizations that target children with LGBTQ issues. The document then states that “any classroom visits from outside organizations need to be run by [redacted].”
PDE also received a document titled “Silen’s LGBTQ+ Media Recommendations.” The document contains resources for different age groups. Under the section “for youth under age 12,” a book list is provided titled “Brightly’s LGBTQ+ Kid Book List.” Under the section “for teens,” several books are provided with transgender themes. In one example, the following book and description is provided: “You and Your Gender Identity: A Guide to Discovery by Dara Hoffman-Fox: a gender workbook developed by a queer gender therapist, who also has resources on their website.”