Gender Ideology 101


In recent years, critical gender theory activists have turned America’s education system into a tool to reach millions of children in an effort to teach and promote gender ideology. Schools now teach students—including kindergartners—that gender is malleable and disconnected from one’s sex. 

Evolutionary biologist, Colin Wright, explains gender ideology this way: 

Proponents of gender ideology have completely decoupled the terms “man,” “woman,” “boy” and “girl” from biological sex. Gender ideology teaches that the terms “man/boy” and “woman/girl”—and their corresponding “he/his” and “she/her” pronouns—refer to a person’s gender identity, while “male” and “female” refer to biological sex. While you may define a woman as a female human adult, gender ideology contends that a “woman” is an adult of either sex who simply “identifies” as a woman.

The clear message of gender ideology is that, if you’re a female who doesn’t “identify with” the social roles and stereotypes of femininity, then you’re not a woman; if you’re a male who similarly rejects the social roles and stereotypes of masculinity, then you’re not a man. Instead, you’re considered either transgender or nonbinary, and Planned Parenthood assures you that “there are medical treatments you can use to help your body better reflect who you are.” According to this line of thinking, certain personalities, behaviors and preferences are incompatible with certain types of anatomy. (Wall Street Journal)

Elementary school students are now taught that they can pick the pronouns and identity that they believe best represent them and that gender can be fluid and change day to day. Parents and caregivers are left completely in the dark with no idea that their children have been encouraged to change their “gender identity” by teachers, counselors and other school staff.

If schools have equity departments or have approved equity statements in the past few years, it is likely that they have added gender ideology and queer theory into their curricula. No school in America is safe as even typical “conservative” states have schools that promote these ideas in their classrooms. Florida, Kentucky, California, Illinois, and Wisconsin are just some states where schools have forced gender into their curricula.

The driving force of this push to integrate critical gender theory into classrooms often includes consultants who see an opportunity to make money at the expense of schools and special interest groups operated by political activists who want their ideologies taught as fact to the next generation of Americans. Parents Defending Education has a Consultant Report Card that parents and leaders in our movement can explore that exposes these consultants and the schools that hire them.

Several of the special interest groups that push schools to adopt these gender ideologies as part of their curricula have attempted to push their agenda for decades. However, they have successfully infiltrated America’s schools in recent years by riding the momentum of current and oftentimes extreme political movements. Examples of these special interest groups include GLSEN, Learning for Justice, Human Rights Campaign, Gender Spectrum, Advocates for Youth, Planned Parenthood, and GSA Network. Educational groups such as CASEL and Panorama Education Inc. have also joined the movement in pushing extreme ideologies in America’s schools.

Beware the Gender Support Plan:

Many school districts have adopted what is called a “Gender Support Plan.” Gender Spectrum proudly describes a “Gender Support Plan” as “a detailed form to help you create a shared understanding among school staff, parents and a student about the ways in which the student’s authentic gender will be accounted for and supported at school.”

A “Gender Support Plan” is a document shared among school administrators and teachers that ensures staff use the correct preferred pronouns and name of a student who wants to identify as another gender. These plans often include allowing students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that they choose, as well as compete in the sports that fit their “gender identity.” Schools will often keep these plans a secret from parents if their children do not want them knowing.

Gender Spectrum provides schools with a “Gender Support Plan” template that includes “pronouns student uses,” “sex assigned at birth,” “name student uses,” and “name on birth certificate.” An additional question asks if guardians are “aware of student’s gender status.” The Eau Claire Area School District is an example of a school adopting a “Gender Support Plan” that asks questions similar to those on the Gender Spectrum’s template.

School districts throughout the country appear more than willing to help students transition to their preferred gender identity. In some cases, school district faculty will even encourage a transition without parents ever knowing. Local parents can work to expose school districts pushing these “Gender Support Plans” by submitting FOIA requests or reaching out to organizations like PDE for assistance.

Schools Work with Organizations that Provide Transitioning Assistance to Children:

Schools throughout the country work with and promote organizations that provide medical assistance to children in an effort to help them transition to another gender. An example is how many school districts promote resources from GLSEN to parents and even teachers. 

Jefferson County Public Schools promotes GLSEN’s “Gender Triangle” resource for teachers to use in classrooms. GLSEN states on the page that “everyone gets to decide their gender identity for themselves and this designation can also change over time.” In this resource, GLSEN appears to support providing children with “hormone replacement therapy.” GLSEN states:

Upon birth, we are typically categorized into one of two genders (boy or girl) depending on how our genitals are read. Throughout our lives, however, our many bodily characteristics work together to create a unique path of development, causing some of us to grow really tall, and others to remain short, or some of us to grow hair under our armpits and legs, while others remain bare. While this development often happens on its own during puberty, this change can also be administered through medicine, such as hormone replacement therapy. Since our society often conflates our bodies (or genitalia) with our gender identity, it is critical that we allow space for people to self-identify.

GLSEN, Gender Triangle Education Guide

Some schools even take this a step further. Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia appear to outright support “cross-gender hormone therapy” for children. The school district has a policy titled “Policy on the Treatment of Transgender and Gender-Expansive Students.” The policy explains that the district may keep a student’s “gender-expansive or transitioning status” a secret from parents with the issue being addressed on a “case-by-case basis.” The school district then appears in the policy to support “medical treatments” and “surgeries” to help young children transition to another gender: 

Some gender-expansive youth who are close to reaching puberty, or after starting puberty, may have medical treatments to reinforce their social transition. These treatments may include hormone suppressants, cross-gender hormone therapy, and, for a small number of young people, a range of gender-affirming surgeries.

Albemarle County Public Schools, Policy on the Treatment of Transgender and Genderexpansive Students

Schools are increasingly taking a bigger role in the gender transitioning process for children and often without parents knowing about it. This dangerous situation is then escalated when outside organizations like GLSEN provide support to these schools that often include materials and guides that help push children along the transitioning process. This becomes especially dangerous when schools and partnered organizations promote irreversible hormone replacement therapies and gender transitioning surgeries to young impressionable children.

What Can Parents Do?

Parents have several tools to fight back against the gender activists in their children’s schools. Anyone can file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Public schools are taxpayer-funded institutions. Parents can submit FOIA requests to their public schools to gain access to emails, curricula, lesson plans, and even training videos provided to teachers.

If parents receive troubling information or documentation of extreme gender ideas taught in their children’s schools, they can reach out to PDE and provide us with the information that they have acquired. We consider it our responsibility to hold schools accountable for their actions, and we are more than willing to help out when possible. Parents reach out to us every day with troubling information, and we have exposed numerous schools as a result.

Parents can also show up to school board meetings and voice their concerns to the leaders directly involved in making the decisions for local school districts. Most school board meetings are open to the public, and this allows voiced concerns to reach the entire community. If school board members refuse to listen, then the local community will know.

Activism is also an answer. Parents can form groups with other concerned members in the community who may be troubled by what children are exposed to in their local schools. Parent groups armed with information and evidence are a very formidable power in our fight to take back our education system. 

Parents can even file lawsuits to ensure the safety of their children at school. A mother and father with a child in Leon County Schools in Florida sued the school district after their daughter reportedly started to go by another name and pronouns while at school. The school district had a policy in place that prohibited staff from telling parents about a student’s gender identity. Parents with children in Ludlow Public Schools in Massachusetts also sued the school district for allowing and promoting their children to socially transition to another gender. The school district ensured that the parents didn’t know in this case as well. Filing lawsuits is a powerful tool to hold schools responsible and to ensure that parents still have the power to raise their children with their own beliefs and values.

While many parents may not yet realize it, they are the most powerful force in our movement. They know more about their local communities than anyone else, and they have the knowledge and strength in numbers to make a change. If we don’t step up and fight for our children, no one else will. We encourage all parents to push back against schools incorporating critical gender theory into their classrooms. It’s time for our schools to place the focus, once again, on providing our children with the tools they need to survive in the real world.

Important Voices

Do No Harm

Reality’s Last Stand, Colin Wright

Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT)

Abigail Shrier



Gender Ideology, Neurodiversity, and Alternative Schooling, Free Black Thought

Debunking Myths About the Biology of Sex, Reality’s Last Stand

The push for childhood gender transitions takes root in ideology, not science, Washington Examiner

Planned Parenthood-You’ve sold out Women and Children, Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT)

When Asked ‘What Are Your Pronouns,’ Don’t Answer, Wall Street Journal

The Trans Question in Schools: Who Gets a Say?, Chalkboard Review

Opt Out, or Get Out?, American Greatness

The Human Rights Campaign against children, The Washington Times

Fact-Checking the HHS, Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine

Yes, Schools Are Secretly Trying to ‘Gender Transition’ Kids, and It Must Be Stopped, Daily Signal

Ex-Fairfax County teacher on gender transition training: ‘Parent rights are being obstructed left and right’

A Parent’s Guide to Radical Gender Theory, Christopher Rufo

Recommended Reading

Irreversible Damage, Abigail Shrier