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Thursday, July 28, 2022
LA’s radical gender-theory material will badly harm K-12 kids — while the adults keep getting their paychecks
The Los Angeles Unified School District has adopted a radical gender-theory curriculum encouraging teachers to work toward the “breakdown of the gender binary,” to experiment with gender pronouns such as “they,” “ze,” and “tree” and to adopt “trans-affirming” programming to make their classrooms “queer all school year.”
I have obtained a trove of publicly accessible documents from LA Unified that illustrates the extent to which gender ideology has entered the mainstream of the nation’s second-largest school district. Since 2020, the district’s Human Relations, Diversity and Equity department (or HRDE) has created an infrastructure to translate the basic tenets of academic queer theory into K-12 pedagogy.
The materials include a wide range of conferences, presentations, curricula, teacher-training programs, adult-driven “gender and sexuality” clubs and school-sponsored protests.
In a week-long conference last fall titled “Standing with LGBTQ+ Students, Staff, and Families,” administrators hosted workshops with presentations on “breaking the [gender] binary,” providing children with “free gender affirming clothing,” understanding “what your queer middle schooler wants you to know” and producing “counter narratives against the master narrative of mainstream white cis-heteropatriarchy society.” The narrative follows the standard academic slop: white, cisgender, heterosexual men have built a repressive social structure, divided the world into the false binary of man and woman and used this myth to oppress racial and sexual minorities.
In another training program, titled “Queering Culture & Race,” the HRDE office encouraged teachers to adopt the principle of intersectionality, a key tenet of critical race theory, and apply it to the classroom. First, administrators asked teachers to identify themselves by race, gender and sexual orientation, and to consider their position on the identity hierarchy.
The district then encouraged teachers to “avoid gendered expressions” in the classroom, including “boys and girls” and “ladies and gentlemen,” which, according to queer theory, are vestiges of the oppressive gender binary. Administrators also warned teachers that they might have to work against the families of their minority students, especially black students, regarding sexuality.
“The Black community often holds rigid and traditional views of sexual orientation and gender expression,” the presenters claimed. “Black LGBTQ youth experience homophobia and transphobia from their familial communities.”
Finally, LA Unified has gone all-in on “trans-affirming” indoctrination. The HRDE department has flooded the district with teaching materials, including, for example, videos from the consulting firm Woke Kindergarten encouraging 5-year-olds to experiment with gender pronouns (“they,” “ze” and “tree” again) and to adopt nonbinary gender identities that “feel good to you.” The district requires teachers to use a student’s desired name and pronoun and to keep the student’s gender identity a secret from parents if the student so desires.
The problem with creating a “trans-affirming” culture is obvious. In one of the district’s own materials, “Mental Health Among Transgender Youth,” the HRDE office cites a survey by Mental Health America pointing out that, among 11- to 17-year-old transgender youth who were screened for mental-health issues, 93% were at risk for psychosis, 91% exhibited signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, 90% likely used drugs and alcohol, 90% experienced moderate-to-severe anxiety and 95% experienced moderate to severe depression.
These numbers are deeply alarming. But rather than provide a sober assessment of these risks and seek to mitigate them, LA Unified has adopted a year-round program glamorizing transgender identity and promoting an uncritical, “trans-affirming” culture in the classroom.
It is, of course, a noble goal for schools to provide a safe environment for minority groups and to affirm the basic dignity of all children regardless of their sexuality. But LA Unified’s program goes much further, promoting the most extreme strains of transgender ideology, which almost certainly contributes to the “social contagion” effect documented by Abigail Shrier and others.
LA Unified governs the educational life of more than 600,000 children, the majority of whom are racial minorities from poor families. The implicit cynicism of the district’s gender-ideology instruction is sickening: Highly educated, well-paid bureaucrats promote fashionable academic programming that will do nothing to provide a basic education for these children or help them move up the economic and social ladder.
It will only keep them trapped in a morass of confusion, fatalism and resentment — while the bureaucrats keep collecting their paychecks.