I’ve been deconstructing the gender identity policies the principal gave us as justification for teaching a class of 6 year olds about gender identity, new pronouns and all.
We’d become concerned about what was being taught and how it was being taught when our daughter started asking us strange questions about going to a Doctor so she wouldn’t have to have children. She told us her teacher was telling the class “there’s no such thing as boys and girls”.
One conversation after another, it was one hell of an eye-opening experience for us to advocate for the well-being of our child in an education system convinced they were doing the right thing.
The teacher was a social justice warrior intent on instilling 6 year olds with a new understanding of gender. The principal just shut us down. The superintendent explained there wasn’t much he could do – this was the “new reality”.
We’d at least expected the College of Teachers to agree with us that teaching gender identity to 6 year olds was outside of the curriculum.
The College explained that “the curriculum is an ideology”, and told us that teachers have lots of discretion to design lessons for children in their classes that don’t identify as boys or girls.
We weren’t aware of any children in that class that didn’t identify as boys or girls.
Even the girl with the short cropped hair who prefers to play with the boys.
Very much a girl, her parents told us. She is who she is.
And we live in a very progressive neighbourhood. It’s not like most parents wouldn’t be open or even encourage their child to jump on the non-binary bandwagon.
We discovered we weren’t the only ones who’d asked this teacher to stop teaching the kids about gender identity. This family had met with her a month before we had to suggest principles of kindness instead.
That sounds about right for Grade 1.
With the provincial election last year the sex-ed curriculum has become a hot topic in Ontario.
Many parents and teachers accuse the Conservatives of being backwards, transphobic or even putting our kids safety at risk by repealing the 2015 curriculum that covers important topics like consent.
But the curriculum is more than meets the eye.
From all the evidence I’ve gleaned, the education system has begun to view gender non-conformity as an opportunity to teach children about becoming trans or non-binary. Helping kids identify themselves as something other than “boy” or “girl” and introducing new pronouns they can use.
There wasn’t any consideration from the educators we spoke with about whether this kind of message would be confusing or whether it’s even factual.
If you read the curriculum with a traditionalist lens on gender, it seems fine (for many of us). But beware; that’s no longer the lens those responsible for educating the educators are applying to the concept of gender.
Having grown up a tomboy myself, I feel pretty strongly about all this. I don’t believe gender non-conforming children should be influenced in one way or another by an education system intent on imposing a new ideology of identity.
So 2018 became a year of exploration and “joining the other side” for me as well.
I hadn’t been to any political party events since my youthful 20’s when the Green party decided to emerge as an official presence in Canada and I attended an event to kick off it’s bright future and a dream of new economic policies that would save the planet and so on.
Fast forward 20 years and I suddenly found myself with a Conservative membership at the party convention to vote on pro-family policies like the social conservative I never dreamed I’d become.
I’d hoped the 2018 Conservative party convention would be the right place to join in on the political momentum to put the brakes on the kind of social experiment that had taken place in my daughter’s classroom.
I was rather disappointed.
Even though there’s been much hulla-baloo in the media about the Conservatives removing gender identity from the curriculum, they clearly want nothing to do with this prickly topic.
Tanya Granic Allen and members of Parents as First Educators managed to rally a large group of pro-family delegates and have the policy proposals heard from the floor even though most of them had been cut from the original docket.
Among the other “from the floor” proposals was one that was read by a young female physician for renewed conscience rights.
This physician brought forward a proposal to assure Doctors and other healthcare practitioners that their freedom of conscience would be upheld without any reprisals for their careers due to the legalisation of assisted suicide.
On the No side of this debate, a young man stood up and used his 30 seconds to speak his mind very directly.
“Doctors should just do their jobs”, he said.
Appropriately, the lunch event I attended opened up with a presentation on Conscience Rights and started off with a reminder of the Nuremburg Trials. The first Universal Declaration of Human Rights was established after WWII and recognised that all people are endowed with reason and conscience.
The lunch had been organized by Parents as First Educators, a grassroots group which I discovered to be quite an amazing group of people. Yes, mostly religious from what I could tell. Definitely some deep convictions there. But also thoughtful, and concerned and rational.
I learned that in Ontario physicians no longer take the Hippocratic oath. And the policy of the Society of Physicians and Surgeons requires Doctors to perform euthanasia or refer their patients to someone who will.
The speaker pointed out that forcing someone to do something they find morally unconscionable reduces that person to a mere tool of the State.
Physicians in the audience spoke of how people in extreme suffering often change their minds many times a day about whether they want to live or would rather have a quick death.
An older couple shared their story about trying to find a Doctor who doesn’t support euthanasia and said they’d like to have the choice to go to a hospital where it isn’t offered as a treatment option.
In our country of government funded universal health care that’s a very valid request.
This is an issue of moral conscience for patients and healthcare providers alike.
Just as the issue of affirming gender non-conforming children as the opposite sex and putting them on a fast track for hormones and medical procedures that can render them sterile and without sexual pleasure is an issue of moral conscience.
Yet educators who should be looking out for the best interests of all children seem blinded by a new ideology and moral righteousness.
One night about a month before the convention I was putting my daughter to bed. Six months had passed since the last gender identity lesson we were aware of and she brought up the topic again… trying to understand why her teacher told the class “girls are not real and boys are not real”.
She looked over at her night-table and said “the table is real, my fan is real and even if the fan was made out of cardboard, it’s still real”.
It’s rather unsettling to hear a 7 year old point out objective reality like it needs some kind of validation.
There was something wrong going on in that classroom.
Ironically, maybe all the progress we’ve made on women’s rights and equality is exacerbating the situation. We certainly live in a gender fluid culture. There aren’t really any more obstacles to male/female equality to overcome. Are there?
I mean, we can always do a better job at challenging gender stereotypes. But we live in the most open and accepting society of all time and by all accounts, men and women are stepping up to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities and even level out the playing field.
Challenging gender stereotypes is encouraged in the school board Gender Identity and Gender Expression policy. Yet the gender spectrum the class was being taught completely re-inforced gender stereotypes, which is perhaps why the teacher felt she needed to resort to such an odd message.
There’s something strange happening in our gender fluid culture.
We asked the school to go back to principles of tolerance and acceptance in the class.
Isn’t that how an open and accepting society would be respectful of gender non-conforming 6 year olds?
Why did it feel like our daughter was participating in some kind of group conversion therapy instead?
I wonder what the folks who wrote the 2015 curriculum would think about all this.
The principal told us her Consultant at the Board would say they were off to a great start.
Are regular boys and girls somehow less valuable to these educators than the non-binary candidates they see in their classrooms?
This kind of activism has gone too far. Our educators are blinded by their “good intentions”.
I don’t have much hope the Conservative government will to do anything about it. There’s a crippling debt and the economy to save after all.
Nevermind our souls.
That’s not the job of government.
Which was the standard response to many of the other neat proposals.
A policy to invest in agricultural technologies to grow food in multi-level urban buildings.
Great idea. Not the job of government.
So what is the role of government, then?
We need to make sure our government takes a clear position on who’s responsible for teaching children about their personal identity.
And what about that new hate speech law that was brought in when gender identity and gender expression were added to our Human Rights Code….
Does that law protect ALL of us from gender harassment? Or does some elite group get to decide which genders are worthy to receive that kind of protection?
At a minimum, we need schools to be open and honest about how gender identity is being taught. In fact, we need our government and school boards to reconsider how it’s being taught altogether.
Deceptive policies that talk about one thing while teachers teach something else are not acceptable.
There’s a very committed group of militant trans activists out there.
We owe it to boys and girls of every gender expression to protect them from unnecessary and harmful influences.
Image source: stockphoto