Gender theory has been called unscientific and a radical left wing ideology. It’s definitely a complicated topic. If you’re wondering what’s being taught in classrooms and whether it qualifies as unscientific or ideological, I’m going to break it down for you.
My analysis is based on what we were led to believe are approved school board materials and the positioning of the so-called “gender spectrum” which is quickly becoming the generally accepted standard for presenting concepts of gender and it’s relationship (or not) to biological sex.
Our daughter’s young teacher, concerned as she was and very passionate about all kinds of social justice topics, was very confident in her approach and explained that it’s a change across all of society.
The principal tried to reassure us that teachers had received training on the topic, that there was a “Consultant” at the board who thought they were off to a great start; and she provided us with the government and School Board policies as justification for what was being taught.
The superintendent of the School Board told us this is “the new reality”.
The policies we were told to review included Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy; the original document penned in 2009 when Kathleen Wynne was Minister of Education. The vision of this policy is to ensure that all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable and accepted.
The School Board Gender Identity and Gender Expression policy outlines their intent to ensure those whose gender identity and gender expression do not conform to traditional social norms are protected, understood and accepted.
Ok so far. I’m sure reasonable people can figure out how to treat others with dignity and respect.
Then there’s the best practices section of the document. It specifies that school staff are expected to challenge gender stereotypes.
But what our 6 year old daughter was being taught had nothing to do with deconstructing gender stereotypes.
The gender spectrum and the message she was learning – repeatedly I might add – could only re-inforce gender stereotypes, not reduce them.
One of the lessons our daughter described to us was this:
Her teacher drew a gender spectrum on the whiteboard and asked each student to come up and write their name at the point along the horizontal line.
Our daughter said she always feels like a girl, so she wrote hers at the girl line.
She told us other students wrote their names all over the place. The teacher also drew a long vertical line separating girls and boys (for some reason!).
Then, the teacher said to the class – “with a very serious face” – “girls are not real and boys are not real”.
One would think that if fluidity was the teaching objective she would have sent a more balanced message that sometimes some girls feel more like boys and some boys may feel more like girls.
I have no idea what on earth the vertical line is supposed to represent and nor does my daughter. Perhaps it’s the ideal world citizen – neither male nor female but something perfectly in between.
Ironically, it looks like she’s recreating another binary – one based entirely on gender stereotypes rather than biological sex.
The class was also shown a video produced by Queer Kids that is directed at children and uses a teddy bear to tell them that some people don’t have a gender. That you can use different personal pronouns if you don’t feel exactly like a girl or a boy.
These were not your typical discussions about gender stereotypes.
These were lessons in personal identity.
Gender identity, in case you haven’t come across it yet, is the legal right one has in Canada and elsewhere to simply self-identify as the opposite sex and therefore gain access to programs, services and safe-spaces typically reserved for women (or men).
No objective criteria for self-identification as the opposite sex is needed.
None. Nada. Zilch.
I suppose if you want to explain gender identity to a class of 6 year old’s telling them that girls and boys are not real would be a pretty accurate way to do it.
The School Board policy says that school staff are expected to “integrate trans-positive and gender-inclusive content into the teaching in all subject areas”.
If these lessons are examples of what is expected this certainly wasn’t a positive or inclusive experience for our daughter who protested to us about what her teacher was telling the class. Before we could even think about how to respond to her she asked whether she’d need to go to a Doctor if she didn’t want to be a girl.
She’d never before expressed any insecurity or even consideration about her sex.
Now you might be tempted to say that this teacher was just doing it wrong. That she was totally off base.
But when we submitted a formal complaint to the College of Teachers based on our perspective that this was teaching outside of the curriculum we were told that teachers “have lots of discretion to design lessons for children that don’t identify as boys or girls” and that “the curriculum is an ideology”; that we could refer to recent changes in the Human Rights Code (which included gender identity and gender expression as protected characteristics).
In my research since then, I’ve come to understand that this teacher was not making any mistakes, at least in terms of how Trans activists view gender and the role of gender identity in our society.
The School Board policy uses the cute and harmless looking Genderbread person to introduce the new concepts now part of our curriculum – across all age groups it seems.
Sex and Gender Identity are defined as two different ideas in their policy document – the definitions in their policy even say that a person’s biological sex and gender identity are separate entities. Looks reasonable at first glance.
But their teaching materials conflate biological sex and gender identity in a single gender spectrum.
Our daughter was only ever taught one gender spectrum – the one that does not convey the concept of a girl as the biological reality of being female, but rather the stereotypical idea of what constitutes being a girl, or “feeling” like a girl.
According to gender theory, whether you are a girl or you self-identify as a girl – it’s the same thing.
Gender identity is a system of personal identity and group categorisation that is a replacement for biological sex.
Ideologically, gender identity theorists have little tolerance for the prospect that we’re all biological life forms – male or female.
Even the current standard of care for gender dysphoria (what happens when you experience distress between your biological sex and internal sense of gender) is to affirm people; children included; as literally the opposite sex.
There’s added confusion because we’ve always used the same words (man, woman, girl, boy) to refer to both sex and gender.
Just google “Gender Spectrum” and you’ll see the problem.
Have a look at this Genderbread person – typical of what you’ll find online and in the latest “training materials”.
Notice that everything here, including biological sex is presented as a spectrum.
But biological sex is a binary condition. We’re either male or female. To present biological sex as a spectrum is not scientifically correct.
Trans activists use the intersex condition as a reason to present biological sex as a spectrum. But even when ambiguity exists around one’s sex, the human species is sexually dimorphic. There are statistically significant differences between males and females.
From a biology point of view, the function of the female is to produce eggs; the function of the male is to produce sperm. This leads to procreation and the continuance of the species.
Nothing else does.
This teacher and the school administrators know very well how gender identity is being used to over-ride biological sex. Their policy guidance in terms of accommodating students who don’t identify as their biological sex with access to mixed-sex bathroom facilities, sports teams and other activities outlines this perfectly well.
What they’re not being honest and up front about is that they’re starting to teach our kids a new system of personal identification.
A kind of cultural colonisation disguised under the virtue of inclusivity and executed through our education system by stealth.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Here’s an example that presents these complex concepts of gender in a way that doesn’t simply indoctrinate kids with a particular worldview.
This depicts biological sex factually as a binary reality; alongside gender expression and gender identity to outline the differences between these concepts.
Compare this to the gender spectrum our daughter’s class was taught which uses the language we use today to refer to males and females (boys and girls) yet doesn’t offer any anchor point in biological reality.
The School Board approved gender spectrum can only have one goal – to over-ride biological reality in favour of a subjective gender identity as the preferred way to “identify” oneself.
This does not create a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all students.
This is not inclusive education – it’s exclusive education.
It’s an attempt to change our most fundamental values and beliefs – identity; our culture; even the meaning of our language.
How a child expresses their gender identity is fraught with even more controversy as children now have easy access to hormone blockers and surgical transition. Something that may be a phase or normal part of growing up is being medicalized with irreversible consequences.
They told us there was a girl in the class who was teased when said she “felt like a boy”, and they didn’t want to put a spotlight on that issue.
So why did they?
Why were there repeated lessons on the very complex topic of gender identity in a Grade 1 class?
It was difficult to have a constructive conversation on this topic even when the well-being of children and the secrecy with which this agenda was being pursued were our primary concerns.
All we were trying to do was ensure that our daughter’s voice was heard.
That perhaps the way they were teaching this wasn’t appropriate as a universal truth for all children.
Schools have a duty of care to support ALL students. Bullying for any reason should be handled swiftly and appropriately – not as an opportunity or justification for confusing children and undermining their identity.