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Unlimited Gender Identities Endorsed in Public Education – PreK-12

As a former secondary English teacher, I believe definitions are important.  As a current special education PE teacher, I believe parent communication is essential.  As a former school board member, I believe transparency to tax payers, who fund public education, is crucial.  Unfortunately, when it comes to new terms or changed definitions impacting education, disclosure to parents and tax payers have lagged behind.  The purpose of this article is to bring parents and possibly educators “up to speed” on changed definitions infiltrating public education, grades PreK-12. 

The National 2020 Sex Ed Standards (NSES) 2nd Edition was written by Advocates for Youth, Answer Sex Ed and SIECUS (Sexuality Info and Education Council of the US – Sex Ed for Social Change). To view the NSES click here.  This document is significant to California Education because our Health Framework, adopted in May 2019, by the state board of education, recommends Advocates For Youth as a resource for teachers and students, including their free, on-line sex education curriculum, the 3R’s (Rights, Respect and Responsibility).  In NSES, gender is defined as a social construct, therefore, it’s possible to reject or modify one’s “sex assigned at birth” and develop something that feels truer to oneself. (p. 58)  Examples of gender include, but are NOT LIMITED to: male, female, transgender, androgenous, agender, gender expansive, genderqueer, nonbinary, two-spirit, intersex, or questioning. Genderqueer means a person can identity as both genders, neither gender, something in-between or BEYOND genders (p. 59, 61, 67).

 The document informs readers on page 8 that there is a continual evolution of language related to gender, gender identity and gender expression, therefore, this document is only a snapshot in the evolutionary process.    According to NSES, respecting “all genders” should be taught in grades K-2 (p. 18). Puberty blockers should be taught in grades 3-5 (p. 20). Denial of (medical) resources to gender non-conforming minors is defined as gender-based violence. (p. 60).  Students decide their identities through experiential learning cycles where they learn by doing, reflecting interpreting and exploring (p. 58).The right to choose to define one’s gender is called “sexual agency” (64). Anyone non-affirming a student’s self-determined gender is considered prejudice or transphobic (p. 60, 67).  This prejudice is also called sexism or discrimination (p. 64) which is said to cause individual or systemic trauma. (p. 67) Transgender is redefined as an umbrella term encompassing a LARGE NUMBER of identities (p.66).

Parents may ask the questions, “How is unlimited gender ideology based on science or empirical data?”  According to the new definition of “Fact” in the NSES glossary (p. 58), empirical data is not required.  Hypothesis, opinion, and theories are now considered fact if most experts in the field agree upon it. 

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), helping to create California’s Master Plan for Universal Preschool says gender identity is viewed by current science as fluid and expansive. 

 “Who are these ‘experts in the field’ changing a foundational social construct on behalf of all humanity?”

Fair Housing / Fair Employment changed the legal definition of gender identity in the state of California in July 2017 to mean: male, female, both, neither, gender nonconforming or transgender.  The legal definition of transgender recently changed to mean: a general or UMBRELLA TERM of a person whose gender identity differs from one’s “sex assigned at birth”.

 “Why didn’t mainstream news report this significant definition change about gender over three years ago?”   I do not know.  It was not for lack of trying on my part.  Even the California School Board Association has not told school board members, who are making school district policy decisions. To me, intentionally withholding information is a red flag.

Other “experts in the field” that endorse unlimited / expansive gender identities:

National Association for the Education of Young Children

Planned Parenthood

California Department of Education

National Educators Association

Association of California School Administrators

California Teachers Association

Center of Disease Control

World Health Organization

American Academy of Pediatrics

Human Rights Campaign

GLSEN (p.4)

Gender Spectrum

American School Health Association

Society of Health and Physical Educators

Equality California- (lobbied for the new definition through Fair Housing)

Southern Poverty Law Center / Teaching Tolerance

Trevor Project

(there are more)

Does this mean all these professionals agree to unlimited gender choices?  Absolutely not.  As a former CTA member, I do not agree.  Many professionals are not aware of their representing organization’s positions. It’s time for educational / medical professionals and tax payers, who do not agree with unlimited genders, to speak up.     

Written By: Brenda Lebsack

Public School Teacher / Adapted PE in Santa Ana Unified School District

Former School Board Member of Orange Unified School District (2016-2020)