By Walt Heyer
No matter what well-intentioned teachers and administrators believe, LGBT acceptance programs designed by GLSEN and funded by the CDC are designed to encourage kids to question their gender identity and sexual orientation.
On May 19, 2009, a few short months after his inauguration, Obama gave the green light to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to appoint Kevin Jennings to a top position to influence school policy: the post of Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, also known as the “safe schools czar.”
Jennings, a powerful LGBT rights activist who is himself a gay man, was the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). GLSEN is one of the largest LGBT activist organizations in the nation and is devoted to promoting homosexuality in K-12 schools. Jennings served as “safe schools czar” from 2009-2011.
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Given his connection with the organization, we should not be shocked to discover that GLSEN received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control in 2011 for $1.425 million over five years to promote the LGBT agenda in public schools at taxpayers’ expense. Through these publicly funded in-school programs, kids are being bombarded with the message that same-sex attraction and gender-identity confusion are innate and therefore not changeable.
Those who design these programs probably believe that they are offering hope to children who may feel different, flawed, or unlovable. They believe that if they affirm children’s LGBT identities as something positive, something that makes up the core of who they are, the children will fare better.
This is not the case. No matter what well-intentioned teachers and administrators believe, these programs ultimately entail an agenda that hurts kids. The messages these programs send do nothing to combat the tragically high suicide rates among the LGBT community.
Data indicate that kids are actually put at risk when schools encourage them to identify themselves as gay or transgender at an early age. For each year children delay labeling themselves as LGBT, their suicide risk is reduced by 20 percent.
I’m passionate about this issue because I was a trans-kid myself. I know how easy it was for my grandma to manipulate me into thinking I should change genders. Young trans-kids need to know they were not born that way, and that most will no longer have a desire to change genders once they grow into adulthood.
Parents need to know that up to 94 percent of school-age kids who identify as transgender will grow out of their desire to change genders as adults—if parents and schools stop encouraging them to internalize and publicize their LGBT identities.
The Power of Childhood Influences
I’m not sure we truly understand how easily young people’s thinking about gender identity can be influenced by parents, television shows, and teachers who encourage them to explore new genders. During early childhood development, kids learn gender roles from observation within the family setting, peers, television, and school. They use their imagination, actions, and language to play-act what they see.
GLSEN capitalizes on the impressionable, imaginative nature of young children by designing and implementing programs for children as young as kindergarten. Consider their toolkit for elementary educations, Ready, Set, Respect! GLSEN knows that the elementary years are a prime opportunity to encourage kids to reject the values of their parents.
The handbook outlines a variety of activities that gradually introduce and reinforce the messages that gender is a social construct, that moms and dads are interchangeable, and that anyone who says otherwise is hateful and prejudiced.
Along with lessons designed to help kindergarten through fifth-graders to “explore the definition of a family and to understand that there are a variety of family structures” and to “challenge their own and other’s [sic] assumptions about gender and gender roles,” the guide recommends a variety of books and videos to help cement the lessons. Asha’s Mums, for example, teaches third- through fifth-graders that “having two mums is no big deal.”
An additional discussion guide goes into greater detail about books such as And Tango Makes Three, which is recommended for pre-kindergarten through third-graders:
This book talk is designed to help students realize that there are different family structures including families led by LGBT parents. This is the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins who share a nest like other penguin couples, and who are given an egg in need of nurturing. . . .
Conclude by telling students that Tango’s family is just one kind of family. Ask them if they think there is a certain number of kinds of families and how they know that. Let students know that through your life you have discovered and met and continue to meet different kinds of families and that you’re not sure there is a certain number of possibilities.
Other books, such as 10,000 Dresses and My Princess Boy, are listed as resources to help children who are “Exploring Non-Traditional Gender Roles.” While parts of the lesson plans are correct and even healthy (yes, girls can climb trees and boys can play with dolls), encouraging cross-gender identification at such a young age can have painful, long-lasting consequences.
Inadvertently manipulating the minds of young people by suggesting that their “real” gender might not match their body can shape how they think, feel, and behave for years to come.
As someone whose grandmother lavished me with affirmations as she cross-dressed me as a girl, I am concerned by the growing trend in schools of encouraging kids to change genders. The activists have convinced the parents this will do no harm. I have traveled this path, and I can tell you: childhood influences matter.
Events and “Research”
GLSEN website provides an LGBT inclusive curriculum to help educators develop lessons that include “positive representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, history, and events.”
The GLSEN student calendar for grades six through twelve is full of events and suggestions for how to celebrate them: LGBT History Month, LGBT Pride Month, National Coming Out Day, and Ally Week, which is touted as “a week where we can have vital conversations to move the movement forward toward our collective queer liberation!”
What other external organizations are granted access to shaping school curricula and activities? I would venture to say that GLSEN is one of the most provocative. Parents take note: the organization aided by taxpayer funds and influencing schools is the one devoted to the LGBT cause.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.