What exactly do transgenderists want to do in K-12 classrooms?
In Part 4 of this series examining the contents of the special issue of the academic journal, Educational Researcher entitled Trans Studies in K-12 Education we will examine an article that contains some examples of what transgenderist advocates have in mind at the classroom level.
The article we will examine in this post is entitled, Teachers’ Strategies for Supporting Transgender and/or Gender-Expansive Elementary School Students.
Note to readers: After I began this series the filmmaker, writer and activist Christopher F. Rufo tweeted this:
Christopher F. Rufo @realchrisrufo August 5, 2022
I'm hoping conservatives can unite behind the phrase "radical gender theory" as the catch-all for queer theory, trans ideology, neo-pronouns, and gender identity activism that has captured America's public institutions. It's accurate, powerful, and persuasive language.
Therefore, I am going to employ the term, "radical gender theory," when appropriate in the rest of this series. I will also use the words “ideology” and “practices” at times rather than “theory.”
Just to recap. The purpose of this series is to debunk the claims of the contributors to the special issue that they are engaged in serious study in the field of education research. The fact is that they are not. Rather, they are engaged in the political project of trying to render the K-12 setting as transgenderism-friendly as possible and to normalize radical gender theory practices.
Part 1 of this series addressed the introduction to the special issue. Part 2 examined the first of the four feature articles in the issue and discussed how partisan rather than unbiased the “research” reviewed in it is. Part 3 showed that the author of the article under review is calling for the transformation of K-12 education along transgenderist lines.
Now we come to Part 4 and will examine some of the transgenderist practices that the author of the third of the four feature articles in the special issue wants to see implemented in American schools.
Ready? Here we go.
The writer says:
This qualitative study examines elementary teachers’ strategies for supporting trans and/or gender-expansive elementary students.
The word “support” already veers off from teaching into advocacy. And the term “gender-expansive” displays the ideology that the biology truth of there being two genders, male and female, must be combatted.
The pressure being placed on teachers unwilling to go along with radical gender ideology is rendered clear here:
Findings indicate that elementary teachers used three broad strategies to support transgender and/or gender-expansive students. Teachers decreased gendered practices, increased discussions about gender, and affirmed children’s gender identity and expression.
Parents should worry about “increased discussions about gender” given that so many of these discussions are designed to further transgenderist ideology and have nothing to do with the skills children should be mastering (e.g., math and writing).
It is also not the business of teachers to be “affirming” a child’s “gender identity.” A child is either a boy or a girl and it is up to the child’s family to shape the child’s understanding of sexuality. In this case, the parents concerned were chosen because they are activist parents of gender-confused children, which biases the study from the get-go.
Also, it is not clear what “gendered practices” are. If the practices to be decreased are girls-only (as in actual, biological girls and not troubled boys who think they are girls) sports or the provision of biological girls-only bathrooms, those should not be decreased.
And note the slant against teachers who are not on board with radical gender theory practices:
The consistency of teachers’ efforts to support trans and/or gender-expansive students was challenged by entrenched habits and their beliefs about the relevance of supportive practices.
For “entrenched habits” read a commitment to education above indoctrination and for “beliefs about the relevance of supportive practices” read an understandable reluctance to spend class time on said indoctrination at the expense of instruction in science, math, the humanities and so forth.
Quite predictably, the author of the article uses the loaded term that transgenderists employ to denigrate efforts by state legislatures to prevent the undermining of K-12 education by the transgenderist movement, “targeted”:
Many of these bills targeted children in schools and sought to limit their access to educational facilities and activities. In this national context, our public schools play a pivotal role in educating about gender diversity and creating supportive conditions for trans and/or gender-expansive students.
And note that the writer argues that efforts to ensure, say, that troubled boys who want the rest of the world to believe that they are girls are not allowed to destroy the very notion of female sports, “target” children.
Note too that the transgenderists regard school as merely vehicles for “education about gender diversity.” They regard teachers as little more than foot soldiers in the transgenderist project:
Educators play a critical role in creating educational spaces that affirm transgender people
Worryingly, the transgenderists want to reach younger and younger students and sexualize even elementary school classrooms:
research into the kinds of educational practices that might support transgender and/or gender-expansive students focuses primarily on adolescents… To improve the conditions for trans and/or gender expansive elementary students, we need research that examines how elementary teachers create supportive educational spaces for transgender and/or gender-expansive students
In the world of radical gender theory, every aspect of society must be retooled to suit the needs of those suffering from sexual confusion:
Trans studies–informed education research centers trans epistemologies and frames educational structures and practices as the problem, rather than the transgender student
The writer makes clear her disdain for all that is not non-trans, saying of her article:
This trans studies–informed qualitative study situates cisnormative school structures and practices as problematic and seeks to understand elementary teachers’ strategies for supporting trans and/or gender-expansive elementary students.
All that is traditional and stands in the way of the transgenderist revolution is “problematic.”
And the study sample for this this so-called research study is this:
Each school was led by a principal whom parents characterized as supporting their transgender and/or gender-expansive children.
Gosh, I wonder if so unrepresentative a group is going to yield meaningful results.
The writer wants to blot out a world in which boys and girls exist. She prefers a world where everyone is everything:
Schools are common sites for gender policing—the strict enforcement of binary gender norms
Norms are bad, you see.
The writer also engages in the hyperbolic claims that schools that are not dominated by radical gender theory are dangerous:
the need for research into educational practices that can disrupt the cisnormative thinking that creates dangerous school conditions for trans and/or gender-expansive children
Let’s talk reality. What group is likeliest to suffer from the rise of the transgenderist movement? Answer: normal little girls and women (a group that does not include the mythical “trans woman”), that’s who. Why? Because so much of the scholarship and legislation underpinning the women’s movement is based on, well, the idea that women are a separate group from men. The transgenderists want to throw the biological truth of the gender binary out the window. As the writer says:
Most of the extant research on gender and education has focused on differential treatment and outcomes for girls and boys…While important, this line of scholarship maintains gender as a binary and fails to examine how educational institutions reproduce cisnormative beliefs. New education research and theoretical framings are needed that more accurately reflect contemporary understandings about the complexity of gender
The more “complex” ideas about gender get, the less force the whole women’s equality thing carries. After all, if you can simply decide that you are a man what right would you have to complain about discrimination as a woman? The writer makes clear that one’s “gender identity” is simply a matter of our own choosing:
Trans studies disputes the view of gender as two mutually exclusive categories, challenges the presumed link between sex and gender, invites gender ambiguity, and advocates for gender self-determination
So much for biological facts and so much for the entire feminist edifice. And how do the transgenderists (many of whom are men who claim to be and to speak for women) treat their feminist critics? They call them “transgender-exclusionary radical feminists,” or TERFs and try to destroy their academic or journalistic careers and to de-platform them.
It is not just TERFs and all those awful “cisnormative beliefs” that the writer wants trans studies to defeat and it is not just K-12 education that is at stake. She tells us:
Trans studies scholarship is rooted in efforts to resist neoliberal institutionalization, colonialism, and capitalism
The writer does not make much more of this. It is just the usual assurance that she is a leftist in good standing that so many academics feel obliged to provide these days.
When she isn’t advocating world revolution, the writer laments the fact that some teachers do not want to sexualize their classrooms—such dinosaurs, clearly, need to be “educated” about radical gender theory practices:
educators may not understand themselves as contributing to cisnormative educational structures…and may resist making structural changes that disrupt cisnormative thinking...Educators express concern that elementary-aged children may be too young to learn about gender
The value of “research” which is based on methods such as interviewing a group like this:
elementary school principals who were purposively selected for participation based on parents’ reports that the principals supported their transgender and/or gender-expansive children
and the teachers who work under such principals is questionable.
The author says of herself:
my connections to multiple trans communities stem from being an immediate family member to two people who identify as trans
I have sought continual feedback from trans people with an array of personal experiences and professional backgrounds
So not like anything in her “research” is biased or anything.
Notice the horror expressed by the writer over common, innocuous practices:
The language heard in classrooms and schools tends to be highly gendered, with regular references to students as “boys” and “girls.”
That’s awful! A little girl should never hear the word “girls” nor should a boy hear the word “boys.”
It is also very important to pretend that all of the students like each other and that first graders are “scholars”:
In contrast, the teachers in this study had begun to recognize that binary gender terms may cause feelings of distress or exclusion for some students. Many teachers worked to replace “boys and girls” with alternate language such as “friends,”“scholars,” or “children.”
Let me get this straight. The very word “girls” causes distress? Acknowledging that such things as boys exist generates feelings of exclusion? Oh definitely, says the writer who tells us:
relying on dualistic terms to describe a diverse gender spectrum risks excluding and marginalizing some students
One tactic that transgenderists use in their efforts to make radical gender ideology seem benign is to take credit for innocuous practices advocated for decades by mainstream feminism or simply fair-minded non-feminists. Take this bit of transgenderist self-aggrandizement and credit-hogging—quoting a teacher, the writer relates:
“When I do seating arrangements and I have four kids at a table, it does not have to be two boys and two girls. Oftentimes I’ve had tables where there might be three girls and a boy or three boys and a girl.”
That has nothing to do with transgenderism. That has been true of K-12 education for a century or so.
What is different about transgenderist ideas in the K-12 classroom is the idea that cross-dressing is simply a matter of whatever makes a child happy. After quoting a teacher/interviewee to that effect, the writer says:
In this example, the teacher frames the dramatic play center as a space where children can express themselves in whatever way makes them feel good about themselves. Rather than reproducing binary gender norms, the space becomes a place where norms can be disrupted. Making space for gender complexity in elementary classrooms facilitates the kind of “unscripting” that allows children to construct new knowledge about gender
Hmm. Given that parents send their children to schools partially to be schooled in norms and not to be “unscripted,” this is not a desirable development. The writer quotes a kindergarten teacher who includes in the classroom library a book about:
basically a pre-K boy, a little trans boy, coming out to his teacher
Here we have a kindergarten teacher discussing with his students the “coming out” of a pre-K child. Is it any wonder that there has been a backlash against the transgenderist onslaught on norms at the K-12 level?
The writer even admits that pro-transgenderism indoctrination occurs even in the absence of gender-confused students. Could anything be more obsessive than this:
Although this teacher did not have a transgender student (that she knew of), she used her daily instructional routine to engage students in a conversation about gender and critically reflect on the way that binary gender norms constrain and limit self-expression.
This person needs to get out of the teaching profession and become a full-time activist in some other setting.
Several of the teachers quoted make plain that they are indeed obsessed with ensuring that gender-confused students remain that way:
Teachers affirmed children’s gender identity and expression in multiple ways. They referred to students by their claimed names and pronouns without requiring “proof” or legal documentation. Teachers also affirmed children’s choice of clothing, toys, and activities. A K–1 teacher…shared that she and her co-teacher were careful to compliment clothing choices they perceived as atypical
Note how it is a given that the only acceptable and desirable outcome of all of these pro-transgenderist practices is the adoption by the child of an “identity” at variance with child’s actual sex—and this atmosphere is being imposed on all the children in the classroom:
These efforts appear highly beneficial, given the positive outcomes of transition, chosen name, and pronoun use
Beneficial to whom? To transgenderist activists, apparently, given that as far as the writer is concerned, “a positive outcome” is a child successfully “affirmed” into a sex not what he or what was born and into a life that may involve drastic medical and pharmaceutical “treatments.” There is no discussion in the article of any physical side effects or ethical issues in school personnel meddling in key life decisions of children or any inkling that forcing other children to buy into the gender-based self-image psychodramas of their classmates might be damaging to the other children.
And just think of all the class time that is being eaten up by this intense focus on mastering sexuality-related terminology and at an ever younger age. More and more of the curriculum is being infused with transgenderist propaganda. Childhood itself is being abolished.
The author reports (as if all of this sexualization is wonderful):
The teachers in this study described engaging elementary children, some as young as kindergarten, in discussions about gender diversity.
Conversations about gender have multiple benefits for both cisgender and transgender students. Learning gender-related terms provides children with language to better express themselves. Stories with transgender and/or gender-expansive characters can help children develop understanding and acceptance of a wide range of gender identities and expressions
This is no acknowledgement in this article that children who come from backgrounds in which transgenderism is not something to be celebrated, but regarded as immoral or a tragedy for those afflicted by it might be marginalized in transgenderism-dominated school settings. The ideologically-driven radical gender theorist has no time for dissent. There is no tolerance of the belief that one's sex is a matter of biology and not personal preference. She writes of:
the importance of trans pedagogies for disrupting cisnormative beliefs and facilitating gender identity development
Children are merely tools for disruption.
The author even congratulates herself on the importance of her own work:
This study makes an important contribution to our understanding of how elementary teachers create supportive educational spaces for trans and/or gender-expansive students.
She does not dwell on improving education as such—it is all about identity and the use of research to advance the transgenderist takeover of K-12 education:
Our capacity to create positive school experiences for trans and/or gender expansive students is dependent on our ability to think in new ways about gender and disrupt cisnormativity.
Let us close with the tale of Max as related by his fourth grade teacher, as quoted by the author:
Max came up to me one day and said, “okay, I’m ready to tell the class,” so we talked about how to handle it. Max wanted me to lead the open circle discussion, so we sat down and we were in our circle and Max was right next to me. We started talking about how Max was born a boy but everything else about Max is a girl and we’re going to use female pronouns now and we talked about what female pronouns are. We talked about how some cultures don’t even have pronouns. I looked at Max afterwards and I asked, “Did I cover everything or is there anything you want to say?” She was sitting up on her knees on the chair, and she said “moo,” which is a total fourth grade answer, so I thought, “apparently she’s good.” From then on, Max was she, instead of he, very naturally, within the whole class.
This is truly disturbing. A teacher is forcing an entire class to pretend that a boy is a girl. What message does that send to the girls in the class? Basically this, “You must all henceforth pretend that this boy is the same sex as you.” That is outrageous and damaging to normal little girls. It's astonishing that I even have to modify the world "girl" (i.e. "actual girl" "biological girl") to make clear that I am not referring to a "trans girl" (that is, a boy who thinks he is a girl). The damage that the transgenderists are doing to girls and women and to our modes of expresion is gargantuan.
Parents of children in the K-12 setting should be wary of those who say to them, “Research shows…” when it comes to transgenderism.