I’m a parent at an Elementary-aged Public School in York Region District in Ontario.
Sometime at the end of February, without parents’ knowledge, the school invited Canadian Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity to give a workshop on gender diversity and queer identity to students from Grade 5 to 8. The title and content of this workshop and by what organization were all vague. Some parents heard something from their children but no one had a clue what happened.
Until March 1st.
At the school parents council meeting, while the school showed previous activities at the school, I noticed this workshop for Grade 5 to 8 and asked what it was about and if parents’ consent were obtained. The Principal stated that this topic falls under the Human Rights code, thus parents acknowledgement or consent are not required. Two other council members stated that they wanted to be educated on the same topic so parents can help promote gender equity. The school thought it would be a great idea to bring in speakers to give a gender diversity session to parents. On April 21, the school sent out the following invitation to all parents at the school:
It was a painful first 20 minutes to sit through the presentation (presented in its entirety below), which was an indoctrination session of gender ideology, even more shocking knowing our young children had to attend this. I didn’t even know why “toxic masculinity” was thrown in there (is that a tenet of gender ideology?), and regardless, is that what we want to be teaching our impressionable boys?
A third of the way into the presentation, parents started to ask questions about the appropriateness of asking children pronouns all the time. The majority of the parents kept assuring the presenters that they are fully on board with their ideas – they just wanted to be “educated” to be better parents. However, I now believe, thinking back, these parents might have wanted to appease the school and these people so that they don’t take our kids from us (it is anecdotally known in Ontario that teachers will call child protective services on parents who don’t automatically affirm and unquestioningly their child).
The presenter and school’s answers were within my expectations, that they want to create a safe space for everybody. They did not seem to have any clue about the UK’s non-partisan Cass Review, which states that “social transition is not a neutral act.” In fact, it can lock in a trans identity that would otherwise desist, leading to risky medicalization and becoming a lifelong medical patient.
Later in the conversation, the vice principal and the speaker threw in the (unrelated?) concepts of white privilege and racism. And so now we parents had the complete ideological package.
At one point, the presenter claimed that Disney is teaching kids to be racist and transphobic, so I brought out books from the local public library (see photo below) saying these books are all talking about your agenda to children, telling them that you are confusing and gaslighting our children regarding their sexes, and this is very harmful to certain vulnerable children. Then I quoted the study findings of the interplay between autism, ADHD, and other psychological disorders and gender identity.
However, I couldn’t finish because I was stopped by the principal and vice principal, who reprimanded me that what I said was very offensive. Someone was offended (it was not clear who). No other parent backed me up – they were too scared. So I shut my mouth. At the end, the school sincerely thanked the speakers for giving us such a precious opportunity to “openly discuss” these new concepts so we can be global citizens.
The school principal reached out to me a week later saying that because of my active involvement with the school (I have organized Chinese culture activities for the school and act as a voting member of the school parents council) he felt like he should clear the air. I thought he was going to apologize to me. To my surprise, he reaffirmed his position last week at the presentation that he needed to stop me because my speech was transphobic. I asked how this was so since my statement was backed by scientific studies. I offered to send him the studies, so he could understand the complexity of the issues. He ignored this request and replied that one of the speakers self-identified as transgendered. He said that when I mentioned autism and other comorbidities, I made this speaker feel uncomfortable and unsafe. I asked the principal to confirm this was why he interrupted me, because he thought the speaker felt uncomfortable and unsafe. I then told him that I had actually felt unwelcomed in that room and that I felt the environment was hostile. Would he stand up for me like he did for the speaker?
He said no, what I said was unacceptable, the same as a racist slur calling someone the N word.
Can you imagine my blood pressure at this point? Then the principal reminded me how racism and white supremacy sneaked into our debates last week at the presentation. I was flabbergasted by this assertion. He said that when I objected to transgender ideology, I automatically became a racist and part of the discriminative supremacist system. Then he went on to say that he affirms all students’ identities. This conversation wouldn’t go anywhere else, so we agreed to disagree.
At last, I asked if there are teachers who object to this gender identity ideology. To my horror, he said if there are, he needs to have a serious conversation with them.
These books are available and easily accessible at the Library. These are only a sample of what they have on their shelves. This is also the only library we have in town. They have hosted Drag Queen Story Hour before and will host another one on June 3. The books I brought to the presentation are quite controversial and many parents are concerned about age appropriateness, given that some of them can be considered pornographic, with images of young people engaging in fellatio.
These two photos show the presentation right at the door of my Grade 2 (age 7) daughter’s classroom.
Again, this seems shocking, until you realize that LGBT people tend to have many comorbid mental health issues. Also, the term “cisgender” is a hallmark of gender ideology.
The “genderbread person” and the “gender unicorn” are not based in science. The gender giraffes are a good and respectful alternative.
This slide boggles the mind. Biological sex is indeed binary and should not be confused with “gender.” DSD (differences in sexual development, or intersex), a medical condition where biological sex is still relevant, should not be used as a way to advance an ideology. This article by an evolutionary biologist is helpful in clearing up the misconceptions.
This slide seems irrelevant and anti-boy.
As noted above, social transition, including changing names and pronouns, is not a neutral act but can have a profound psychological impact. Parents must be involved and not have this hidden from them. Schools are not psychologists or doctors and should not act as such.
This is straight from ideological and much-disputed academic queer theory.
Obviously, transphobia and homophobia can occur and need to be discouraged, but these terms are sadly now over-used, weaponized, and utilized to cancel debate by anyone who might disagree about any aspect of these issues (including social transition without parental knowledge).
Again, this is queer theory. For instance, feeling uncomfortable with puberty is very normal for both sexes and across cultures.
Good advice for any parent. The research is increasingly clear social media can be problematic for young people.
We must figure out a way to balance the rights. It’s important that the rights of girls are not violated when implementing such policies, for example in sports.
Of course people should be respectful of each other, that goes without saying. If a parent is okay with using different names and pronouns, then that is a different story than if a parent is being lied to, the ultimate in disrespect.