I Know What You Read Last Summer
It’s summer break time for most American school systems. But that hasn’t stopped the nation’s largest teachers’ union from seizing the opportunity to ram propaganda straight into 3,000,000 educators’ mailboxes in the form of the NEA Today Magazine.
A look inside the NEA magazine suggests gender ideology in schools is indeed on the national radar. Magazine topics include a battle over pride flags in the classroom, how to support LGBTQ+ students, classroom censorship, and book bans. Anyone who has had a young one come home and parrot what “teacher said” knows the power that classroom teachers wield. So, what messages and advice are teachers receiving from the largest teachers’ union?
The June issue of NEA Today includes a story about a librarian who ordered books with trans-identified characters to “help” a transitioning middle schooler. Further in the article we learn that the student visited the library almost every morning with an entourage of six friends. Would educators casually skimming this article with a bagel and coffee recognize the social contagion component here? Would they strive to be like this “superstar” librarian? One wonders how an article about joys of “thinness” would play with an anorexic cohort on tweens?
Making the list of 10 Great Summer Reads for Educators!: Gender Queer. Hopefully teachers do check out this book and its graphic illustrations before putting it on shelves. The potential for such books to be a gateway for gender non-confirming young readers struggling with puberty and identity exploration would likely be missed.
Moving online, an alarming article on supporting LGBTQ youth warns that “as anti-LGBTQ+ legislation skyrockets across the country, so do suicide attempts and other mental-health concerns among LGBTQ+ students.” The article posits that, in 2022, 45 percent of LGBTQ+ youth considered suicide. The source is an online questionnaire by the Trevor Project. A Key Take Away: “a supportive school community can mean the difference between life and death for LGBTQ+ students.”
The implication to teachers is clear—they can cause death by pronoun.
NEA advises teachers “As long as there is no school policy stating otherwise, address students in the way they identify themselves to show that you respect them and are a person they can trust…remember that affirming students’ identities is extremely important and valuable.”
Perusing the union magazine and online content with its images and articles glorifying gender ideology in schools raises the question, “Why is the teachers’ union providing their members with such a simplistic, one-sided view?”
The stories do not reflect the reality of what happens at home when a school facilitates the gender transition of a minor, often negatively impacting the student’s mental health and family relationships.
Why isn’t the union advocating for common sense boundaries that allow their educators to simply be able to teach? Why isn’t the union making it clear that facilitating gender transition is outside educators’ purview? Why the failure to protect their members and families? Most experienced educators have never heard the term “transgender” in teacher preparatory courses. Teachers simply are not qualified and should not be altering a child’s life path without the guidance of those who know the child best. “Watchful waiting” should be the stance here especially given the complexity of the situation, the risks, and the positions on this topic from several notably progressive countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, England)—but that’s not what’s happening.
It could be that Democrats union leaders and writers have simply been fed a steady pro-affirmation diet by the media. There could be a lack of understanding between the difference in sexual orientation (why would a teacher ever out a gay student?) and a student adopting a new gender identity, and takings steps on a medical pathway. It could be the union leaders feel they must save their kids. They really feel strongly this is best for students and have never encountered information, from say, the U.K.’s Cass report that changing a child’s pronouns is an active intervention, and the long term consequences are unknown. It could be that the union has listened to their trans members in their LGBTQ+ Caucus on their needs. These are the most optimistic explanations that likely play a role.
The union’s strong pro-affirmation stance could also be the result something else. It could mean the teachers, while attempting to be inclusive to all, allowed a fox in the hen house.
The end result, however, is that the teachers’ union is distributing information to millions of members from sources that do not concern themselves with the collateral damage of gender affirmation and gender ideology. Their sources do not have a robust view of gender care. These sources are not motivated by what is best for the nation’s ever-growing number of trans-identifying students.
A look on the NEA site shows that the union’s partners include HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and The Trevor Project. One of the platinum sponsors of HRC is the manufacturer of a puberty blocker and of one of the most commonly used testosterones in the U.S.
What would happen if a teachers’ union was in bed with an activist group that was in bed with a pharmaceutical company? It would seem that only a couple dots need be connected to see how the teachers’ union could be obtaining their information on affirming student’s trans identities. HRC’s Welcoming Schools Program is listed on NEA’s website. The checklist for welcoming schools reads like a list of actions to take to create a gender confused child. A link leading to the HRC site, and its misleading explanation that puberty blockers are “fully reversible” is only a couple of clicks away.
The images in the union magazine which glorify union staff members “supporting LGBTQ+ students” and the links to LGBTQ+ books becomes more sinister. So does the push in recent years for inclusive classroom décor and the ruse of not including those pesky parents in life changing decisions under the guise of “student confidentiality.” Then, the teachers displaying the pink and blue flags and pronouns on their doors aren’t just attempting to create welcoming classrooms. They are shills.
Regardless of whether the union’s LGBTQ+ material was influenced by unscrupulous participants, the reality is that the union is failing to consider the harm their stance on gender is causing. The 3,000,000 strong union’s promotion of books celebrating children “switching” genders and empowering educators to affirm vulnerable students’ name changes without consulting parents is the stuff of nightmares. We parents are living through it now. The future damage done to these vulnerable children is untold.