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Several dozen Midwestern teachers discussed ways to transition their students’ gender without alerting parents in an online chatroom this week.
Roughly 30 teachers and administrators from various states including Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio met in an online chatroom hosted by the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP), an organization that has received millions of dollars in federal funding. The Daily Mail gained access to the four-hour workshop, which was centered on reviewing various new educational statutes to “remedy the marginalizing effects and disrupt problematic policies.”
Kimberly Martin, DEI coordinator for Royal Oaks Schools in Michigan, described her efforts to hide elements of social transition, such as changing a student’s name, from their parents.
“We’re working with our record-keeping system so that certain screens can’t be seen by the parents … if there’s a nickname in there we’re trying to hide,” Martin said.
Jennifer Haglund, counselor for Ames Community Schools in Iowa, condemned Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds for signing a law in March barring males from competing on female sports teams and bragged about her personal activism for LGBTQ causes.
“I know that I have my own right code of ethics, and that doesn’t always go along with the law,” Haglund said.
“The stakes are very high for trans youth,” Shea Martin, an Ohio-based teacher and contributor to far-Left blog Radical Teacher, said. “I think that requires working subversively and quietly sometimes to make sure that trans kids have what they need.”
Martin also said she had worked against “laws that prohibit or restrict trans advocacy.” Martin also said that in discussion with elementary aged students, teachers should avoid treating “reinforced heterosexuality as the norm.”
Gender ideology has become an increasingly controversial issue in the United States — a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 65% of Americans say that there are only two genders, up from 59% in 2021, with support for the gender binary increasing in virtually all demographic cohorts. Furthermore, a plurality of those polled, 36%, opposed teaching transgenderism at any level in K-12 education.
Hundreds of laws have been introduced in red and purple states to limit sexually explicit drag performances in public, ban books with explicit sexual content from school libraries, prevent males from competing in girls and women’s sports, and prevent minors from being given cross-sex hormones or body modification surgeries, among other things. These laws have been decried as “anti-LGBTQ” by activist groups such as the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign and by the Biden White House, fueling intense national debate.
MAP is part of the Great Lakes Equity Center and operates in 13 different states: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. It covers over 7,000 school districts and more than 11 million students. The states and localities under its jurisdiction have a wide range of stances on issues surrounding sex and gender.
According to the Daily Mail, MAP receives federal funding under Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and last November it received more than $8 million from the Department of Education.