A New York public school teacher has been suspended after parents discovered she was teaching her middle school health classes about transgenderism using sexually ambiguous “Genderbread” persons, and graphic descriptions of gender attraction and transition.
Jacqueline Hall was suspended with pay from her job at Cambridge Central School in upstate New York, after one of her 11-year-old pupils went home with a packet of information “about sex change operations that included graphic sexual definitions.”
That parent went on Facebook Live to show his son’s classwork to fellow Cambridge Center parents, and let them know what their children were learning about in class. But the video ended up going viral, and more than 600,000 people tuned in to learn about Ms. Hall’s curriculum, which included a description of “genital reconstruction” surgery.
Hall also brought in a guest speaker from the local LGBTQ activism group, Pride Center of the Capital Region, who talked to the teacher’s 7th and 10th graders about the “gender spectrum” and illustrated sexual attraction and gender identity using the Genderbread Person, a gingerbread person decked out to demonstrate the various facets of human interaction.
The Genderbread Person is a publicly available resource, and you can find copies of him/her/it on most sexual education websites, including Planned Parenthood’s. It uses a seemingly innocuous, familiar concept — the gingerbread man — to explain how gender identity, gender expression, and biological sex can be “fluid,” and that humans have more than a single gender-determining characteristic.
Another handout featured a “match game” where kids were asked to define terms like homophobia, intersex, polyamory, pansexual, bisexual and cisgender.
Both the parents and the schools maintain that there is nothing wrong with teaching kids about gender and sexuality, albeit in age-appropriate ways. But it was the detailed, graphic nature of the handouts and the activities that became concerning.
“I have no problem with the school talking about diversity,” local media quoted one parent as saying. “Gay kids are out there, and the kids need to know about it. But the problem I have is that it went so in-depth. That’s too much for 11- and 12-year-olds.”
For their part, Pride Center is defending the handouts. “Transgender kids are coming out younger and younger,” Center CEO Martha Haven said. “If you love kids, you want them to have the most information possible. If a parent has a problem with the presentation, that’s the parent’s problem.”