Education , Culture & the Family
Ray Carter | July 14, 2023
OEA parent organization vows to support youth sex-change surgeries
The national parent organization of the Oklahoma Education Association has vowed to spend member funds fighting against state laws that restrict school bathroom access based on sex and laws that prevent children from undergoing sex-change surgeries.
The Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) is the state’s largest teachers’ union and the state affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA).
At a recent national meeting, NEA delegates approved a measure that called for spending up to $580,000 of union funds opposing what the union members characterized as anti-LGBGQ+ legislation, such as bills that prevent boys (who claim to identify as girls) from using the girls’ bathrooms at public schools, laws that limit girls’ athletics to female participants, and measures that prevent children from receiving cross-sex hormones or sex-change surgeries before age 18.
Education Week reported that the measure called for the union to provide training for “member mobilization” efforts to combat what the group considers anti-LGBGQ+ legislation and to promote programs that provide access to “gender-affirming care,” a euphemism that refers to providing children cross-sex hormones or surgeries intended to make a child look like a member of the opposite sex.
OEA officials have rhetorically attempted to distance their group from their national affiliate at times but have maintained their ties to the organization and have also followed edicts handed down by the NEA.
The OEA previously offered an “LGBTQ+ Advocacy Toolkit” for its teacher members that included NEA material advising teachers on ways to keep parents in the dark if a child expresses interest in a transgender identity, apparently even in situations where the child is in pre-K and/or has intellectual disabilities.
Earlier this year, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters released a video that consisted primarily of clips of speakers from prior NEA events, including some advocating political stances on LGBT issues. The OEA promptly criticized the video, and stated, “Not a single speaker or portion of the video portrayed anyone from the state of Oklahoma.”
But the OEA’s website still declares, “Only the OEA is affiliated with a national parent organization—the National Education Association—that is fighting to keep public education safe from those who would destroy it for self-interest reasons.”
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.