Ray Carter | June 21, 2023

Teachers’ union offers ways to support transgenderism

Ray Carter

In a recently unveiled “toolkit,” the National Education Association (NEA) advises teachers on strategies to overturn policies that require educators to use a student’s given name rather than a “transgender” name, and the organization also directs teachers to various LGBTQ+ organizations, including one that has defended prostitution and another accused of helping pedophiles access vulnerable youth.

The Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) is the state affiliate of the NEA. On its website, the OEA 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.”

The NEA offers its members a resource page to “support transgender and non-binary students,” including art that teachers can share on social media that declares, “Trans Rights are Human Rights.”

The union notes that teachers can “use decorations to set the tone for their classrooms, school buses, lunchrooms, and other workspaces,” and suggests that teachers should “use your work environment to show support for students of all backgrounds—for example, by hanging a Black Lives Matter poster or Pride flag or making clear that you will use a student’s personal gender pronouns.”

However, the union notes that schools can “control most of an educator’s in-classroom speech,” but offers strategies to combat school or state restrictions that, for example, require teachers to use a child’s legal name rather than a transgender name.

“Forbidding the use of certain pronouns or names may amount to discrimination based on gender identity, in violation of Title IX and possibly other state or federal anti-discrimination laws,” the NEA tells teachers. “In addition, such a policy may not be consistently applied. For example, a school may have a policy that only a student’s given name can be used in the classroom unless a parent has authorized use of another name. In this case, to enforce the policy in a nondiscriminatory way the school would need to request permission from the parents for a student named John wanting to be called Johnny, as well as for a transgender student wanting to use a name that better matches their gender identity.”

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.

In a page on legal and employment guidance, the NEA declares, “Schools may not prevent transgender students from participating in athletic contests on teams that match their gender identity.” Oklahoma is among the states that have passed a law banning males from competing in girls’ athletics.

The NEA also tells teachers, “Schools may not prevent students from using the bathrooms or locker rooms that match their gender identity.” Oklahoma is among the states that limit access to multi-stall school bathrooms to members of one sex with a provision requiring that schools provide an alternative site for students who do not wish to use the bathroom that aligns with their sex.

The NEA’s latest offering of LGBTQ resources includes a list of “NEA Partners.” One of the organizations on that list, The Trevor Project, has come under fire for providing a chat service that independent reviewers have found includes discussions of sexual fetishes and may expose children to pedophiles.

The NEA’s partners page also includes links to material touting the provision of sex-change surgeries, puberty-blockers, and cross-sex hormones to minor children, which are described as “gender-affirming care.” Oklahoma is among the states that have banned those practices for individuals younger than 18, due in part to growing concern from medical officials around the world and the rising number of “de-transitioners” who have publicly spoken of their regret at having undergone those sex-change procedures before the age of maturity.

The NEA also provides teachers a list of LGBTQ+ Advocacy Organizations in each state. For Oklahoma, that list includes Freedom Oklahoma, an organization that earlier this year opposed legislation to crack down on prostitution. The legislation increased the penalties for those who pay for sex. In discussing the group’s opposition to that legislation, Freedom Oklahoma declared, “Sex work is real work,” and said “increased policing of sex work will only further harm trans folks who depend on this survival economy.”

Ray Carter Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter

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.

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