The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently released a 48-page guide for schools on how to create a better environment for their LGBTQ students.
The guide, titled “Supporting Gender Expansive Students: Guidance for Schools,” contains an array of concerning recommendations for teachers on how to make their “Gender Expansive” students feel more welcome, including encouraging teachers not to notify parents of their child’s gender identity which would constitute “outing” and may be classified as discrimination, as reported by Fox News.
The guidance follows a 2016 Oregon law that allowed teenagers as young as fifteen to undergo state-subsidized sex change operations and other gender-transition medical treatments without parental notice. Critics of the law and of the recent guide claim that parents deserve the right to know if their child is undergoing a gender transition or identifies as another gender.
The guide begins by identifying the “gender expansive” students for which it exists to help.
“When used in this document, the term gender expansive is meant to represent the myriad of system-impacted gender identities, expressions, and assignments, including but not limited to transgender, nonbinary, Two Spirit, intersex, agender, genderqueer, and genderfluid identities,” the document reads.
It then states that the guide was “founded in the right of students to be free from protected class discrimination when pursuing their education.”
The guide also urges schools to “affirm” their student’s gender identities, according to Fox News.
“Gender-affirming policies and practices are opportunities for school communities to heal, grow, and thrive; when gender expansive students thrive, all students and staff benefit from having engaged students, classmates, teammates, and friends,” the document states. “Research demonstrates that gender-affirming care improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender expansive children and adolescents.”
An ODE spokesperson told Fox that the department prioritizes parent support of and involvement in their children’s gender identity because when gender expansive students are supported at home, research shows they are more likely to succeed at school and have lower rates of suicide ideation.”
“However, when students identify that notifying their family may be a safety concern, we do encourage schools to prioritize the student’s safety within all school environments,” he said.
Oregon is not the only state where teachers have been instructed not to inform parents on their children’s gender identity. A similar situation occurred in Montgomery County Public schools in Maryland, where the staff was issued a guide called “Gender Identity in Montgomery County Public Schools,” according to American Pigeon.
In another instance, the Eau Claire Area School District in Wisconsin told parents that they did not need to know their child’s identity or whether they were experiencing gender dysphoria. Parents are suing both the Montgomery County Board of Education and Eau Claire Area School District.