Carly Hughes, a Virginia elementary school special education teacher, who recently came under fire for saying that her autistic students “may experience gender queerness more than other students” has also revealed a book on gender identity in her classroom.
In a short TikTok video, where a pride flag is seen hanging in her classroom, Hughes shows off a book titled, “Being You: A First Conversation About Gender,” that teaches children about being transgender and non-binary. The book claims that “some babies grow into a different gender than the one that grown-ups called them,” and also claims that “there are lots of different genders that people grow into.”
On another page with kids declaring their gender, the book reads, “Whatever your feelings are, they are real and important to you. You are the expert in being YOU.” One child calls herself an “in-betweener” and another says that she is “trans.”
In the video, Hughes captions that she is “charging myself up to be the scary queer public school teacher who pushes the gay agenda.”
The book also teaches children about pronouns such as “ze”, “ella”, and “they/them”, saying that believing in only two genders is an “unfair rule which gives boys more power.”
Hughes reportedly works in the Multi-Intervention Program for Students with Autism (MIPA) at Long Branch Elementary School in Virginia. She recently attended the Arlington County school board meeting on October 13 opposing Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin’s new transgender policies, which states that schools will not be able facilitate a child gender transition without the approval of parents. The school policies also state that bathrooms and locker rooms are to be used respective to students’ biological sex.
Nine studies have been conducted that connect Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and transgender identities, according to the Daily Wire. “Rates of autistic traits in these studies range from five percent to 54% among those with gender dysphoria, significantly higher than among the general population,” the outlet reported.
Psychologist Dr. Kenneth Zucker, who reportedly has 30 years of experience running the largest Canadian childhood gender clinic, said that children may be more likely to identify as transgender because they are on the autism spectrum, which may make them more likely to obsess over gender. But, he adds, this does not mean that they have gender dysphoria.
“It is possible that kids who have a tendency to get obsessed or fixated on something may latch on to gender,” says Zucker. “Just because kids are saying something doesn’t necessarily mean you accept it, or that it’s true, or that it could be in the best interests of the child.”
Back in August, Maryland public schools reportedly issued guidance to its staff on how to deal with students’ gender identity. The guidance stated that staff may have to lie to “unsupportive parents” about their child’s gender identity and potentially get child welfare services involved.