A Disney-supported LGBTQ charity believes that teachers need to make math class more inclusive of trans and non-binary identities, suggesting that math teachers are the least likely to teach an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum.
"Mathematics educators must do a better job of including our trans and non-binary students, as the future of those students are in their hands," says Kyle Whipple, a trans educator and author of a blog post titled "How Do We Make Math Class More Inclusive of Trans and Non-Binary Identities," published on the GLSEN website. GLSEN is a charity that promotes LGBT materials in K-12 schools.
One way Whipple suggests doing this is when teaching statistics and data collection. According to Whipple, teachers need to be sure students don’t just have male and female as the options for biological sex, but also "intersex" and "other." It is not clear what the "other" category could be, nor is it explained that so-called "intersex" people, or people with Disorders of Sexual Development (DSDs) are all either male or female. Whipple then advises that there be a separate category for gender that includes an array of choices such as "agender, genderfluid, female, male, nonbinary, transman, transwoman, and other."
Another proposed way of incorporating gender ideology into math class is to have students "model the spread of the use of the singular they/them/their pronoun." The suggested activity starts "with a community of a given size, perhaps 25,000 people, and giving the probability that any encounter will lead to a percent of the population adopting the they/them/their pronouns as part of regular use, the students can determine how long it will take for the entire population to adopt the use."
Disney is a proud supporter of GLSEN. The company made a donation of $100,000 to the group in 2020, and has since partnered with GLSEN for Pride events and made further donations of profits from its Pride Rainbow Disney Collection merchandise.
GLSEN tells math teachers that they must be "diligent about creating classrooms that are safe and welcoming learning environments" and that they are required to acknowledge and affirm LGBTQ students’ lives. The importance of respecting names and pronouns is emphasized, and teachers are told that in order not to alienate any students, they must mark occasions such as Trans Awareness Week, Day of Silence, and Ally Week.
But many are concerned that such activities in the classroom are linked to the huge surge in the number of young people identifying as transgender and seeking irreversible medical procedures. Adolescents are known to be very susceptible to messaging. In the past, well-intentioned outreach programs aimed at preventing eating disorders had the opposite effect and resulted in outbreaks of eating disorders. There is concern amongst experts that we are now witnessing something similar.
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