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Grade 8 students in classrooms across Nova Scotia are being taught about transgender issues using a school book that is littered with unscientific propaganda.
The school book entitled Transphobia: deal with it and become a gender transcender, by J Wallace Skelton, is in use in grade 8 classrooms across the province. It is listed as a resource on the province’s education website.
According to the book’s product description on Amazon, it aims to “help kids better understand gender identity and determine what they can do to identify and counter transphobia in their schools, homes and communities.”
Written from the viewpoint of “gender challengers, gender enforcers and witnesses, transphobic behavior is identified, examined and put into a context that kids can use to understand.”
According to the book, transphobia is commonplace in the school setting and needs to be addressed. Transphobia is defined as “intolerance of any part of the range of gender identity.”
One example of transphobia the book highlights includes the girls track team protesting the addition of a trans girl (biologically male) to the team because “it’s unfair to have him try out for our team when he is stronger and faster.”
Another example the book cites as transphobic is a conversation between two female students, where one confides in the other saying she is going to ask out Kal, a biological female who identifies as male. The friend responds by saying that would make her lesbian, because Kal used to be a girl.
Skelton, the author of the book, goes even farther saying that not letting a biological male who identifies as female change in the girls changeroom is also an act of transphobia.
The book also includes a true and false quiz to test the transphobia of the reader. If any of the following statements ring true for you, you are transphobic, according the the school book.
- I think there are only two genders, and you’re born into one or another.
- I don’t think it’s possible for people to be a gender other than male or female.
- I won’t use an all-gender washroom.
- I think the sight of a man in a dress is funny.
- I have laughed at jokes about trans people.
- I won’t use “they” or “them” as a pronoun for one person.
- I have the right to judge other people.
- I don’t think trans women and trans girls should be able to use a washroom with other women and girls.
The creation of the book was funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.
Skelton is the Gender-Based Violence Prevention Student Equity Program Advisor for the Toronto District School Board.
The Post Millennial reached out to Chrissy Matheson of Communications Nova Scotia, who said, “One copy of the book Transphobia: deal with it and become a gender transcender” is available in all grade 8 English Language Arts classrooms across Nova Scotia” (Emphasis mine).
Matheson went on to say that “this book is not a textbook, and is not a required part of the school curriculum. This book is available among many other resources for students to read, if they choose, as part of their independent reading.”
We also reached out to Dr. Debra Soh, a science columnist and sex researcher. Soh offered this perspective:
For parents who may not have been aware of how widely false ideas about gender are being embraced and promoted in Canadian schools, this should serve as a red flag.
Many points discussed in the book are scientifically inaccurate; for example, the claim that there are more than two genders, and that there are no differences between women who were born women and transgender women.
Educational materials should not be shaming children and calling them “transphobic” for believing otherwise. Many of these issues, including whether trans girls should be allowed to compete in girls-only sports competitions, are complex and have yet to reach a consensus, even among adults, like myself, who are in favour of transgender rights.
I would advise concerned parents and caregivers to encourage these kinds of conversations at home and to be mindful of what their children are learning about gender, whether or not they live in Nova Scotia.