Irish teachers' union DEFENDS use of video that encourages young children to change gender

"So boys can change into girls," says a student after being read a book on "trans kids."

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

A large Irish teachers’ union is facing backlash after one of its teacher-training videos containing unscientific gender identity ideology that encourages teachers to socially transition gender-confused children emerged on social media.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), the main union representing teachers in Catholic schools across the nation, has defended the video after it was shared on social media by high profile figures such as Dr. Jordan Peterson and evolutionary biologist Colin Wright, according to NewsLetter.

The video, which appears to be aimed at very small children, tells the story of a young girl called Lucy who wishes to be a boy called Liam. Lucy’s teacher begins preparing the class for Lucy’s social transition by reading the book Introducing Teddy, a picture book that teaches young children it is possible to change sex.

“So boys can change into girls,” says one student after the book is finished. “And girls can change into boys,” says another.

“Yes, I said, sometimes while the doctor says a baby is a boy, as that baby grows up, they feel inside that they're not a boy,” the teacher in the training video explains. 

“While they might have a boy's name…they know they aren't a boy and want to change their name. The same can happen for a girl. By making those changes, the person feels happier and more like themselves. Some people who experienced this might use the word transgender to describe themselves.”

“What the hell does 'they feel inside they're not a boy' even mean? Inside where? Feel what? This faux compassion/ignorance is both unfathomable and unforgivable,” tweeted Peterson in response.

Wright called the video psychotic and wildly inappropriate, arguing that it is a guide to how to set a child on a path to a medical sex change.

“This is a special blend of psychotic, wildly inappropriate, and abusive. It's a how-to guide for permanently damaging a child's mental health and turning them into life-long medical patients. Don't let its lighthearted tone fool you. This is grotesque,” tweeted Wright.

In the video, the young student Lucy becomes Liam and lives happily ever after. But the teacher is not done. 

“A few weeks later, I introduced the pupils to non-binary identity, where people don't identify with being either a boy or a girl,” says the teacher. “The most important element of any lesson on gender identity is that we put the emphasis on respecting everyone regardless of gender identity or expression.”

The INTO, that has a membership of over 40,000 teachers, defended the video in a statement to News Letter

“Teachers play a key role in educating about diversity and supporting those who may feel vulnerable within our school communities,” said General Secretary John Boyle “As a union we encourage our members to seek advice from expert groups with expertise and knowledge in dealing with all manner of sensitive issues in classrooms.”

Boyle said “The LGBT+ Inclusive School” course is a voluntary summer program offered to teachers which offers course materials including “videos which provide guidance for teachers on how to address a variety of LGBT+ related topics that may arise in the classroom in a sensitive manner.”

"Course participants have found these background materials to be helpful for them as they strive to promote inclusiveness and discourage bullying,” Boyle went on.

“It is important to stress that the videos you have cited are not part of the primary curriculum and are not used as teaching resources in our schools – they are support materials to help teachers to deal sensitively with issues that arise from time to time in today's classrooms. These videos help to inform teachers on delicate issues that may arise in the classroom – they are not viewed by pupils of any age group.”

One of the “expert groups” deemed worthy of advising members of the INTO on such sensitive issues is Educate and Celebrate, a UK group that provides “LGBT+ inclusion training for all schools.”

In 2020, CEO Dr. Elly Barnes was invited by the union to give a keynote speech at the annual conference and on the subject of LGBT+ education, Barnes had some interesting advice for teachers.

“The only advice I can give you around that is, don’t send a letter home to say you’re about to embark on this work,” says Barnes in a clip shared widely on social media.

“That’s the worst thing you can do.”

Don’t hold a parents meeting,” Barnes added. “You don’t want 30 parents shouting at you – who wants that in your life? That’s an awful thing to do.”

Barnes then recommended educating parents who have objections to the content of such lessons. 

“You’re not asking them if they like it or not. That’s not the issue – it’s in policy, we have to do this work,” she explained.

“But you can say, on which of these equality strands do you need help? You know – do you need help talking to your child about racism? Do you need help talking to your child about disabilities? Do you need help talking about sexual orientation, gender? And just see what comes back. So you’re doing it in a more supportive manner.”


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