New Jersey middle school forces gender transition lessons on students without parental consent

Parents were notified about the assembly and were able to opt out. They were not informed about the video and were unable to opt children out of that.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

The journey of a biological woman who decided to undergo a sex change and begin injecting testosterone 10 years ago was shared with middle-schoolers in a New Jersey public school, Pearl R. Miller Middle School in Kinnelon, N.J., without parental awareness or consent.

Aydian Dowling, who posted the video on YouTube which was used in the middle school social studies class, also spoke to the middle-schoolers as part of a school-wide assembly about beginning to undergo medical transition at the age of 21. Garden State Families reported that parents were "outraged" about the lessons, and after parents reached out to the school board, it became clear that the school board wasn't aware of the lessons either.

The assembly was called the "Stories of Adversity & Resilience Program." Parents were notified about the assembly and were able to opt out. They were not informed about the video and were unable to opt children out of that, reported the Washington Free Beacon.

The lesson in social studies was preceded by slideshows about gender identity, definitions, and gender ideology. Parents were not aware of the lesson until students told their parents it had already been taught.

"My concern is about transparency and parental rights," one mother told Garden State Families. "The school district introduced my child to a topic I do not want taught at school. They didn't ask me. They did this without my permission. I decide at what age and how much detail my child will receive. As a parent, I have that right."

"They are exploiting our children," a father said. "They intend to sexualize them by teaching sex education beginning in Kindergarten."

Dowling is an activist and public speaker who works as a life coach and has appeared on the cover of Men's Health as well as been a guest multiple times on Ellen DeGeneris' talk show. Dowling is the "CEO of the Point of Pride nonprofit that's helped over ten thousand people receive gender affirming garments and surgeries."

"I don't feel comfortable as a woman," Dowling says in the video during the early documentation of the transition, "but I don't feel 100 percent comfortable as a man. I feel like I'm still figuring out—I know that I'm, I don't know. I don't know how to explain it."

In the narration, now 10 years on, Dowling said: "My body was a prison, and I felt like there was no way out." The retrospective shows Dowling expressing feelings of discouragement and unfairness that in undertaking stereotypically male activities, Dowling's performance was not as competent as the performance of biological males.

Dowling's video shows the activist injecting testosterone, struggling with gender dysphoria, and speaking with pleasure about the physical changes Dowling's body underwent with cross-sex hormones and a double mastectomy.

Dowling documents their first experience taking testosterone, saying that after one appointment, an endocrinologist prescribed testosterone, starting Dowling along a path that would change Dowling's body from looking female to looking more masculine. Dowling shows the daily injections.

The video has the feel of a self-help video, showing that it was only through medical gender transition that the subject became comfortable, physically, with Dowling's appearance.

Dowling has had a tough time. An article in Freedom for All Americans details Dowling's struggles holding a job while being discriminated against for being transgender.

Much of the five-minute video is about how to find happiness through changing your outward appearance, which in turn changes how people treat you. "I just want to look into my eyes, and when I say 'I love you,' really mean it. And I'm still working on that, but I've never loved myself more than I do now."

New Jersey is among 24 states that require schools to teach sex ed to students, and per new guidelines that will go into effect in September, those lessons will force the discussion of gender identity. Schools like Pearl Miller are apparently getting a jump on things.

The updated standards detail what students are meant to know about gender identity and when, among other subjects such as abortion, birth control, and the legal issue of consent. A glossary details the trendy words associated with gender identity.

The glossary notes that "gender" and "sex" have the same legal meaning, and are interchangeable under law, and references the concept of a "gender assigned at birth" instead of noting that sex, which has already been conflated with gender, is actually determined before birth, by an individual's chromosomes.

"The gender someone was assigned at birth may or may not match their gender identity," New Jersey states before going on to discuss the "gender binary," which is a limiting "social system that constructs gender" along male and female lines.

"Gender expression" is defined as a person's "gender-related appearance and behavior," and can be identified through "behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice or mannerisms." Yet, the concept of being "gender nonconforming" is also defined, and describes someone "whose gender expression does not conform to traditional gender expectations."

"Gender identity," is defined as "a person's internal, deeply held knowledge of their own gender" and goes on to say that "All people have a gender identity, not just transgender people." This indicates that all students, regardless of whether it has occurred to them to do so or not, should undertake a gender identity exploration to get in touch with their "deeply held knowledge of their own gender."

"Gender Transition," such as that which Dowling described euphorically in the video, "means a process during which a person begins to live according to their gender identity, rather than the gender they were thought to be at birth. Gender transition looks different for every person. Possible steps in a gender transition may or may not include changing one’s clothing, appearance, and name, and in some cases, changing identification documents or undergoing medical treatments. The steps each person takes depends on their individual needs and access to resources."

Sexuality is defined, as is sexual orientation, but sex itself is not in the glossary. Instead, sexuality is listed as "the components of a person that include their biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual practices, sexual fantasies, attitudes and values related to sex. Sexuality describes how one experiences and expresses one’s self as a sexual being. It begins to develop at birth and continues over the course of one’s lifetime."

These standards will be implemented in all New Jersey public schools by September.


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