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San Francisco public school teachers trained by gender clinic on how to 'affirm' students

The Benioff Children’s Hospital has been conducting training sessions for school staff in the region on how to deal with students who believe themselves to be transgender and the concerns of their parents, internal documents have revealed.

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Mia Ashton Montreal QC
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The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospital has been conducting training sessions for school staff in the region on how to deal with students who believe themselves to be transgender and the concerns of their parents, internal documents have revealed.

The documents, which were obtained by parent rights groups Parents Defending Education through a Freedom of Information request and then passed on to the Washington Examiner, show that UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital has been involved in the training of school staff for at least four years. 

The Child and Adolescent Gender Center at the Benioff Children’s Hospital is responsible for the creation of the training sessions which push the idea that affirmation is the only option for these distressed young people. The center affirms patients as young as age 2 and the chief psychologist is none other than Dr. Diane Erhensaft, a leading "expert" in the field of gender-affirming care for minors who once famously declared that pre-verbal toddlers tearing barrettes out of their hair are sending a “gender message” as a way to communicate being transgender. 

According to the Washington Examiner, one training session for social workers with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) that took place in 2018 involved case-study scenarios of students with self-declared transgender identities. 

In a document titled Case Examples for UCSF Gender Affirmative Model, one of the situations social workers were asked to consider was that of a female student in Grade 8 who had adopted a male name and pronouns but had yet to begin medical transition. The social workers were asked what they would do if the child said, “I need testosterone or I will die.”

“What role can the school take in supporting mom and exploring medical options,” says the document. “How many times is too many times to call mom about a student’s comments about depression and testosterone?”

In a February 2019 training session called Gender Affirmative Care with Youth, SFUSD staff were informed that the goal of transgender care is to “interrupt the path of preventable distress/dysphoria that leads to poor mental health outcomes.” The staff were told this “may or may not involve medical steps.”

The stated aim of this training session was to “increase awareness and understanding of gender identity, gender expression and gender wellness [and to] increase awareness of [the] Gender Affirmative Care Model with special attention to trauma, adolescent development and systems approaches.”

Not all communications between the gender clinic and the school board took place within training sessions though. The internal documents also revealed private email exchanges between a member of the SFUSD staff and the gender clinic asking how counselors are “permitted to see kids without parental consent for mental health treatment.”

Erika Sanzi, who is director of outreach for Parents Defending Education, considers this to be a major safeguarding concern.

It is a massive red flag when a nearby children’s hospital is collaborating with a school district to role-play scenarios based on gender ideology and secure mental health counseling for minors without parental consent,” Sanzi told the Examiner. “By communicating informally over email as they did here, everyone involved avoids the transparency and scrutiny that comes with a public meeting. This seems like a deliberate attempt to hide the information from parents and the public.”

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Erhensaft SFUSD

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