Transgender clownfish and lesbian geckos teach California children a lesson in gender diversityOnline Only, Top Highlights Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Students at Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland, Calif. have learned a valuable lesson in gender diversity after Joel Baum, director of education and training for Gender Spectrum, introduced lessons on transgender clownish and single-sex geckos.
The lessons were presented on behalf of a grant from the California Teacher’s Union and presented by the anti-bullying group, Gender Spectrum.
The children were first asked what a “girl toy” or “boy toy” looked like. As students provided answers like a “pink toy” for girls, Baum told children that boys can like the color pink as well.
For older children, Baum focused on animal species that hold unconventional roles, like a sea horse that tends after its offspring, or transgender clownfish and single-sex geckos that demonstrate gender-opposite qualities. Children were given flash cards with various traits from animal species that transcend into human qualities – like the all-girl geckos or clownfish who demonstrated transgender qualities. Baum also taught children that someone can be born with “male parts” but may like being a girl better.
“Gender identity is one’s own sense of themselves. Do they know themselves to be a girl? Do they know themselves to be a boy? Do they know themselves to be a combination?” Baum said. “Gender identity is a spectrum where people can be girls, feel like girls, they feel like boys, they feel like both, or they can feel like neither.”
Troy Flint, spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District, explained to Fox News the lesson was intended to educate children on the variety of people and gender identification.
Critics of the program did not support the teachings within the classroom, stating the lessons did not “represent the values” of local residents. Some opponents even instructed their children to stay home from school as the lessons were taught that day, and those families are also seeking legal counsel.
Erin Brown, an opponent of the program, spoke on behalf of Media Research Center, a conservative media outlet, and explained that efforts to introduce gender equality are examples of “gender bending” and should not be allowed.
“This is only the latest example of what seems to be a New-Age, gender-bending agenda pushed into the mainstream media by those who refuse to accept the traditional sex differences between men and women,” Brown said in her blog.
Proponents of the program find educational lessons like these invaluable to understanding and accepting people in all shapes, forms, sizes, and colors, including the LGBT community, and aid in anti-bullying efforts across the nation.
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