A new program from Michigan’s Department of Education (MDOE) advocates for gender “fluidity” starting at the elementary school level and pushes educators to “facilitate the sexual transition of minors without parental consent,” according to a new bombshell report.
After obtaining “videos and internal documentation from the state’s training program, which first took place in 2020 and was repackaged for public school employees for the 2021–2022 school year,” senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute Christopher Rufo reported that the “training program mimics the basic narrative of academic queer theory: the presenters claim that the West has created a false notion that ‘gender is binary’ in order to oppress racial and sexual minorities.”
“In response, the department encourages teachers to adopt the principle of ‘intersectionality,’ a key tenet of critical race theory, in order to ‘dismantle systems of oppression,’ which are replicated through the culture and institutions of education,” Rufo explained. “The first step to dismantling these systems, according to the presenters, is to disrupt the gender binary.”
In one video, self-described “Black, masculine-identified, cisgendered lesbian baby boomer” trainer Amorie Robinson describes the vast array of gender “terminology out there for [educators] to learn,” such as “gender fluid,” “gender queer,” or “gender non-conforming.”
Students may identify as “asexual, lesbian, straight, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, demisexual, demiromantic, aromantic, and skoliosexual,” said Robinson. “I’ll leave that to you to go Google on those. Because we ain’t got time today!”
When asked in a separate clip by a teacher who wanted to know “how to respond to a student in her classroom who claims to have ‘she/he/they/them’ pronouns,” Amorie replied by telling the instructor to “go with what the kid says” because “they’re the best experts on their lives.”
“They’re the best experts on their own identities and their own bodies,” Amorie said. “You may have to sit with some discomfort sometimes.”
Rufo detailed how the training program advises teachers to “abandon so-called gendered language, such as ‘boys and girls,’ and replace those terms with gender-neutral variations such as ‘earthlings,’ ‘people with penises,’ and ‘people with vulvas,’” with the MDOE also recommending that teachers “create ‘Gender & Sexuality Alliance’ clubs targeting students as young as elementary school, using private communications and fictitious names to conceal the nature of these initiatives from parents.”
“In private, however, the trainers are straightforward about their objectives: these clubs, using cover names such as ‘Leadership Club’ or ‘Everyone for Equality,’ are explicitly designed to advance left-wing gender ‘activism’ and to promote gender ‘fluidity’ beginning in elementary school,” Rufo noted.
One of the more concerning aspects documented in the training program, however, is the MDOE’s bid to “facilitate the sexual transition of children” without parental knowledge. When asked how liability is affected if a student “dies by suicide and parents did not know the student’s chosen name or pronouns were being used at school,” Kim Phillips-Knope, who serves as the project lead of MDOE’s LGBTQ+ Students Project, said that while “the law is really clear” about reporting acts or intended acts of self-harm, teachers can notify parents without “outing” the student or “saying why” their child is suicidal.
“If you’re sort of into that area of like, ‘you’re going to hurt yourself or somebody else,’ and you have a duty to report—I mean, the law is really clear about that—you can also talk to parents, though, about like that ‘your kid is having suicidal thoughts,’ without outing them, without saying why,” Phillips-Knope said. “You can say, ‘We have some concerns, your child has shared this,’ [but] I would one-thousand percent recommend working with the student to let them guide that process.”
According to Rufo, the Michigan Department of Education has defended the radical program by saying in a statement that it’s about “respecting all children” and “meet[ing] the needs of their LGBTQ+ students.”
In response to the report, Michigan’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon has blasted the department for “targeting and confusing our children at the most critical time in their development.”
“It is astonishing that the activist-run education department is officially training teachers to hide important information from parents about their children at all, but it is unconscionable that they believe this is even appropriate when children are suicidal,” Dixon said in a statement. “What is wrong with these people? Make no secret about it – our own state agency is being weaponized to actively recruit our kids and advance their radical gender theory with zero input from parents.”
Shawn Fleetwood is a Staff Writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood
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