Texas School District Pushes Teachers To Take 'LGBTQIA+' Training on Taxpayers' Dime

Austin Independent School District course says gender is 'innermost concept of self as male, female, neither or both'

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August 20, 2022

A Texas school district encouraged K-12 teachers to take paid time off, at taxpayer expense, to take a course on "how to create supportive learning environments for LGBTQIA+" students as young as five years old.

The Austin Independent School District's course material, obtained through a public information request, defined gender identity as the "innermost concept of self as male, female, neither or both," calling it "one's authentic identity." The course also provided an example of a girl who questions her gender identity and asked how teachers should properly respond.

"A 14-year-old youth, who recently asked to be called Ronnie not Veronica, discloses to you a desire to go by 'they' pronouns," one PowerPoint slide read. "Ronnie wants to cut their hair short but isn’t sure how their parents will react, making them feel anxious. Ronnie is also stressed because while they have been dating Julie and 'came out as a lesbian' in 7th grade, they have started to have feelings for Ted, who identifies as male, and this is confusing for them."

The Austin public school district did not respond to a request for comment on the substance of the training course.

The district pushed the teacher training amid a series of fights nationwide over whether students should be taught about gender identity and transgenderism. The Free Beacon reported last year that these debates over sex education at the local level are fueled by liberal advocacy groups that push public schools to promote gender ideology to elementary students. One district spiked a sex education plan in Nebraska after parents discovered it was secretly advised by a Planned Parenthood activist, the Free Beacon reported.

The Austin public school district sparked controversy in June when it defied orders from Texas attorney general Ken Paxton (R.), who labeled its pride parade as "human sexuality instruction," which requires parents to approve their children's participation. The district rejected Paxton's claim and followed through with the parade without parental approval.

The "Be a Beacon" gender course is run by Out Youth, which in a February Facebook post claimed that so-called gender-affirming care for transgender children "saves lives." The training course cited resources from two prominent LGBT groups that also support children receiving puberty blockers and hormone treatment. The presentation cited a book titled, The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals.

"Are you, or parts of you, both? How do you know?" the course asked teachers. "If your anatomy changed overnight to the opposite sex, would it change who you feel yourself to be?"

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