The teachers led a workshop about how to run a “Gay-Straight Alliance” club in “conservative communities” at a California Teachers Association conference held in October, called “Beyond the Binary: Identity & Imagining Possibilities”. The teachers described the obstacles they faced as “activist teachers” to conceal the activities of GSA clubs from parents. These teachers were later suspended pending an independent third-party investigation.
This incident in Salinas reveals serious concerns that such clubs may go much further than merely supporting children, but cross a line into “affirming” young children with transgender identities and deliberately concealing this information from their parents.
Given that this path of affirmation appears to lead inexorably to medical and possibly surgical “transition”, and given what we know of the sparse evidence base for the efficacy of such treatments, most parents would be extremely concerned to think these matters were being discussed in secret by medically unqualified teachers with their 12-year-old children.
This is not to disrespect or downplay the importance of teachers in the safeguarding of children; but safeguarding concerns around transitioning children need careful assessment and involve many issues. Parents must not be shut out of this assessment and must not be assumed homophobic or transphobic simply because they express concern for their children or are “politically conservative”. Teachers must accept the limits of their expertise and the rule of law. Otherwise, they allow activist zeal to pose a risk of real harm to the children they claim to support and protect.