Public schools in Oregon and Washington state are already teaching topics related to gender identity to children as young as five. The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) defines “gender” as a “social construct based on emotional, behavioral and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex.”
The OSPI oversees K-12 education in Washington state and sets health education standards for all state public schools in 2016. The standards require children in first grade and kindergarten to be taught “there are many ways to express gender.”
According to the standards, students in second and third grades are taught “there is a range of gender roles and expression” according to the standards.
Washington state standards sparked a considerable backlash recently after first-graders were reportedly given materials that taught gender can be broken down into three categories: a “boy,” a “girl,” and “neither or both.”
The Edmonds School District defended the assignment stating it “is required to teach state standards.”
Simultaneously, in Oregon, the state board of education adopted health education standards in 2016. The standards require that kindergartners and first-graders “recognize that there are many ways to express gender” and to be able to “provide examples of how friends and family influence how people think they should act on the basis of their gender.”
Additionally, Oregon second-graders are being taught to “recognize differences and similarities of how individuals identify regarding gender” and how to “communicate respectfully with and about people of all gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientation.”
Third-graders, typically 8-year-olds, must be able to “define sexual orientation and “recognize differences and similarities of how individuals identify regarding gender or sexual orientation.”
Recently, the group Oregon Moms Union protested against administrators in the North Clackamas School District. The organization claims fifth-grade children were asked to describe their sexual orientation and gender identity when given a “The Genderbread Person worksheet.”
The school district later defended the assignment.
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has frequently highlighted “The Genderbread Person” while calling for the “woke indoctrination” of young children to be eliminated.
DeSantis signed a parental rights bill that bans teachers from instructing “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” in the kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
The Florida law has been branded the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by Democrats. Democrats have claimed the bill bans any discussion of being gay in Florida schools.
After the bill signing, DeSantis was blasted by Oregon Democrat Governor Kate Brown, saying, “in Oregon, we say gay.”
Brown tweeted, “I’m horrified and outraged by the anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation that was just signed in Florida, making schools a less safe space for LGBTQIA+ kids.” She continued, “Oregon will always be a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place — no matter one’s sexual orientation or identity.”
Similar legislation is proposed in Ohio, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, and other states.