This past Summer, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona spoke at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) TEACH conference. He condemned legislation that prevented children from reading material promoting harmful transgender ideology. 

During his remarks, he exclaimed: 

“Take these so-called anti-woke laws which censor teachers and librarians, and strip them of their agency, trying to rewrite history and promote exclusion and bigotry.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, 2023 TEACH

Mostly false or misleading. Significant errors or omissions. Mostly make believe.

Florida and several other states have taken measures to protect students from inappropriate content in books. Books, such as “It’s Perfectly Normal, Being You: A First Conversation About Gender” and “It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity,” encourage identity confusion in young children. A related book, “Jacob’s New Dress,” is marketed as appropriate for children as young as four years old by the publisher. The American Library Association (ALA) recommends a book entitled “The Pronoun Book” on its summer reading list for kids in the birth-preschool range (ages 1-4). Many other children’s books advertise preferred pronoun usage and gender ideology using colorful cartoons and pictures. Teachers unions and individual teachers promote these books to elementary-age children and younger to normalize gender ideology at a young age. As kids enter middle school and high school, the teachers and unions promote sexually explicit and graphic books.

One passage in “It Feels Good to Be Yourself” reads: “There are many different ways to be a boy or a girl. There are many different ways to be non-binary…Some kids don’t feel exactly like a boy or a girl-they feel like neither. Some kids feel that their gender identity isn’t always the same-it’s often changing.” Parents found “Jacob’s New Dress” in several elementary schools in Delaware, North Carolina, and other states around the country. Elementary school teachers created lesson plans from “Jacob’s New Dress” to teach students that “there is a range of gender expression” and promote gender diversity. “The Pronoun Book” utilizes “illustrated scenarios and explanations” to encourage young children to learn “pronoun etiquette” and educates them on they/them pronouns, trans and non-binary identities, misgendering and neo-pronouns such as xe, zir, and hir.

Young children are not developmentally capable of fully comprehending terms like biological sex and concepts like gender identity. Milestones for children around this age include identifying colors and numbers, forming more complex sentences, refining their fine motor skills, letting their imagination run wild, and identifying their likes and dislikes. 

Children are incredibly observant and impressionable. Three primary factors determine why children are so impressionable: susceptibility to external stimuli, incapability of reasonable judgment, and changeability to accept or modify attitude or behavior. There is no credible evidence that suggests young children understand their sexual identity when they are young; it is probable they experience feelings of identity confusion because a parent, role model, peer, teacher, or book promoted gender ideology at a young age. 

In 2021, Monique Robles wrote in the National Center for Biotechnology Information about the effects of different treatments and solutions for individuals with gender dysphoria. She revealed that “social affirmation, pubertal blockade, administration of cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment surgery” all “pose harms and risks that are not fully disclosed to minors and families, creating a bioethical dilemma.” The study continues: “Parents are led to believe that if they do not affirm their child in the expressed gender and accept the process of transitioning, then they are contributing to the touted increased risk of suicide.”

In reality, the range of mental health conditions, suicide rates, and physical complications in gender-confused kids skyrocketed compared to other kids. Robles writes: “Affirming one’s expressed gender is naive and promotes a dualistic nature wherein the body has no value. And if the body has no value, then genital atrophy, reduction in sexual pleasure and orgasm, sterility, and infertility are all permissible side effects of manipulation and mutilation.” 

Teachers, librarians, and parents who remove these books from libraries are not promoting “exclusion and bigotry,” but protecting their students from gender indoctrination and potential medical harm. Providing a safe learning environment and protecting children from the negative physical and emotional damage caused by gender ideology is not bigotry. It is the teachers’ duty to protect their students within the classroom. While these books are not as sexually graphic or explicit as books found in middle schools and high schools, they still teach young kids to question their gender, and they promote mentally and physically detrimental practices. 

Over the course of this back-to-school season, Independent Women’s Forum will be exposing misleading and inaccurate quotes from teachers’ unions and their advocates through a series of Unicorn Fact Checks. This is the fourth Unicorn Fact Check in the series.