New Mexico High School Purchases Chest Binders and Pro-Gender Ideology Books With $10,000 Grant


New Mexico High School Purchases Chest Binders and Pro-Gender Ideology Books With $10,000 Grant

By Ashley McClure

In March 2024, Independent Women’s Forum storyteller Rachael Hein made headlines after revealing her family’s cross-country move to escape New Mexico’s failed public school system. The final nail in the coffin, she told IWF, was discovering that her daughter’s prospective high school had received a $10,000 grant to build a “transgender closet” where students would be able to change clothes—and, by extension, identities—without parental knowledge. 

However, a public records request recently filed by the New Mexico Freedoms Alliance revealed that despite receiving the $10,000 grant from the nonprofit It Gets Better, Las Cruces’ Centennial High School never built the transgender closet.

Instead, the public records request showed that Centennial repurposed the grant money to purchase “chest binders,” which are used to flatten women’s breasts to achieve a masculine appearance, as well as pro-gender ideology books for their school library.

According to Las Cruces Public Schools’ (LCPS) legal support, Centennial High School “currently has a clothing closet that is open for use to all CHS students.” Whether or not the closet is explicitly designated for students who identify as transgender is unclear, but it could potentially be used by students to conceal different “gender identities” from parents. 

LCPS’ legal support told the New Mexico Freedoms Alliance that $8,370 of the $10,000 grant was spent on chest binders that were handed out at a “Pride Day event in October 2023” in Las Cruces.

This event was likely the Southern New Mexico Pride Celebration in September—October 2023, which included the first-ever Southern New Mexico Pride Parade. According to photos published by the Las Cruces Sun-News, the parade was attended by community officials, activists, drag performers, and families with children, some of whom can be seen digging for candy in rainbow-colored wagons. 

The fact that the parade was open to children—despite the attendance of sexualized performers dressed in drag—makes Centennial’s likely decision to involve themselves in the Pride Celebration even more shocking. 

Aside from the perversity of encouraging young girls to bind their breasts before they’ve even developed, studies show that chest binding is a dangerous practice that can lead to back and chest pain as well as scarring, rib fractures, inability to breathe, and other musculoskeletal problems that hinder proper development for growing children.

Harm from chest binding is almost universal—according to a study published by Transgender Health, “97% of participants [females who identify as transgender men] in the full dataset reported at least one binding-related, negative physical symptom.” 

Centennial used its remaining funds from It Gets Better to purchase a large collection of new books for the school’s library. The New Mexico Freedoms Alliance obtained a full list of these books, which includes titles like “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” a young-adult novel about a closeted gay high schooler that discusses explicitly sexual themes, and “Felix Ever After,” which features a teenage protagonist who identifies as transgender and contains “psychological guidance” for young readers, according to one reviewer from The Horn Book Magazine. 

These examples are just two out of several books that promote sexual activity and LGBTQ+ identities to preteen and teenage audiences. The selection of these titles, as well as their purchase and distribution of over 200 chest binders at an event where children were likely present, clearly reveals the ideological agenda of those in charge of grant funds at Centennial High School.

Despite the fact that they never built a transgender closet—perhaps because they already had one—Rachael Hein’s decision to leave the state and find quality educational opportunities for her children looks better and better by the day.

Sign Up For Updates

  • Become a Mobile Insider. Text WOMAN to 40442 to opt in. Sign up for recurring informational messages from IWF. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.