LAS CRUCES, NM – Independent Women’s Forum today exposed New Mexico’s Las Cruces Centennial High School for its purchase of chest binders and pro-LGBTQ+ books with a $10,000 grant. Longtime New Mexico resident and mom, Rachael Hein, earlier this year shared her story with Independent Women’s Forum regarding why she ultimately decided to move her family out of New Mexico. Las Cruces Centennial High School’s plans to install a “transgender closet,” where students could switch identities at school, was the final nail in the coffin.

Hein and her family did not have plans to leave New Mexico, the so-called “Land of Enchantment,” a place they called home for nearly 20 years, but several incidents caused her to lose faith in the state’s public education system – including “party days” and the installation of “trans closets.” The nonprofit It Gets Better awarded New Mexico’s Las Cruces Centennial High School, where Hein’s child was supposed to attend, a $10,000 grant to build “gender-inclusive closets providing affirming supplies and clothes for trans and gender non-conforming students in New Mexico” as part of its “50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices initiative” to middle and high schools. 

In April 2024, New Mexico Freedoms Alliance filed a public records request, which revealed that despite receiving the $10,000 grant from It Gets Better, Las Cruces’ Centennial High School did not build the “transgender closet.” Rather, Las Cruces’ Centennial High School used the grant money to buy “chest binders,” which are used to flatten women’s breasts to achieve a masculine appearance, and pro-gender ideology books for their school library, according to the public records request.

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. 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.

“At first glance, Centennial High School’s decision not to use the grant funds provided by It Gets Better to build a “transgender closet” seems encouraging. However, the reality of the matter is that those funds were used in potentially even more destructive ways,” said Ashley McClure, storytelling assistant at Independent Women’s Forum. “While building a ‘transgender closet’ serves those who already identify as transgender, pro-gender ideology library books expose children to age-inappropriate material and may encourage them to adopt identities that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

“Furthermore, chest binders pose serious physical risks to young girls. Based on their decision to spend $10,000 on these items, it would appear there is a very clear and potentially devastating agenda being pushed on children at Centennial High School,” McClure added. 

IWF’s storytelling program brings unheard voices to the forefront, providing them a platform to share their personal stories, educate the public, and enhance national discourse with common-sense policy solutions. 

Read Rachael Hein’s story HERE.

Read about the latest development at Centennial High School in Las Cruces, NM HERE.

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