KEFFLER: Coming to a Public School Near You: No Opt-Out Transgender Ideology

Schools and Parents Are Being Deceived

On the home page of, a website dedicated to helping activists push transgender policies and curricula into schools via “Entry Points”, a supporter’s blurb summed up the movement’s fundamental objective:

“I was … happy to see that the information that might seem controversial or surprising to us was taken at face value by the kids.” – “Dashka”

Young children are unguardedly receptive to what they learn from trusted adults, and organizations like the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Educational Network (GLSEN) and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF), the funding and policy arm of the LGBTQ+ lobby, are working tirelessly to exploit that vulnerability.

On February 28, 2019, Ashlawn Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, co-opted National Read Across America Day to host a transgender activist who read the transgender storybook “I Am Jazz” to two classes of kindergartners. A disingenuously enthusiastic letter about the event went out to parents only days ahead, with no opt-out offered and the subject of the instruction buried in the central paragraph.

This was no one-off anomaly at some oddball charter school in a radically left-wing district; it was a strategic move staged at a public primary school toward the nationwide rollout of transgender propaganda.

People who consider themselves transgender comprise about 0.7% of the population, or about 7 in every 1000 people. While no person of conscience would decry the need for fairness and non-discrimination for transgender students, policies dictated by GLSEN and HRCF go substantially beyond anti-bullying. They advocate not only promotion and celebration of the transgender experience, but also seek to curtail parents’ authority over their children’s education, as well as circumvent parents’ right to teach their own kids about human sexuality in their own way and time, and according to their own values.

The local special-interest group Arlington Gender Identity Allies (AGIA), who funneled the GLSEN Model Policy into the proposal currently being developed at Arlington Public Schools (APS), included this language about room-sharing on school trips in their document:

“Under no circumstances can a parent refuse to have their child room with a transgender student based on gender identity and/or expression if their child has agreed to the arrangement.”

Therefore, if a student is uncomfortable sharing a bedroom (and possibly a bed) with a member of the opposite biological sex, it is incumbent upon that child to assert a refusal and risk the disapproval of other students and staff.

Good parents offer their children socially acceptable escape routes from difficult situations by letting kids blame them: “Mom and Dad won’t let me do that.” GLSEN’s policy prohibits parents from providing that face-saving protection. Or any protection at all.

Good parents also want what’s best for all children, including those with special needs.

But the affirmation-only approach to gender dysphoria, which underpins the entire ideology of the GLSEN, HRCF, and AGIA policies, is not the only—nor even the most widely recommended—strategy for wellness support. The American College of Pediatricians cites “dramatic rates of resolution of gender dysphoria … among children when they are not encouraged to impersonate the opposite sex.”

GLSEN and HRCF are driving the affirmation-only approach solely for political, cultural, and financial gains, despite ample evidence that other approaches, like watchful waiting with compassionate psychological support, lead to better outcomes for children, and are also backed up by vastly more reliable, valid, and reputable scientific data. Dr. James Cantor, in his article “American Academy of Pediatrics Policy and Trans Kids: Fact Checking”, asserts that “every follow-up study of [gender dysphoric] children, without exception, found the same thing: By puberty, the majority of [gender dysphoric] children ceased to want to transition.”

If a student expresses discomfort with his or her biological sex, promoting social and medical transition is akin to telling an anorexic, “Yes, you really are fat. You should diet.” It’s dishonest, destructive, and entirely counterproductive.

One may choose to ignore the physiological fact that one’s sex is chromosomally hard-wired into every cell of the body. One may further disregard that even in the extremely rare incidences of intersex conditions the chromosomal sex intended before something went awry is nearly always obvious. One can even shrug off the reality that the best a gender dysphoric person can hope to achieve via hormones and surgical sex reassignment is passable impersonation of the other sex. But, as the American College of Pediatricians concludes, “twin studies alone establish that the ‘alternative perspective’ of an ‘innate gender identity’ trapped in the wrong body is in fact an ideological belief that has no basis in rigorous science.”

Schools and parents are being deceived when they consult self-designated “experts” like Johanna Olson-Kennedy, the Medical Director of Transyouth Health & Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, who’s written extensively about puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment. She has also provided puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to over 800 children, according to her bio blurb at Gender Odyssey. Olson-Kennedy is married to Aydin Olson-Kennedy, who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the Los Angeles Gender Center, and is also a female-to-male transgender man.

When gender dysphoric children present to Aydin Olson-Kennedy for counseling, how convenient it is that he can refer them to his wife’s practice for the administration of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

And one more note about the Olson-Kennedys: until at least as late as 2015 they both had a financial relationship with Endo Pharmaceuticals, a company which manufactures and sells puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

Unless sensible people armed with factual research demand that schools and school boards establish policies based on science and data, as opposed to fantasy and financial gain, this unconscionable propaganda will succeed at accessing our children via the “Entry Points” the transgender lobby has so systematically outlined. Compassion for gender dysphoric people and progressive social attitudes are not incompatible with some robust skepticism about policies that undermine parental rights, as well as threaten children’s health and well-being.

We can and must do better by our kids than this.

Maria Keffler

Maria Keffler is a former middle and high school teacher with a master’s degree in educational psychology. She is a co-founder of the Arlington Parent Coalition.
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