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Education

Non-binary teacher gives unicorn graphic to help explain gender identity

Lily Wakefield August 13, 2019
The "Gender Unicorn" handout given by the non-binary teacher

The "Gender Unicorn" handout. (Trans Student Educational Resources)

The headteacher of a middle school stopped a non-binary science teacher handing out a gender unicorn graphic to students.

The teacher at Denair Middle School, in California, decided to hand out the sheets to seventh grade pupils (12 and 13 years old) on the first day of term to explain why they wanted to be addressed by the non-binary title of Mx, instead of Mr or Ms.

The graphic on the handout was a “gender unicorn,” from Trans Student Educational Resources, which explained simply gender identity, gender expression and attraction.

The Modesto Bee reported that it was part of a “getting to know each other” exercise, but the teacher was stopped by the school’s principal on Wednesday, August 7.

Denair Unified School District superintendent Terry Metzger told The Modesto Bee: “He gave a handout discussing gender in first and second periods. It was not an assignment and students were not required or asked to fill it out.”

Metzger added that the school’s principal happened to be in the second period science class “as part of her routine visits on the first day of school”.

“When she saw the content of the handout, she spoke with the teacher and directed him to stop distributing it.”

People hold a non-binary flag. (Stewart Kirby/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The school received several complaints about the non-binary teacher’s handout.

Metzger said that gender identity is discussed with children in seventh grade, but only in health classes.

She added: “The principal and I have spoken with the teacher about why we believe this was a poor decision. Any discipline is a private matter between the district and employee.”

The school received several complaints from parents, with some believing that the purpose of the graphic was to ask students about their own identity or orientation.

The stepmother of one student posted a photo of the handout on Facebook and wrote: “My stepson came home from Denair Middle School with this paper, that was handed out to the first and second period seventh grade kids… they stopped it after second period and reprimanded the teacher.

“The teacher said that because [they] was transgender and the kids had lots of questions, [they] thought this would be beneficial to them. Which is the most bulls*** excuse I’ve ever heard.

“I don’t care what you identify as, that’s your decision. But NO ONE has the right to ask my child these questions that have absolutely nothing to do with what you are teaching in a classroom.”

However, other people were supportive of the teacher explaining their gender identity to the students.

One wrote on the Modesto Bee Facebook page: “So the problem is that it came from a science teacher instead of a health/sex ed teacher?

“Kids are more sophisticated these days thanks to this age of information. I see no harm in educating them about diversity if it helps them be more open minded and understanding when they meet others who seem different to them.”

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